January 3, 2014

ARC Review: Defy by: Sara B. Larson

Defy (#1) by: Sara B. Larson (Jan. 7, 2014)
336 pages
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC of Defy. This did not affect my honest review.
Goodreads Summary: 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

When reading Defy there was one thing that kept popping up into my head, “this book is trying too hard.” Defy tries sometimes with desperation to be the next best young adult fantasy novel. Although it has its positive attributes, there are a good handful of negative ones that it brings to the table as well.

Alexa is a strong female who has to disguise herself as a boy in order to survive and the prince is dreamy, but all the characters seem to fit into a stereotypical fantasy character mold, making none of them really all that unique. Even though the synopsis warns us of a love triangle I was hoping it wouldn’t bother me, but it wasn’t thrilling like the synopsis promised.

There are some cool magic and sword fighting scenes that lived up and somewhat surpassed my expectations, but those were the only real highlights of Defy. Sadly the whole book was pretty predictable and just seemed like it was trying too hard to win my attention. Not to mention that a few of the plot points seemed to make no sense to me and it felt like the author just added them in there for conflict or for whatever reason, but it just didn’t work.

Even though Defy wasn’t an epic fantasy, it still held my attention and I will probably read the second one, although this one ended okay if it were a standalone. Therefore, I guess I don’t know if and to who I would recommend this book to. If you are a big fantasy novel fan, I feel like you wouldn’t like this one as much since it doesn't add anything really new to the genre, but then again you never know. I guess I will just have to sign off by saying that if you skip past this one it wouldn't be a huge loss.    


  1. Reviews haven't been very promising for this and along side Bone Season and Throne of Glass I have a feeling I would be one of those disappointed. Wonderful review :)

    1. You said is exactly...after reading Throne of Glass this just didn't compare. I probably shouldn't compare but I can't help it because I loved Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight so much!

  2. Sometimes I feel like I am less critical of Fantasy because I love it so much but then again, if this one is predictable and more or less the same as what is out there, maybe I will get bored. That's tricky... maybe I will wait for reviews of the second book to see if I should read it. Great review! Sorry it was a bit disappointing!


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