Defy (Defy, Book 1) by Sara B. Larson

Defy (Defy, Book 1)

bySara B. Larson

Kobo ebook | January 7, 2014

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A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and heart-racing romance. 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?

Title:Defy (Defy, Book 1)Format:Kobo ebookPublished:January 7, 2014Publisher:Scholastic Inc.Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0545597633

ISBN - 13:9780545597630

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Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from I should be reimbursed for the time wasted reading this! DEFY by Sara B. Larson is a derivative fantasy with boring, forgettable characters and flat world-building. The pacing of the plot was all off and there was no excitement or action to it. There were also hugely problematic aspects. I usually have a better experience reading a book versus listening to the audiobook because I'm a very visual person, but it was the opposite here. The narrator convinced me to listen to the entire audiobook (8-9 ish hours), whereas if I'd been reading the book I probably would have DNFed it. I'm a slow reader and I doubt I could handle more than 9 hours with this book. The writing itself wasn't bad and I see the potential but DEFY is one of those books that should've never seen the light of day. There is nothing in this book we haven't already seen in YA fantasy; the author is unable to make it stand out. DEFY is trying to be GRACELING but falling short. We see one kingdom warring against the other, a love triangle, a king hated by his heir and a special snowflake protagonist - and it is all badly executed. RED QUEEN is a good example of a book that takes things we've seen in fantasy and makes something different of it. DEFY not so much. I can't tell what was worse - the plot, the world building, the characters or the problematic aspects. If I'm on chapter 10 and still waiting for something to happen, there are issues with the pacing. Sometimes when there's a lack of action, there's at least a focus on characterization but not with DEFY. There was very little character growth and honestly, the only characters I remember are the protagonist Alex/Alexa, her twin brother Marcel, the Prince Damian and Rylan, another member of the prince's guard and the other love interest. I also remember the king and an assassin, but not their names. The world building was very confusing and I couldn't catch enough of the details, although that may be because I listened to the audiobook. If I miss the name of a character or place, I can stop and rewind it, but I can't see how it's spelled etc. I cannot for the life of me remember the names of the two kingdoms, I don't really know what sets them apart and I am only 50% sure of when and how the war between these two kingdoms started. I do know the kingdom the MC lives in has a jungle-like environment and thanks to a review (read after starting this) I know the other kingdom is supposed to be desert-like. I assumed the rest of the fantasy world fit a European medieval period. I usually don't have a problem with the "special snowflake" protagonist but it's not believable that the MC is the only girl ever who thought to cut her hair and disguise herself as a boy. You have the strong heroine surrounded by male characters. The one other female character is Alexa's side enemy *didn't see that coming* and the queen was murdered before the beginning of the book to start a war and move the plot along. Onto the problematic aspects! This book needs a trigger or content warning. The world building and plot are based on rape and abuse. The kingdom the MC lives in has these "breeding houses" where orphan girls are imprisoned, abused, and raped so that they can "breed" new soldiers for the King's army. This is usually not triggering for me but the summary I'd read for this book had nothing about breeding houses?! I'd seen so much praise and hype for this book, but nothing that mentioned this (I didn't read any Goodreads reviews prior to starting it). The king would either take orphan girls from his own kingdom and send them to the breeding houses or they were orphans from the enemy kingdom that his army captured (or both?). I'm not too sure, it's one of those details I missed. The orphan boys were however forced to join the army... This is why the MC disguises herself as a boy. Orphan boys join the army and orphan girls are sent to the breeding houses. Not only are rape and abuse just thrown in, but there's no *logical* reason and it isn't examined in the text. The king apparently does this to increase the size of his army but the war only started 5-15 years ago (I think). I don't know if the author forgot, but children take a long time to grow. The king doesn't want child soldiers either. The MC was orphaned at 14 and had to lie and say she was 17, in order to join the army. Not only that, but having an army of people you've enslaved is probably not a good idea - I'm surprised there were no rebellions or rumours of soldiers wanting to assassinate the king. This was just so sickening to read. I don't want a fantasy book that is based on rape and abuse and isn't even examined in the text. POC are described as food. One of the main characters was continually described as chocolate. As far as I can remember, only one character's skin colour is described so I had to assume the rest were white. Lots of toxic masculinity. Since the MC is disguised as a boy, she would constantly talk about the things she can't do because people need to believe she's a boy. Things like "boys don't blush, boys don't have long hair or high-pitch voices, only girls do this, etc". I understand what the author was trying to do but I don't think it was done well.
