Monday, 23 December 2013
Review:Defy(Defy #1) by Sara B. Larson
Publication Date: January 7th, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
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Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick with 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?
Oh how I wanted to like this one a lot more than I did. It's fantasy. That's totally my thing. But unfortunately I found Defy only alright.
After reading the description you totally think of Mulan. At least I sure did. But the similarities between Mulan and Defy pretty much start and end at a girl pretending to be a boy.
My biggest problem with Defy is the romance. Well really the love triangle. I found it was totally shoved in my face. It also took over the plot and story of the book. Which for me when reading a fantasy novel is not what I'm looking for. Sure I want the romance there, but I'm looking for it take the back seat. This story was all about who is Alex going to choose? The prince who is so wrong for her. Or her longtime friend and fellow guard, who is perfect for her. I'm sure that just like me you totally know where this is going.
My other issue was when Alex's big secret of actually being a girl is starting to be revealed. Nobody. And I mean nobody had any issues about it. In fact it seems that people were aware of it for years and just decided to keep it to themselves. Really?! To me it doesn't matter that she is the best fighter in the king's army. As wrong as we find it to discriminate against women now-a-days, that's not how a lot of fantasy novels see it. The men are in the army. Fine, totally makes sense. Even in Defy it's only men in the army, as to why Alex is pretending to be one. So why does the prince, king, her captain, anyone not even bring it up? Punish her? Make some sort of qualm about it? Totally doesn't fit with the plot Larson is trying to pull off.
As far as Alex goes, it's not that I didn't like her. I just found her to be another Bella Swan. Didn't really think she had any stand out qualities besides being this ridiculously fantastic fighter. Couldn't even really picture a face on her when I was reading. So meh.
Sure as hell didn't like Prince Damien. He's a douche. Normal prince behavior. Until he "surprises" Alex by being good with a sword and saving her. Then going on to tell her how much he needs her because they're so similar. Whateves...
I did really like Rylan and actually most of the secondary characters. They're really what saved the story for me. Most of them had more personality come through in the bits they had than Alex.
Also liked the setting being a jungle. That's something different for a fantasy novel. Usually it's mountainous or forest setting.
When I was rating this on Goodreads I was surprised to find out that this is going to be a series, trilogy, whatever. There's going to be another book. The ending was pretty complete. And I was actually quite happy with the choices Alex made. So I'm not sure I'll continue on. I don't think there needs to more to this story for me.
Like I mentioned I didn't hate this book, it just wasn't my thing. To much of the main story bugged me. I actually think Defy would be more suited to readers that are new to the fantasy genre or someone that isn't a big fantasy fan. For myself, I'm quite into epic fantasy and like the detail of it.