Defy (Defy Series #1)

Defy (Defy Series #1)

by Sara B. Larson


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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 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?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780545597586
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 01/07/2014
Series: Defy Series , #1
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 595,926
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile: 790L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Sara B. Larson is the author of the acclaimed young adult fantasy Defy trilogy: Defy, Ignite, and Endure; and Dark Breaks the Dawn, the first book of a duology. She can't remember a time when she didn't write books — although she now uses a computer instead of a Little Mermaid notebook. Sara lives in Utah with her husband and their children. When she's not mothering or writing, you can often find her at the gym repenting of her sugar addiction. You can visit her online at

Read an Excerpt

"Have you ever heard the theory that it is better for one man to die, than an entire nation to suffer? Do you believe that to be true? Is it ever okay to take a life in hopes of saving others?" Prince Damian took a step closer to me, so that I had to tip my head back farther to keep looking up into his eyes. I'd never felt so aware of just how tall he was before.
"I think so." I didn't know what to do with him standing so close — close enough that I could feel the heat from his body. My heart beat erratically and my fingers tingled for some reason. I forced my face to remain impassive. I drew on all of my training, all of the practice I'd had over the years pretending to be a boy, to maintain my composure. With a much steadier, lower voice, I said, "Who's life are you thinking of taking?"
"Don't do that with me," he replied, staring down at me with a look of almost hunger on his face. "We're too much alike to pretend with each other. At least when we're alone, let's be who we truly are." The intensity of his gaze nearly made me tremble.
No one knew me as I truly was, except for Marcel, and he was gone.
But here was Damian, the strikingly handsome, sometimes capricious, sometimes gentle Prince of Antion, asking me to allow him past the guise I'd been holding up to the world since my parents died. How could I do that when all I had done for so long was train to guard him — and make sure he never realized that deep down inside, buried where no one could see, his best fighter was actually just a frightened girl?

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Defy 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 118 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge fantasy fan so when I saw this book on Netgalley I jumped at the chance to get it. I mean it has a girl disguised as a boy who is an expert swordsman! And there's magic! Unfortunately while I liked it I didn't love it as I had expected.  I liked: The Romance: Although it's hinted to having a love triangle there really isn't one. Alexa knows who she wants. While in the beginning she feels a little attraction to Rylan it's really Damian she loves. I loved that she wasn't wishy-washy about it because that would have gotten old fast. The chemistry between Damian and Alexa is really great and I loved reading their scenes together.  Alexa: I found it cool that she was so great at fighting and undefeatable. That isn't something we see in female characters alot. Although I would have liked more character development. I still enjoyed her character.  The Magic: Although there isn't that much magic in the book, I still enjoyed reading about it. I love books with magic in them so reading about the sorcerers in this book was pretty neat.  I Wish The Book Had More Of: World Building: Right off the bat we're thrust into Alexa's problem of keeping her true identity a secret but we aren't told much about the world she lives in. I know there's a war going on and sorcerers are considered evil but that's about it. I would have liked more worldbuilding to help me envision the story.  Character Development: I kind of felt like I started the book in the middle of it. Seeing as this was the first book in the series I felt like there should of been more pages filled with character backstories and their relationships. For instance Alexa has a twin, Marcel who meets a tragic death but I wasn't all that attached to Marcel because he was in the book so briefly. I think some more scenes with them together would have helped. Also, Rylan the second love interest fell a little flat for me. Again if there would have been more scenes of he and Alexa maybe I would have liked the love triangle more.  Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was a good debut and had great romance. I'm not sure if I'll read the next book in the series but nonetheless I liked this first book. By far my favorite aspect was the romance in this book. Other than that I'd say this book was lacking some things. I just felt like the balance between romance and fantasy was off. Although I liked the romance some more fantasy elements would have made the book better. 