Date published: 2017-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This was an amazing book! I just finished this book and I would definitely recommend it. The book only has about 350 pages in it, but every single page had something exciting on it. I could not put this book down and I'm certain that whoever reads this book will have the same problem. Sara B Larson has outdone herself with this book and I cannot wait to read the rest of the series.
Date published: 2017-09-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing book i hadn't read anything in a while, and this book helped me get back into reading. highly recommend for anyone who's into medieval times or love triangles. but if you're not into any of those things, try this out. it'll change your mind.
Date published: 2017-09-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great book!! I found this book really enjoyable and I cant wait to countinue on with the series!!
Date published: 2017-09-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it I loved the start of the story how the main character disguised herself as a boy. This book is a typical monarchical drama of transference of power. #plumreviews
Date published: 2017-08-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great book! Its a little chiche but a great overall book. A few parts had me cringing but I found myself very emotionally invested in the plot.
Date published: 2017-08-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I really enjoyed this book When I first read the summary on the back of this book, I wasn't sure whether I should read it or not. My mind was screaming at me "LOVE TRIANGLE AHEAD! ABORT! ABORT!". I absolutely despise love triangles. They are so overused, especially in YA fiction. Despite my hesitations, the rest of the summary made the book seem really good. I have a soft spot for books that portray the heroine as having to disguise herself as a boy; it stems from a book I read with the same idea back when I was a preteen. I decided to give this book a try, and I am glad I did. It was a really enjoyable, quick read, and I am definitely going to read the other two books in the trilogy. Although there was a love triangle, I was able to overlook it because the main character was able to choose one man. She realized fairly quickly who she wanted, chose him, and let the other guy know. In some books, the triangle goes on for the entire series with the main character not being able to choose. I found it refreshing that Alex did not lead the other guy on. I loved all of the fight scenes, and I loved the fact that our main character was a strong female.
Date published: 2017-02-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Cheesy but fun This book was cheesy as all-get-out, loaded with overused tropes, extremely focused on the love triangle, with about ten different problematic elements and a healthy dose of over-dramatic heroine. Basically, it was a guilty pleasure book, because there was a whole lot in it that put me off and made me think I ought to rate this a lot harsher than I have (i.e. one star). However, sometimes I want to put aside my raging feminism and dislike of overblown tropes in favor of a really fun book. Despite my desire to think critically about what I read and ingest stuff with true literary merit, there is a decent part of me that still loves wild and passionate love triangles and sexy princes and girls who can kick butt but also are infested with butterflies whenever the hero so much as breathes near her. As a little girl raised on fairytales and Disney movies, I grew up loving the tropes and the overblown drama, and sometimes I don't want to think about the problematic elements and plot holes and just let myself be entertained. So fairly early on in this book, I decided to go ahead and enjoy my guilty pleasure book, and I wasn't even going to feel guilty about it. I settled in and took full pleasure from the consuming romantic subplot (which was super romantic) and the cheesy situations (which were ridiculously cheesy, but very exciting). I rolled my eyes but grinned at the overdramatic fight scenes and I pointedly ignored the problematic elements of time-honored tropes and let myself enjoy the story. It was a fast and easy read and I simply let myself enjoy it, because despite everything else it might be, it definitely wasn't boring. If you don't think you can manage this, then this book is definitely not for you, but if you can put aside judgement for a little while, then you're in for an exciting, passionate, interesting new story. I'll definitely be reading the next one...but maybe I should go read something with a little more literary merit in between, just to get rid of, yes, okay, a little bit of guilt.
