When I requested this title from NetGalley, I knew absolutely nothing about Sara B. Larson. The synopsis didn’t sell the title for me, and yet – I requested it. Now I also know it is Larson’s debut novel.
Best thing I did NetGalley-wise.
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?
Lush? check. Gorgeous writing? check. Action? Intrigue? A love triangle? check, check and heck yeah – check!!!
And all that wrapped inside a young adult novel.
Alexa (disguised as a boy) and her twin brother, Marcel, were forced to join the royal guard of prince Damien or they’d be taken into slavery and worse, under the king’s cruel regime. Marcel helps her guard her secret for year, but some unfortunate turn of events her secret is no more, subsequently revealing some knew it but kept it without her knowledge. But then other secrets are slowly revealed, when she is taken captive by the enemy, along with the prince and Rylan, another member of the guard.
Besides the information hidden from her that is slowly revealed, Alexa is the subject of some swoony moves from both Damien and Rylan. They are both pretty amazing, but I think I’ve settled my affections o Damien pretty much from the get go.
All main characters go through some interesting changes throughout the first book in this series. Alexa’s ARC is the most complex, I think, due to her concealing her true identity for so long, and when she is recognized as a girl again, she deals with new struggles as an “outed” girl, her behavior, her feelings, all suppressed for years.
Defy ends at an interesting place. Naturally, the story will continue and as it is it can’t be considered a cliffhanger, but yeah, I need more to feel satisfied. I need the full HEA, not just a semi.
Larson created a mesmerizingly swirling world of kings and princes, the royal guard, sorcerers, rebels, slavery and some pretty harsh situations to read, but the way it all comes together made for the perfect page-turner. Youngsters, gather ’round and pick up a book. This one in particular!
My thanks to Scholastic and NetGalley for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
My debut YA fantasy DEFY was published on January 7, 2014! I’m represented by Josh Adams. Mommy of three. Lover of chocolate, desserts of all kinds, and Swedish Fish. Also good books.
Due to time constraints, I’m not on goodreads very often and can’t usually check all my messages. But I AM active on Twitter, FB, and my blog! All requests for interviews/guest posts/etc. need to go through my publicist, Sheila Marie Everett at Scholastic. Please email her at severett (at) scholastic (dot) com and she will get back to you as soon as she can!