Thursday, November 12, 2015

HOLIDAY HAPPINESS: Book Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson

Title: Defy (Defy #1)
Author: Sara B. Larson
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Format Read: Hardback (FC)

Description 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?

I picked up DEFY because I was going to be meeting Sara at Lit Con (I know, it's been a year. I never realized that I didn't review it? Still not sure how that one went past me.) and I tore through it. We all love stories where someone dresses up as the opposite sex to save their life, which probably stems from watching Mulan too much as children, but either way, we love these stories. And DEFY is definitely one of the best ones I've read. 

This is a simple story, and I don't mean that in an offensive way. I mean it like this: Too many fantasy novels that include princes and princesses and kings and queens have details upon details-- family trees, kingdom roots, descriptions about the kingdom that seem to go on and on. DEFY isn't like that. We get every bit of description we need, all of the info that relates to the story and setting's backstory, and that's it. There's no information that feels like a history textbook, and I love it. The characters are perfectly flawed, and I find myself being able to empathize and sympathize with most of them throughout the book.

I give DEFY 4.5 stars, and recommend it to fans of high fantasy and Mulan-type stories. If you love strong female characters who put their kingdom and it's citizens over herself, this is the book for you. And I urge you to run out and get it.


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