Date published: 2016-12-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book!! Defy was a book written by Sara B. Larson. I was browsing the local library one sunny afternoon and came across this book. I picked this book up and had a hard time putting down. It has a simple cover, green with a dagger, yet the elegance of the vibrant Colour is what caught my eye. I checked it out and took it home. Not really expecting what was inside, I found that it was packed with an exciting adventure. The main character Alexa, or "Alex" as she is referred to most of the time in the book because she hides her gender for good reasons to protect herself, was a wonderful, strong character. Fighting to over come a corrupt kingdom, and meeting a few surprising friends along the way. It is set in a medieval area with kings and guards and sorcerers. However, I do not feel that I should give out any major spoilers. I really enjoyed this book and the plot sure comes with a lot of twists and turns along the way. I was very impressed with the progression of the story. It did not seem to drag or linger on a topic too often. I did not feel bored at all with this read. I was impressed with the story line and I am looking forward to reading the next book "Ignite." Yes this book is a light read, but well worth the time. My personal opinion on this book is good. It deserves a five star rating. I enjoyed it and would recommend reading this. I am intending on purchasing it to add to my collection as well as reading and reviewing Ignite.
Date published: 2016-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What I loved about Defy was Alexa was a kick ass character! She was a girl who had been pretending to be a boy for years! She could even best most of the boys in a sword fight and was chosen as one of the Prince’s guards because of it. Now let me talk about the prince for a bit… Well this may take longer than a bit lol! Damien was arrogant and lazy and for the most part was a pain in the ass but, he was keeping secrets and when you start to find out those you get why he’s been acting like an ass and when I got to really know him I fell HARD for him! Such a well written book, keep you turning the pages. Cant wait for the next one :D
Date published: 2014-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I've been interested to read this book for what seems like months now, because it's one of my two favourite genres, and damned if I wasn't thrilled with the result of all that waiting. Engaging, endearing, and thoroughly entertaining, I feel like this is one that I'm going to have to go out and get a hard copy of and cram it onto one of my shelves. Loved every single word of it.
Date published: 2014-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Defy was one of those books that looked interesting, but got shelved as a “maybe”. Until I saw several of my friends adding it to their shelves…THEN I decided I should give it a try. I have to say that I’m SO glad that I gave it a chance! I don’t read a lot of high fantasy, but I went into it with an open mind, hoping for a 3-4 star read. What I actually got blew me away. I will start off with the world-building. Normally I’m not too big of a stickler for world-building (unless it’s completely missing), but when I’m trying out a somewhat-new genre, I don’t like to be thrown in without a clue. I personally thought that the author did a great job of making sure that everything made sense and flowed properly. I felt completely at ease with the setting she was trying to portray, and believed it for the most part. There were times when I thought the world was a little bizarre – for instance, the landscape completely changed when they moved into another territory. I don’t know about where you live, but here, the landscape changes many times in my own province, and my province share those features with the neighboring provinces. So that was a little weird for me, but not so much so that I let it distract me from the story as a whole. Alex’s character is probably one of my favorite characters in all the books I’ve read. She was kick-ass – strong, sharp but still managed to keep her sensitive side. I loved how internally she was at war with herself – she was a girl pretending to be a boy, so on the outside she had to act in a certain way, so the little dialogues she had with herself made me smile and felt realistic. Whatever emotion Alexa seemed to be feeling at any given moment, I seemed to be feeling it too – and I was thrilled by that connection that I felt with her. The other characters were all really well written, as well. I loved Alexa’s group of friends, and full-out hated her enemies. Alexa had such a close relationship with several people and those relationships were well developed and honest. I was a little bit worried about the love triangle between Alexa, Rylan and Damian that was inevitable, since it is so over-done, but it was atypical and managed perfectly. The fight scenes were intense and I always found myself so caught up in them that when they were over, my heart would be pounding. I was 100% enthralled with this story, and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for something a little bit out of the ordinary. If you’ve never tried high fantasy before, then I would suggest this as one to pick up. This will definitely be one of my favorite books for 2014!
