Friday, July 10, 2015

[Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson]

Author: Sara B. Larson
Series: Defy #1
Pages: 336
Genre: YA, High Fantasy
Date Published: January 7th, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press


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:

An Open Letter To Defy,

I have mixed feelings about you. On one hand I liked your story. On the other hand your love triangle drove me crazy. I wished that you wouldn't have had one. Or that it would not have been a love triangle of the irritating type. In a way, it kind of ruined you for me, but your story was strong. It just is what it is...

-The White Unicorn 

Why do frustrating love triangles exist? Honestly, this book would have been so much better without it. As I was reading I was left with the same kind of feeling that I had while reading The Twilight Saga, that being a wish that there was one love interest. Or at least two men who offered something of substance for our main character. It could have worked, but I have to say that I don't think that Larson executed it well, though she should have just executed the love triangle to begin with. I just feel like shouting "WHYYYY" into the wind, because though I think that the love triangle brought the story down two or three unicorns, Larson wrote a really interesting story.

The story of a girl who cuts her hair and pretends to be a boy so that evil will not befall her is one that we've heard before. This book reminded me of Disney's Mulan on that front, but I liked that Larson decided to give her world a really dark backstory. Meaning that Alexa had to hide who she was so she wouldn't end up in a breeding house. Larson's world building was one of my favorite things about this book. I thought the army, the king's guards and the breeding house were all great additions to the world of Defy. 

I also liked Alexa a lot. Though I feel like she goes from being a girl with a secret to a girl who just kind of acts like a girl. A lot of sad stuff happens to her, and she finds herself alone in her deception. I wish she would have really been as alone as she thought she was, but then, all the boys who love her always knew that she was girl, and all the love happens. 

Rylan and Damian both want to treat Alexa like a girl, and it gets a tad annoying. I honestly didn't like either of them as love interests for her, though I have to admit that I did like them as characters in the story. They were both pretty awesome, when they weren't being annoying about Alexa. 

In the end I think that this book is geared toward people who love love triangles, and people who like them to take the main focus. I am not that crowd, and I wish that Larson's brilliant world building, and her none-romantic story line would have been able to take center stage, because they were great. 

  2 Unicorns = It was okay, but something just didn't work for me!

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