By: Sara B. Larson
Published by: Scholastic
Released on: January 7th, 2014- TODAY
Source: e-arc from publisher to review / purchased book
Rating: 5 stars I LOVED IT!
Series: Defy #1
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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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?
A must read! Defy is a beautifully crafted story brimming with romance, magic, and a thrilling adventure. Alexa has become one of my all time favorite heroines. Like some of the literary greats before her, she is a prime example of embracing her true self, and defies much in her quest for the greater good.
Alexa has become one of my all time favorite characters, because of the kind of character she is. Driven from heartache, and forced to conceal her true identity and disguise herself as a boy, she quickly finds herself moving up the ranks of the King's Army to become part of the crown Prince, Damain's personal guard. She's also the most skilled fighter in the guard. She's a character who proves she can do just about anything. She's also a character who knows what it means to be strong. Incredibly strong. She has dwelt with her share of heartache and hardship. I love that she's a character who can hang with the toughest of guys, and holds her own ground.
I loved the way Sara wrote Alexa. This character became someone I quickly cared about. I rooted for her from page one, and loved getting to know the girl behind the disguise. I also loved that Sara allowed me to emotionally connect with her. Instead of telling me the emotions Alexa was feeling through out the story, and the conflict of her feelings for the Crown Prince, and her obligation to him, I felt her emotions. I understand her wavering, and her confusing over the change in his feelings, and the what was developing between them, as well as for one of her trusted friends, Rylan. I understood her why she locked away her grief and heartache, and what drove her. I appreciated that she didn't jump right into falling in love. I loved that Alexa was the kind of character who analyzed and questioned the right things that were going on in the story in a realistic way, and didn't do so in a way that made her seem boring. Alexa was anything but that. From her relationships with the Prince, and Rylan, to those in the Castle, and to the turn of events that happen in the story, Alexa is always on guard, and aware of things happening around her.
DEFY has all the things I love in a favorite read. There's plenty of adventure, danger, action, fabulous characters, a well crafted story, magic, a vividly described setting, a twisted plot and romance. Oh that romance! I loved the romance and the way it was developed in this story. It was perfect. This love triangle was fabulous! The stolen glances, the soft touches, the secret kisses. You guys know I'm not always a fan of love triangles, but this is how you write a love triangle. Both Damian and Rylan were fabulous guys and contenders for Alexa's heart and both for very different reasons. It was fitting to have both the Prince and a fellow guard to fall for Alexa. After all one has been by her side for the past few years, and had also made a promise to her brother to protect her, while the other is someone who he has been able to confide in the most within the walls of the castle. Not only that, Alexa / Alex is the one who's always been there for Prince Damian.
It's made obvious rather quickly just who has more of her heart and why. I really liked Rylan, but I loved Damain. This boy is full of all kinds of secrets. I love the chemistry he and Alexa have. He seriously knows how to get to her..... some of those scenes in his chambers before some major secrets are revealed in the story were fabulously written. When you read them you'll know what I'm talking about. There is more to the Prince than first meets the eye. One of the things I enjoyed the most about Alexa and Damain's relationship is the fact there both helped each other grow into the roles they end up taking. They were the ones who understood each other the most, and confided in each other, well at least the things there were at liberty to confide in. Their relationship and the choices they made, made perfect sense.
DEFY has a home among my bookcase of all time favorite reads. Debut author Sara B Larson has sent a high stand for upcoming releases for 2014. She is a master story teller. Her writing is flawless and crisp, and leaves me wishing she had another book coming out this year. I loved everything about this book. The writing, everything about the story, the characters, the adventure, magic, romance, and especially Alexa.