Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson

Title: Defy

Author: Sara B. Larson

Genre: High Fantasy, YA

Publish Date: 7th January 2014

Publisher: Scholastic

My rating: 3 thumbs up!



“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?” – Goodreads

My Thoughts 

I received Defy as an ARC from Scholastic via Netgalley

I’m unsure about Defy. It had some really good moments, and some not-so-good moments. It had some awesome characters, and some not-so-awesome characters. I wasn’t impressed with the romance side of things, and I feel it was lacking in some high fantasy elements, though it had a great setting, a well-developed MC and a killer concept.

Defy had a really cool setting. I have never read a high fantasy that is set deep in the jungle. So that element instantly drew me in. Next was the MC, Alexa, who has to pretend to be a boy so she doesn’t get sent to the “breeding house” and can fight in the prince’s guard. Alexa is a dynamic character and very well developed – not to mention likeable. Her complex situation is well executed through her personality: giving her a strange mix of fenemin maleness.  She’s strong and loyal, though her mind gives way to softer female traits that she refuses to give in to.

Despite this, I feel as though the story lacked in some major components. Both male characters were un-developed and boring. And the romance? A poorly developed love triangle. There was no suspense. Just a quick resolution. I personally feel that it didn’t add anything to the story. To be honest, it was almost like the plot took a break while the romance was sorted.  It was frustrating and I found myself quickly going over these pages to get to the good stuff.

Another issue I had with Defy was that it was missing some world building and developing that I’m used to in other high fantasies. I will admit that I’m not a huge high fantasy reader, but when I do I have become accustomed to taking the challenge of becoming familiar with a whole new world. To be honest – there wasn’t really nothing new with Defy. No complexity. No challenge. It’s as simple as good vs bad. Maybe this is a good thing for people who don’t like the very built world of Eragon or can’t stand the complexity of Game of Thrones. Though I personally like the complexity. For me, Defy has no layers or depth that I search for in every novel.

I also had a problem with the pace of Defy. It was jumpy, slowing down then speeding up. There were also bits of the story that seemed pointless and didn’t really have a place in the plot. Though I did like the ending of Defy, and the plot idea was good, just not entirely executed.

Overall, Defy was one of those good-but-not-great books. I would recommend it to any young reader wanting to try high fantasy.


3 thoughts on “Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson

  1. Oh, I totally agree. Particularly about the love-triangle. I didn’t want Alex to go for either of the boys! I think she was way more awesome by herself. I really didn’t like how, when everyone found out she was a girl, they started protecting her. Gosh. Wasn’t she supposed to be the best fighter in the kingdom?! She should have whooped their butts! *ahem* I also didn’t like the blatant good vs bad. Not much depth there. Great review!

    • Well, in the end you get your wish, haha! I agree though, Alexa us so so awesome. She deserves someone way better than those two.
      I feel as though the review is a little to negative for a rating of three. I always focus on the negative. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Pingback: January wrap up! | Breezy Reads

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