Author: Sara B. Larson
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: January 7th, 2014
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
Genre: YA – High-Fantasy, Romance
A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and heart-racing romance.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?
When I first read the blurb, I thought Defy was going to be a kickass fantasy with awesome protagonist despite of the love triangle. But as the book progresses, sorry to say that I am very disappointed with this.
“I’d been doing it for so long, I didn’t even have to think about it anymore. Trying to sound like a boy was natural to me now.”
The concept is actually something that I’d never heard of in YA: a girl disguising be a boy to save her life. And when I started the book, I was so in love with it I was like “OMG this is going to be a favorite!<3” However, after Alexa’s brother death in the first 50 pages, Defy quickly went downhill.
I already knew from the blurb that there would be a love triangle – and unfortunately a predictable one at that. The love interests are Prince Damian (a lazy prince with – wait for it – secrets whom Alexa initially hates but the more she gets to know him, the more she realizes that he is far more than that) and Rylan (the loyal type of guy who has befriended Alexa and her brother since the very beginning). You can guess which one will win, it’s very obvious.
Moreover, I don’t like the fact that in page 100+, it’s revealed both love interests have known that Alex is a girl. Too convenient. I assume it’s made that way so that the love interests can get started to, you know, basically get closer to the girl without having to pretend that she is a guy and the girl doesn’t have to keep disguising as a guy anymore and just. Do. What. Hormones. Say.
My main issue with Defy is how the romance takes over the plot. In the middle part until the last page, Alexa spends her time being confused and going back and forth between two guys, resulting in very little actual plot development. PUH-LEASE. Also, I was irritated how in one moment Alexa gets mad at the prince for keeping secrets and next second she already forgives him. (That happens quite a lot.)
The prince is obviously the more dominant one in the love triangle and the romance between him and the protagonist is a bit of insta-love. However, I feel like Rylan is just thrown here. . .I think he’s barely in the story and I must admit that I like him better. When I was reading, sometimes I felt bad for him because it seems like everything he does can never please the MC. For example when Rylan offers Alexa help and she goes like “dude, I need no help I am strong enough!” but when there is Prince Damian she just throws herself at him and I was like. . .
In the later part of the book, something other than the romance FINALLY happens and there this baffling explanation about politics, lies and other stuff I didn’t quite understand. But at that point I was too bored and too fed-up with the romance, thus everything fell flat for me.
There is a huge potential in the concept but too bad the execution is dissatisfying. Apart from the infuriating romance, almost non-existent plot and inconsistent protagonist, the only things I like in Defy is the ending and a couple of characters (Marcel and Rylan). I do appreciate the ending – it is unlike what I had expected. The ending portrays a realistic consequence of wars and I suppose it is accurate enough.
Although I was either frustrated or disinterested most of the time, I will still give Defy 2 stars considering how much I enjoyed reading the beginning.
*Lol, look, my thoughts on the romance takes over my review! xD