Date published: 2014-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Teen Fantasy! Defy was by far one of my favorites of the year because of the fantasy, strong characters, action and even the turmoil. Sara B. Larson writing was addicting and this book even made me cry which is very hard to do since this book was fantasy.  Before I started reading Defy I knew that I would probably love this book. Its full of intense emotion, fighting, magic and the atmosphere took you to a different place. I could actually picture everything while reading it.   Alexa is a very strong character whose life as a young girl was to pretend to be a boy and join the Kings Army with her twin brother. To others she is known as Alex who is among the best fighters to Prince Damian. Her twin brother Marcel rescued her and in the beginning of the book it explains why she disguises herself as a boy. The fate of the young girls was shocking because there were breeding houses for the war between Antion and Blevon. Alexa has run away from this fate but there is a bigger threat she has to run from: the black sorcerer who killed her family and home. Also the ruler of Antion is the worst who has not helped the people.  Alex is a loyal and caring person who has amazing sword skills and I really loved how strong she is. I love the male leads who are both attracted to Alex and they already know the truth that she is not a boy. Daiman is the prince who also has secrets but he really shows how much he cares for her, and Rylan is the sweet and  also has bad timing. I really can't choose who I would choose until the second book! I am excited to see what will happen in the next book which is next year!!  If you loved Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas read this book immediately! Loved this book so much! Sara B. Larson's writing is also addicting and can really pull you in with the plot since I definitely was crying and overjoyed at parts! Pick this book up from your bookstore today because you will not regret it! 
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating with Picturesque Description! Review originally posted on my blog, Book Bindings Blog.  Defy centers on the fantasy adventures of Alexa, a girl forced to secretly change her identity to a boy in order to become a member of the King’s guard. At first, I was against the idea that she had to change her gender unwillingly because I love heroines who fight in various battles as their true selves. However, as much as I still prefer reading the former, I enjoyed how she deals with the dilemmas that changing her appearance and personality put her threw. I have never read anything such as this before and I like how she battles the feelings of wanting to express her true nature and worrying how it will affect her future. She jumps off the page as a very confident and capable woman that the supporting characters depend on. With well plotted back stories and animated personalities, the supporting characters are just as captivating as Alexa. The connections and dramas between the characters are really well written and thought out as well. I love the role the Prince plays in this book. Despite having been put through so much brutality growing up, he stands for what he believes is right and aims for a greater good, even if that means going against his father. I also love one of his guards, Rylan. He is the quiet and humbling voice that perfectly balances Alexa’s fierce and bold personality. The two of them share some amazing dialog that I bookmarked to read over again. I have never really been one for love triangles, however, I love this one. It’s not over the top or the center of the story and Larson seems to use it as a way of making the individual voices of the characters really stand out. It is really well done and very swoon worthy. *wink, wink* What also complements the characters is the picturesque and imaginative setting that really screams “fantasy”. Whether in the castle, dungeon, town, or forest, it is described in a way that sets the mood and paints a picture of the scene. If this book was a movie, I’m sure it would be very eye catching. The setting isn’t the only thing that is written well, the action is also very exciting. The battle scenes left me on the edge of my seat and the twists and turns keep the pace going at an exciting speed. Sara B. Larson is one killer story teller! Over the past few months, I have been longing for a new fantasy series to read and Defy really hit the bulls-eye. With magical plots and dynamic characters, I believe that Sarah B. Larson is a wonderful new voice in the young adult fantasy genre and I will be watching out for her future installments! Now onto the painful wait for the sequel… I give Defy, by Sara B. Larson, 5 out of 5 stars. (I received an advance copy from Scholastic Press through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)
Date published: 2014-01-20