Defy — Book Review

early book review

Today’s book review is for Defy by Sara B. Larson.


The Deets

author: Sara B. Larson

release date: January 1, 2014

format: e-book, hardcover

pages: 336 pages

publisher: Scholastic Press

Read: Dec. 1-17, 2013

Acquired: Netgalley

Book Pages: • •  Author’s Website  

Book Type: YA, fantasy

The Down-low

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?(From

My Thoughts

*I received this e-book in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley.*

Well, that was anti-climatic.

When I started this book, I was immediately engaged.  I was a bit giddy even.  Our main character had a strong voice and a great back story.  In fact, I was really loving everything — even the horrible description of “breeding houses” — up until the point where there was an assassination attempt.

Why you ask?

Well, it was at this point that our strong-willed Alex (aka Alexa) whom I saw as a combination of Celaena Sardothien and Arya Stark turned into a sopping mess.  And the reason for this… Well, of course a boy.  But not just one boy, TWO BOYS.  I have to say, if I had paid attention to the “love triangle” mess in the synopsis I never would have picked up this book.

And yet, I read on.  And I was still rolling my eyes at the contrived scenes with this love interest.  I just didn’t feel it.  At all. It felt so fake.  So overdone. SO cliche.

And yet, I kept reading.  Honestly, I wanted to know how things turned out.  And when Alex(a) wasn’t being an awkward mess with boy, she was a fairly interesting character.  And the writing was good.  The story was interesting. And yet in the end, I was just rolling my eyes.  The choices Alex(a) and the two boys made were RIDICULOUS.  The end of the book felt like the end of The Elite by Kiera Cass.  And I’m kind of tired of reading these same things over and over again in YA.  It’s probably my fault for reading so many books, but things are definitely starting to all blend together.

Other issues: I needed more world building.  And a map.  Those of you who are faithful followers know how pro-map I am when it comes to fantasy books.  I NEED to see the world as it is.  I was only given a few context clues, but I wanted to know what these different countries were like, what sorcerers were like, etc.  I wanted to know more about Alex(a)’s back story, etc.

I don’t want this to sound like the book was bad.  It wasn’t.  I just have read such amazing books in the fantasy realm lately that this one didn’t hold a candle.  I will put the second book on my TBR list, but honestly, I’ll be pretty critical of the synopsis prior to reading on.  The story was interesting enough to put it as a maybe, mainly because I’d love some of those other questions answered.  

Overall, if you really like fantasy and you have not read Throne of Glass, you will probably like this one.  If you have, well, I don’t think this will hold your attention.




heart jess new


2 thoughts on “Defy — Book Review

  1. I enjoyed the book, but I had similar feelings as far as the romance (and triangle). I didn’t really care that much for Rylan, and, in fact, his character seemed a bit unnecessary. I wish we could have seen more interactions between him and Alexa before we find out how he feels about her. I also didn’t completely buy Damian’s feelings for Alexa, it seemed quite sudden given they didn’t seem like they really knew each other. A slow-building relationship would have been much more believable. And Alexa becomes so girly at certain points, constantly obsessing over Damian and Rylan that I felt like shaking her and telling her to get a grip. But I enjoyed the political intrigue, action scenes, and the magic. And the ending…quite surprising, especially what happens to Alexa. Gutsy move on the part of the author, I’m interested to see what happens next. Thanks for the honest review!

    • YES! I agree completely. It really wasn’t a bad book, I just am tired of bad romance plot lines. We needed more time to see the relationship between her and Rylan and I needed to believe her and Damian and I just didn’t. I know she struggled with being a guy and having feelings of a girl, but I think she let the ‘romance’ take over things too much.

      And the end was GREAT, but the whole contrived part between the two was over the top. I think it would have been a great stand alone and probably would have been a much stronger book altogether. You’re right though, I am interested to see what direction things go in.

Lovely words from lovely people!

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