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Defy by Sara B. Larson Book One of the Defy series Publisher: Scholastic Publication Date: January 7, 2014 Rating: 4 stars Source: ARC sent by the publisher Summary (from Goodreads): 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? What I Liked: When I opened this book, I experienced some intense feelings of dread, to be completely honest. You know when you've been waiting to read a book for so long, and when you finally get your hands on it, you're like, oh no, I hope it's amazing! Like, my expectations for this book were so so so high, and when I finally got an ARC, I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it, because I didn't want to be disappointed! Does that make sense? I hope it does. Well, anyway, clearly I was NOT disappointed - thank goodness! I really enjoyed this book, and I'm glad I didn't panic or chicken out or anything. I was so afraid that I would not like this book for some reason or the other - after waiting so long and being so excited for so long, doubt can do that to a person.  Fantasy is my favorite genre, and Larson does this genre justice. Alexa is pretending to be "Alex" a male teenager and fighter, personal guard to the prince. Things aren't going horribly for Alex - everyone is convinced that she is a male, and she is a really, really good swordsman. But all of that changes when whispers of sorcerers start to go around, and the war becomes reality. Suddenly, Alexa finds herself captured, along with Rylan (her best guard friend), and Damien (the prince). But both Rylan and the prince have kept things from her - the prince especially. The prince is not the aloof, arrogant man he seems to be, and both he and Rylan know more than they let on. The prince has everyone caught in his web, to take down his father, the king. Most fantasy novels involve a war, a tyrant, a handsome prince, and so on, so I expected all of that. What made this novel unique is many things - all of the betrayal, Alexa's real being, the rawness of the writing style... let me tell you, the writing style is AMAZING. I don't know how to describe how I feel about it, but Larson has a way with words, literally. Like, there are some scenes that you can just FEEL the pain, sorrow, agony, indecision, and so on. That really resonated with me in this particular book, more so than most books.  I liked Alexa! I think she is a great heroine. She's brave, determined, intelligent - and yet she is still scared, unsure, and flawed. She is perfectly imperfect, and I like this about her. I feel like she and I would get along well - or at least, I can hope! The love triangle... yes, you read that correctly. I HATE love triangles - I'll be the first one to tell you that I'm NOT reading a book or series if it has a really intense love triangle in it. This book does have a love triangle, but I really, really like how it comes about. You KNOW who the two males are, but it seems like the love triangle is a natural part of the story. It just fits really nicely in there. And what I really liked about the romance? It really was NOT at the forefront of the story. Like, there weren't situations in the book - or the climax, for that matter - in which decisions were based on emotions or feelings for the other. I just like how the romance was not the driving plot of the story - the war/deception/assassination plot was the main plot. And did I mention magic and evil sorcerers and secret sorcerers and crazy murders? No? Well, you 'll just have to read the book... Overall, I was quite pleased with how much I enjoyed this book. No need to be scared, I tell you. I'm so happy I had the chance to read Defy - thank you, Scholastic! What I Did Not Like: There were some little things that bothered me. For one, the language. In most fantasy novels - medieval fantasy, if you don't mind - the language is kind of "old", or medieval. I'm not saying that the characters should be speaking with "thee", "thou", etc., but in this novel, I feel like there are a lot of modern-day speak. Too many phrases jumped out at me as modern - and therefore, anachronistic.  Oh, and I'm not a fan of Rylan. It has nothing to do with the romance. I just think he's kind of child. But that's it. Would I Recommend It: HIGHLY! Meaning - I highly recommend this novel! You like fantasy? Definitely read it. Not a fan of fantasy? Read it anyway. I have a feeling that all kind of readers will enjoy this book - readers who like any genre. And don't be discouraged by the mention of a love triangle! I hate love triangles, but this one seemed very natural. Just read the book, okay? Rating: 4 stars. This fantasy novel definitely does not disappoint! Don't miss it for anything!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting plot, not an extremely great delivery. Some parts of the story felt rushed, and character development was poor. There was no world building and mostly it was a book that just left me feeling 'meh'.
