Sunday, 19 January 2014

20:00 - 4 comments

Book Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson


Defy (Defy, #1)
Title: Defy
Author: Sara B. Larson
Release Date: January 14, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press

Buy the Book: Chapters - Amazon - Barnes & Noble


A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?

My Review:

Defy centers on the fantasy adventures of Alexa, a girl forced to secretly change her identity to a boy in order to become a member of the King’s guard. At first, I was against the idea that she had to change her gender unwillingly because I love heroines who fight in various battles as their true selves. However, as much as I still prefer reading the former, I enjoyed how she deals with the dilemmas that changing her appearance and personality put her threw. I have never read anything such as this before and I like how she battles the feelings of wanting to express her true nature and worrying how it will affect her future. She jumps off the page as a very confident and capable woman that the supporting characters depend on.

With well plotted back stories and animated personalities, the supporting characters are just as captivating as Alexa. The connections and dramas between the characters are really well written and thought out as well. I love the role the Prince plays in this book. Despite having been put through so much brutality growing up, he stands for what he believes is right and aims for a greater good, even if that means going against his father. I also love one of his guards, Rylan. He is the quiet and humbling voice that perfectly balances Alexa’s fierce and bold personality. The two of them share some amazing dialog that I bookmarked to read over again. I have never really been one for love triangles, however, I love this one. It’s not over the top or the center of the story and Larson seems to use it as a way of making the individual voices of the characters really stand out. It is really well done and very swoon worthy. *wink, wink*

What also complements the characters is the picturesque and imaginative setting that really screams “fantasy”. Whether in the castle, dungeon, town, or forest, it is described in a way that sets the mood and paints a picture of the scene. If this book was a movie, I’m sure it would be very eye catching. The setting isn’t the only thing that is written well, the action is also very exciting. The battle scenes left me on the edge of my seat and the twists and turns keep the pace going at an exciting speed. Sara B. Larson is one killer story teller!

Over the past few months, I have been longing for a new fantasy series to read and Defy really hit the bulls-eye. With magical plots and dynamic characters, I believe that Sarah B. Larson is a wonderful new voice in the young adult fantasy genre and I will be watching out for her future installments! Now onto the painful wait for the sequel…

I give Defy, by Sara B. Larson, 5 out of 5 stars.

(I received an advance copy from Scholastic Press through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Is Defy on your to-read list this winter? Have you read it already? If so, what did you think?

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Stay nerdy,
Julia

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