April 28, 2014

Book Review: DEFY by Sara B. Larson

Book:  Defy
Author:  Sara B. Larson
Publisher:  Scholastic Press
Genre:  Children’s Fiction; YA Fiction

“I need you, Alex…..Alexa.”- Prince Damian
“Why?”- Alexa
“Because you understand.  More than anyone.  Because you know what it's like never to trust anyone….to be completely alone, lost in a disguise of your own making.  Because….because for quite some time I’ve……”- Prince Damian

Synopsis via NetGalley:

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 Summary:

Seeing her parents get killed changes Alexa forever.  This is the catalyst for her transition from Alexa to Alex, as she has to hide her true self and pretend to be a boy to survive

Author Sara B. Larson
With the help of her twin brother Marcel, and her natural skill in fighting, she ends up as one of Prince Damian’s personal guards. 

After an assassination attempt, Alex works closer to the Prince where she realizes her attraction to him.  When he is kidnapped, he forces his kidnappers to bring along Alex and her fellow guard and closest friend, Rylan.

She eventually finds out that both know who and what she truly is and that both care about her.  Alexa has to train hard for she is told that she is the only one who can defeat the black sorcerer who stands in the way of freedom and peace for the kingdom of Antion.  But a battle rages within her: can she trust Prince Damian despite his many secrets or should she entrust her heart to her true friend Rylan?

My Review:

I will not lie.  I had a hard time going through the first few chapters of this book.  It is dark, with the words rape and breeding house repeated every few pages it seems.  It was hard for me to digest mentally and emotionally the idea that young girls, children as young as 5 being herded into a breeding house like animals to produce children for the army of Antion.  Plus the repeats!  I cannot count how many times the words olive skin and Damian’s blue eyes were mentioned, to my chagrin.

That said…..

I still loved Defy.  The story has a good plot, full of political intrigue and a strong heroine, all that I look for in these kinds of books.  Plus the use of sorcery… lately we’ve been inundated with vampires, zombies and mermaids so having sorcery as a new factor is refreshing. 

Some parts of the story reminds me of (books) Twilight, Hunger Games and The False Prince but overall, it still comes out strong on its own 
I like the main characters.  Alexa is one hell of a fighter and it was nice to see that underneath all that bravado still beats the heart of a woman.  And that although her world falls apart repeatedly and all those she loves are killed, she still has the inner strength left to do what is expected; to fulfill her duty to the Prince and the kingdom.

I like both Rylan and Damian equally for their loyalty, bravery and open heart.  But Damian gets more sympathy from me because he is so much like Alex; he has lost so much, so many of those he loves and has a secret so big, he changes everything in the end.

What broke my heart were Marcel and Jude….They deserve more.  I truly felt the loss.  On the other hand I cried tears of joy when Damian gives Alex her due

Intrigued enough? Pick up this book with an open mind but expect to cringe at some points that you wish to never see happen in real life EVERLosing sleep to read DEFY was absolutely worth it.

Photos have been lifted from the author's site http://sarablarson.blogspot.com/ and goodreads.com

1 comment:

  1. Exactly my sentiment, Ms Lyn!! I was horrified at the breeding houses idea. I hate that it was like they're animals waiting to be butchered. :o

    Great review! :)