WorldsCollide More than 1 year ago
Absolutely amazing! Defy was a brilliant YA fantasy. It was thrilling, romantic, and full of surprises and secrets. And, I loved every bit of it! It was absolute perfection and I can't wait to see what's coming next. The world building and the setting were brilliantly done. Throughout the book, I felt as if I was in that vivid, gorgeous setting, whether it was in the splendor of the king's castle, or in the middle of the jungle. I really loved that aspect of this book. Alexa was a very strong heroine. She survived through a very traumatic loss of her parents and made herself into a truly formidable opponent. She was very loyal to those she cared about and what she believed in. My only issue with her is a decision she made at the end that made me want to scream, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she will rethink that decision in the next book. As a character, I thought she was wonderful. I really liked her. Prince Damien was amazing. At first, he seemed shallow and petty and not very likable. But, as the book went on, he revealed who he truly was and explained why he acted the way he did. It wasn't long before I totally adored him. He was strong and sweet and very devoted to his people. He was very clever and definitely a worthy ruler. In regards to this love triangle, I'm totally for him. He was just completely perfect. Rylan was love interest #2 and I really liked him as well. He was very sweet and loyal to Alexa. He was absolutely wonderful as well and I hope he gets a happy ending as well. The romance was very sweet. Who was it with? I won't say. But, I will say that I thought he and Alexa were so sweet together and I hope they find a way to be together. The potential for the other guy was there, but it was pretty clear where Alexa's heart lay during this book. Honestly, I adored both guys and I want both of them to be happy. But, we'll see how it goes. The plot was fast paced and I was hooked the entire way through. I was worried that the story would devolve into a petty love triangle once Alexa's gender was revealed, but it turned out that I didn't have to worry. The fight for the kingdom, the secrets that hid the truth, the action and thrills and surprises all had me on the edge of my seat. Rather than being front and center, the romance was woven in between the action to add a little more interest to the story and I thought that was very well done. I really enjoyed the story and the ending tied a few loose ends, while leaving a few open for the next book. I can't wait to get my hands on book 2. I need to find out what happens next! Defy was a brilliant, fantastic, absolutely magnificent YA fantasy. It had action, thrills, secrets, romance and it was all wonderful. I loved every bit of it! Lovers of YA romance, you HAVE to read this book! *I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I truly thought I would not finish this book. Latly so many books are beyond similar it's just boring, this takes a good genera of books and truly gives you a plot you will LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. It catapults you right into a new world yet the author explains it beautifully so you know exatly what is going on at all times. It made me laugh so hard but also make me withold tears becuse I was in class at the time. The plot has so many layers, and yes a love triangle but it isn't so full of lies that it makes you shake the book yelling "TELL THE GUY THE TRUTH AREADY!" Inconclusion I love this book.
A_Moustache_Bookshelf More than 1 year ago
*****This review also appear on***** Let's all take a moment and appreciate this piece of choco...I mean masterpiece. In Defy, Alexa, the main protagonist, and her twin brother Marcel are witnesses of their parents' death. Knowing that every female orphan has to be taken to the breeding house, Marcel decides to cut his sister's hair off and convince her to pretend to be his twin brother. That way, they both  enter the royal army. Year after year, Alexa, who is now Alex, trains and become the best swordsman of the kingdom. Let's be straight, in three words: A-MA-ZING! I read this book in two days (I would have finished it in one if I hadn't so many things to do) and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!! The characters, the plot, everything! I laughed, I cried, I got angry and happy. It's well written and the author encompasses really well the characters' feelings. Also, themes were well exploited. This book reminds me of Mulan, sort of: a strong and independent girl who disguises herself into a boy and enter the army. However, the story is unique, the characters lovable and there is this little thing that makes you want more. I heard a lot of different opinions about Defy and I hesitate at first, but, thanks God, I gave it a try. So far, it is the best decision of my life.  There are some little things that I disliked at some moments. One of them was the romance. Sometimes, I was just annoyed that the protagonist kept on 'fantasizing' about the prince when it was clearly NOT the moment to do so! The second thing was the world. Let me explain myself. During my reading, I had to imagine what their world or land looked like most of the time. It's not a problem for me considering that I prefer having my own unique little world but still There was no real descriptions for it. And last thing that I slightly disliked was that you don't know much about the other characters except for the evil king, the handsome prince and the strong girl. I mean I got really attached to Rylan.  However all those three things didn't made me liking less (does it make sense?) this high fantasy novel. It was an epic read and Sara's writing was amazing. If you are a fan of Glass of Thrones, Mulan and all those kind of books or movies, and you haven't read this awesome book yet, I highly recommend you to get yourself a copy!
