Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson

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 Rating: 1.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Defy by Sara B. Larson was a book that began quite promisingly with a premise that reminded me of one of my favourite childhood series, Tamora Pierce’s The Song of the Lioness quartet. Once Alexa’s twin brother, Marcel, died however, my enjoyment of the story deteriorated because the romantic subplot took over.

This basically resulted in Alexa transforming from a seemingly competent soldier – the best of Prince Damian’s guards, actually – to one who simply couldn’t help but ogle male chests, swoon over guys’ eyes, blush, cry, and/or run away. Forget surviving, this girl clearly had her priorities straight by being more concerned about whether she was in love with Damian or Rylan, a fellow soldier, and how she could tell the other guy so without hurting their feelings.

Not only was it annoying having to read over and over again about heat rushing to Alexa’s cheeks and other places, but there was barely any worldbuilding. My knowledge of the fantasy world Larson created was literally this: a) there are three countries and their royal houses seem to be related, b) two of those countries are at war, c) there’s magic (and no explanation for why some people have it), and d) there’s a jungle. Oh, and to ensure that the reader realizes how vile the king is, there are breeding houses. (Since it takes time for babies to grow, I personally am not sure why the king thinks breeding houses are the best option for creating future soldiers; to me, conscription and training women to become soldiers would be more reasonable options).

Suffice it to say, other than its beginning, Defy didn’t resemble The Song of the Lioness quartet in the least.

Defy was released in January 2014 by Scholastic Press. 

Comments About the Cover: If there’s a sword on the cover, chances are I’m probably picking up the book.


  1. Aw, sorry this didn't work for you Z! I absolutely adored it, though I know the reviews for it have been widely varied Hope your next read is a winner:)

  2. Ah, I know of a lot of people who loved this one, but Asma wasn't one, and I didn't read it because of that. I'm glad to see you agree, though, as twisted as that sounds. Thank you for the honest review!

  3. From the reviews of the series don't look good. I would also be irritated with this one too. Glad I skipped it. Hope your next read is better, Z!

  4. I've heard such mixed comments about DEFY that I've been very hesitant to read the book despite a plot that sounds so interesting on the surface. It sounds like I wouldn't be liking the book very much either... Thanks for your review, Zahida!

  5. Yeah I tried to read this one but dropped in within fifty or so pages. I wasn't a fan for the exact same reasons you mentioned: the main character, the romance, and the lack of any world building, which is very important in a fantasy.

  6. Ugh that would drive me crazy!! Bleh, can't stand shallow girls like that. I mean, it doesn't bother me to read about girls ogling hot guys of course, but surely there are more important things happening than to do that all the time! Meh. I would also need way more from this world to be satisfied. Too bad!

  7. yikes. It seems like this is a dud. I'll pass. Thanks for the review!


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