Monday, January 6, 2014

Review: Defy (Defy #1) by Sara B. Larson

Author: Sara B. Larson
Series: Defy series
Genre: YA, Fantasy/High Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: January 7 , 2014
Source: Netgalley
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Summary From Goodreads:
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 Thoughts:

When I first heard of and saw Defy, I thought "Whoa, a high fantasy, sword-fighting, cross dressing heroine?! You can't go wrong with that, right?" Well, apparently you can. Defy seemed like an extremely promising novel, and I was really into it until about 75% of the way through. It started out strong with the background of Alexa and her brother, and how/why they are part of Prince Damian's guards and why she is pretending to be a boy (which I found to be very Mulan-ish).

Characters: I surprisingly enjoyed Marcel's character in the few chapters that we met him. His relationship with Alexa was one of the things I liked in the story. Alexa herself on the other hand was a character that I did not understand. In the beginning, I saw her as this strong, sword fighting champion but then things turned for the worse. All of a sudden, the character that I actually liked became this sappy, love-struck girl, while mind you, still pretending to be a boy. See the problem? Her being on cloud nine wasn't the thing that truly bothered me, it was the love triangle.

Love Triangle: I knew there was going to be a love triangle from the description, and I was a little afraid to read this because of that. Now, don't get me wrong. I happen to like love triangles as long as they're done right. This one, however, was disappointingly not. Even though I wasn't expecting "a thrilling love triangle" I was hoping for it to be at least decent. One of the main reasons I didn't care for this love triangle was because of the love interests. I felt as if Rylan didn't play a huge part in the book at all, and I just didn't know how I felt about Damian. He was so moody and secretive I just couldn't take it. It took me until the last few chapters of the novel to decide that I thought he was decent. Just decent.

The Plot: The plot had genuine potential, because it's not everyday you read a high fantasy novel with a masquerading main character, but it needed more. It was too love based with not enough action. I would've loved to see more scenes involving sorceress magic and fighting. Also, this takes time in the olden days but I forgot about this (even though they use swords) because of the dialect. The way the characters talked and the setting made it seem pretty modern. Only occasionally would I  remember that it was set in a different era. There was a couple of revelations near the end of the novel that surprised me, but other than that the plot was honestly pretty basic.

Overall, Defy had an extremely high potential to be amazing, but it was simply a "meh" novel in my opinion. Perhaps it just wasn't my cup of tea but I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped.

My Favorite Quote:

“True beauty is what lies inside of us, not what the world sees. A beautiful shell that houses a vile soul becomes sullied over time. But an outer shell, imperfect as it may be, that houses a beautiful, shines with that beauty, radiating it for all who have eyes to see.” 

Would I recommend Defy? Maybe. I would definitely warn about the love triangle though.



  1. I'm not a big fantasy reader and based on the reviews of this, I think I'll probably skip it.Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

    1. Thanks for stopping by Jen! It really disheartens me that I didn't enjoy it since I had been so excited for it in the beginning. Especially since the plot had such a large potential too.

  2. Oh, I'm glad to see you enjoyed this one at least somewhat. It's gotten generally negative reviews from friends of mine. The love triangle is definitely disappointing, as is the plot not reaching its full potential. That's always sad. :/

    1. I certainly didn't love it, but it didn't hate it either which is better I guess. I've sadly seen a lot of negative reviews too and only a handful of positive ones.

  3. You definitely enjoyed this more than I did :P I think I ended up giving this a 2. I really thought I'd like it, but the emphasis on the love triangle was really annoying. And yeah I agree, there was so much potential for this book, since I really liked the concept!

    1. Hahaha. I could feel the rating dropping as I was writing the review, but I was feeling lenient so I stuck with my original rating. The love triangle was really the thing that bothered me the most. It was way too romance based rather than action. I'm seeing a lot of reviews that say this too. Thanks for stopping by!