ABookVacation More than 1 year ago
If you're a fan of Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass series and/or Mulan, then you will definitely enjoy this novel. There are many similarities to both--magic, a sexy prince, an evil empire, the best fighter in all the land is female (unbeknownst to many), and I'm sure the list goes on. Some may say there are too many similarities, and yes, it crossed my mind as I was reading, however, it is vastly different as well, and I just love the idea behind it. It's very well written; you can't help but fall in love with the characters and their plight, and the story itself is intriguing. So, even if you're a little worried that it will be too similar to Sarah J. Maas, I suggest you read it anyway, because it's epic. Alexa, or Alex, as it were, is my favorite. She’s a strong female lead stuck perpetrating a male in an empire that would otherwise cast her to the breeding house. Forced to hide her identity in order to survive, she has become the top fighter on the prince’s guard. Those loath to protect the empire that took everything from her, her fierce loyalty to her twin brother and those she’s friended on the guard make her a fierce defender of the crown, if nothing more than to protect her friends and family in protecting the prince. As the story unfolds, we learn much about Alexa and her life in the guard, but the novel really takes off when the resistance comes to capture the prince. Captured and taken far from their country, it quickly becomes seen that not all is what it seems, and Alexa is not the only one with a secret. There is a bit of a love triangle in this novel, but this one is not overbearing, for which I was very thankful. While I was afraid it would take over the novel, it’s more on the sidelines as Alexa, Ryland, and Damien attempt to figure out how much they can trust one another and those who have kidnapped them. Truthfully, I thought the characterization was superb, and the story itself was action packed, keeping me glued to the pages. There were many fight sequences that helped spur the reader on, but just enough romance to also keep it interesting. I really enjoy this novel, and can’t wait for the sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitely save your money. This is one of the worst young adult fantasy novels I have read. A cheesy romance, no characters I could really care about and the promise of the plot drowned in melodramatic love stories.
Mythicalreader More than 1 year ago
Fantastic adventure and story plot. Reading the second book and hoping to read more in the future by this author. 
PiecesofWhimsy More than 1 year ago
2.5/5 Stars I had really high hopes for this story because, as you probably know, I absolutely adore all things fantasy. Though I'd seen mixed reviews, the synopsis sounded really good and I held out hope that this would be another epic fantasy series. Unfortunately, I just didn't feel that was the case. The characters were average, they all had the standard backstories you'd expect with nothing really interesting to separate them from everything else out there. I didn't feel any real connection with any of the characters, they were just lacking some deeper, fundamental thing and their wasn't anything I could empathise or relate to in the characters. The "love triangle" was also poorly done. I knew it was coming because the synopsis tells of the "thrilling love triangle". It wasn't. I'm not a huge fan of love triangles to begin with, they have to be done really well for me to enjoy them, and sadly this love triangle had me moaning with despair. When she discovered two men were in love with her, the main character lost whatever adventurous spirit she had and became absolutely ridiculous. It didn't help that I felt nothing for either of the suitors and couldn't care less who she ended up with. I was really disappointed with how childish and silly the whole thing was - hello, there's a war going on! I think that's a bigger issue than who you wanna make out with! Another thing I really had a problem with was the breeding houses. I like my fantasy books to have dark, twisted elements but this felt like it was just thrown in to further the plot. We only saw it once I can't believe that there was no one willing to fight to save the children! It really wasn't something that needed to be in the story. This book had an interesting story and it could've done so much better. I wish I had enjoyed it more but every time I tried overlooking something, something else would pop up and have me shaking my head. I know some people really enjoyed this book but I just couldn't get into it. *I received a copy of this book free in exchange for my honest review*
BookLoversLife1 More than 1 year ago
