Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Release Date: January 7th 2014
Series: Defy #1
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
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?
Low expectations can be a great thing to have on hand when going into a book. It sounds terrible, but it’s true. With DEFY I’d seen many 2 star or lower reviews, and I thought I wasn’t going to like it. I thought I was going to hate it. Instead I was pleasantly surprised. Well, by most things. There were still a couple of elements that got on my nerves, but aside from that DEFY isn’t too terrible.
DEFY is set in a jungle, a location that was new to me and one I’m glad I experienced. I wish there were more scenes set out there, and with the animals and dangers that inhabit it, rather than just focusing on the terrible people. Of which there were plenty, let me tell you. The king is despicable. And though we don’t get to see him in person, we got to see his laws and policies. I feel I should warn some of you of the horror of the breeding house. It’s a background setting, a small scene, but an example of the horror of the king and the current world.
The plot of this wasn’t too shabby either. Until the romance was introduced but I’ll get to that in a second. There were some scenes and revelations that surprised me, and others that were way too predictable. Still it was entertaining. If anything there should have been more action, more political intrigue, more into Alex’s role as the Prince’s guard and her fighting ability, but all that was overshadowed by the romance.
DEFY has a love triangle in it. And it’s an average love triangle. Nothing about it is really special. I don’t particularly care about either of the boys as romantic interests and the frequency with which she thinks of them and is torn between doing what is “right” and what her heart thinks. The actual romance scenes were pretty well written, and there was some great chemistry at times, but there were also moments where I was rolling my eyes or gagging because it was so sappy. It also didn’t help that once the boys find out Alex is actually Alexa they all drop the act of pretending/thinking she’s a boy after an entire year or so and suddenly start treating her like a girl. Alexa herself suddenly becomes ridiculously feminine and she’s been acting for three years. I found it rather annoying and after that the characters became really adept at getting on my nerves.
Aside from annoying romance, DEFY was actually a surprising read. The plot isn’t too shabby and has magic and wars and battles. All that fun stuff. Set in a beautiful, unique world that could have been explored more, it was an enjoyable read. The only real issue I had with it was a love triangle I just couldn’t bring myself to care about (it would have been so much better if all those scenes were replaced with action. So much better). I’m hoping for a bit more action and world exploration in the sequel.