When Alexas parents are murdered, herself and her brother know that the only way she will survive is to pretend to be a boy. If she is found she will be forced to go to the breeding house. and that's something she would rather die than do so she dresses and acts like a boy. Both Alexa , now Alex, and her brother join the Kings army and through skill alone she manages to become one of the Princes personal guard.  She is the toughest and best fighter the army has but when a sorcerer comes to the castle she is out maned. and Alex, Rylan and Prince Damian are captured and taken prisoner. During the deadly trek through the jungle all is not as it seems.  I was really hesitant to read this because of the dreaded love triangle. I hate them!! After seeing a lot of great reviews though I caved and read it. I am so so glad I did. I absolutely loved it!!! Alexa is such a kick ass character. She is the toughest fighter in the army and no one can beat her with a sword. She is tough, strong and loyal but also kind, caring and dedicated. She is the kind of character where you start reading and immediately love. Her parents are killed and instead of hiding she makes herself indispensable to the Prince.  She has been pretending to be a boy for years but is also hiding the crush she has on her fellow guard and friend Rylan. He is kind, caring and seems to be perfect for her but she cant show him her feelings because to him she is a boy. Then when they are kidnapped she finds herself having feelings towards Prince Damian. Where did these feelings come from and who should she choose? Rylan is strong, kind, sweet and loves Alexa. He promises her brother he will look out for her and he does every step of the way. He knows her secret but still treats her like an equal.  Then we have Prince Damian who at first comes across as an arrogant and spoilt brat but as the story progresses we see the other side of him and its a side I much prefer. He carries a lot of secrets that slowly unravel and he is more than he seems. He is strong, kind and loves his people and land. His father is a tyrant and Damian has to do what he can to try to survive. He confides some things to Alexa and they become friends. I loved how his relationship with Alexa progressed. It was a slow burner but so sweet and nice.  Overall Defy was an epic story filled with strong characters who will capture your heart. The world the author has created is magical, suspenseful, heartbreaking and captivating. Its filled with secrets, twists, lovable characters and a story that will have you wanting more. When I started Defy I found it really hard to put down and I was constantly wondering what would happen next. This is a story that will stay with me and I'm eagerly awaiting more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a painful read. An unlikeable heroine, bad character building, a predictable love triangle of awful, topped off with clunky writing. It's not worth the money or time spent reading.
jacobblackfan More than 1 year ago
this book was amazing. At first i thought that Alex the perfect girl, or should I say "boy" everyone wanted her to be but after her twins death the author revealed that their was more to this all perfect character.... I loved the triangle, but I wished the author would have given Rylan more of a chance. it was like her choice was made about the two guys before the book even started. I also got very emotional at times, when people I liked were killed off. most of all I loved the fact that you learned new mysterious secrets about Damian every turn of the page, it was fun waiting to learn something new about him. I was often surprised. I wish there was a second book.
KatsNook More than 1 year ago
I LOVED Defy!! Author Sara B. Larson does an incredible job of creating a fantasy story with all the elements that I love – mystery, action, swoon worthy characters, and the battle between good vs evil.  This fantasy story reminded me of The Game of Thrones, which I am a HUGE fan of!!   Alex/Alexa is forced to pretend to be a boy in the Prince’s guard.  Even though she has to maintain a strong and masculine mask to everyone, the author allowed us to see the softer side. As a guard she was loyal to her Prince but internally struggles with her disapproval of the King’s treatment of the people. Alex is a strong female character which I always love seeing in a young adult novel.  She’s been pretending to be a boy for so many years, Alex is now dealing with her teenage hormones and realizes her attraction to the men in her life, Prince Damian and fellow guard Rylan.   But we discover that they also have some secrets, that are just as shocking as Alex’s secret.  A love triangle develops and I can’t decide who I like best for Alex.  Both men are handsome and caring, and I couldn’t help but also cheer for both of them.  I thought the writing was flawless and this is an impressive debut. My only complaint is that I wished the synopsis did not reveal so much of the story.  As I started reading Defy I couldn’t help but wonder when the trio will finally be held captive – so the synopsis did spoil the story for me.  But I still LOVED this book and I can’t wait to read the next book!!  I highly recommend this book to all fantasy fans!
Reading-is-My-Treasure More than 1 year ago
Defy surprised me. I had mixed expectations of it, but it turned out to be really good! I saw more good in it than bad, and I wouldn't mind reading the next book in the series. SECRETS, LIES, DISGUISES, OH MY Everybody seems to have a secret in this book. Nothing is as it seems—everything from a tapestry to a whole kingdom. There are hidden identities and surprising relations and secret plans throughout the entire book. Deception is key. It's one of the biggest elements of the story, and it kept things pretty interesting. I found it fun to uncover secret after secret kept by the characters. Most of them surprised me. THE HEROINE Alex (or Alexa) was an awesome heroine! She was strong from the very start, but I thought she became even stronger by the end of the book. I really liked her personality—headstrong and loyal—as well as her journey to finally accepting her true identity. I thought many of the things she went through and many of the new feelings she was feeling (i.e. the romantic ones) were necessary for her development and changes throughout the book. THE ROMANCE I know some of you may be worried about the romance in this book. You may have heard it's an insta-love, but I didn't think the romance was that insta-love-y. The romance just worked for me. It didn't wow me, but I did really like Alex and Damien together. I saw their chemistry from early on and starting rooting for them, and when they finally starting acting on their feelings, it didn't feel off or too quick for me. As for the triangle . . . to me, it wasn't a huge one (I'm not very good at sensing when they're really big parts of the story, though). Sure, there are two guys with feelings for the main character, but I only saw Alex have a true romantic connection with one of them. I will warn you, though: the romance seems to be the biggest issue other readers have with this book. I liked it, but I may be in the minority. THE WORLD I saw hardly world building happening. It would've been really nice to learn more about the world/setting the characters were in, and I especially would've liked to see more background on the war going on. I didn't know much about it. OVERALL Defy is a great book. My only big complaint is about the world building, but other than that, everything about the book worked for me! I really liked the characters and the secrets they held. I really liked the message I caught about accepting our true identities under all the false fronts we put on to make others believe we're different people, and I always find it neat to gather an important message through a book. I really liked how surprising the book was—I was a little wary of it before I started reading, but I quickly abandoned that wariness as I got more and more into the story. Do I recommend reading it? Yes. I really do. Source: I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in return for an honest review.
ToManyBooksNotEnoughTime More than 1 year ago
Overly-Hyped but Still Entertaining I would like to thank both NetGalley and Scholastic for granting me the chance to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. Though I received the e-book for free that in no way influences this review. 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? The story opens with 14-year old twins Marcel and Alexa staring at the remains of their burning house and the bodies of their parents on the ground in front of them. Their parents had been killed by sorcerer's fire, possibly the only thing that could have killed their father, the best fighter they'd ever witnessed. Though the Antionian army finally arrived to scare off the attackers from Blevon, it was far too late to do the twins any good. In fact, without Marcel's quick thinking things could have gone from horrific to utterly atrocious in the blink of an eye. For Antion has a corrupt king who commits atrocities hourly, all in the name of protecting Antion. Any and all orphans and captured 'slaves' (even Antionians if they can't prove they are loyal to Antion, or are simply too poor to pay off the right people) end up in one of two places, regardless of age: the military if they are male, or the breeding pens if they are female. Before the Antion Army is within clear sight of their village's survivors Marcel cuts off Alexa's waist-length hair, her one vanity and the only visible way to tell the twins apart. Suddenly she becomes Alex, one half of a pair of twin brothers. Luckily she had been allowed to train alongside her brother in both weapons and fighting their entire lives, and in fact was the better fighter of the two. Being so close Marcel never minded, for as he often reminded Alexa, she may have gotten the fighting skills but he got the smarts, something she never denied. Thus the two end up in the army, rapidly advancing until they become part of Prince Damian's personal guard. Three years later after their 'rescue' Marcel falls to an attackers arrow in the jungle. Alex is selected by the King Hector to sleep in the Prince's antechamber to better guard him. Though disgusted by the assignment Alex always puts duty first, even if it means risking her life for a vain, spoiled brat of a Prince. But secrets have a way of coming out. . . and the Prince is not what he seems. After another attack on the Prince's life he sends Alex on a secret mission, during which she is healed by a sorceress, confusing Alex to no end since her entire life she has been taught that sorcerers are evil. Much of the story focuses on Alexa and her challenges. Pretending to be a boy, losing her twin brother, how she will protect her secret without her brother as a roomie and lookout, learning to smother her attraction to two men in her life - Rylan, a fellow guard member, and Prince Damian, the man with more secrets than a Gordian knot. Also a fair part of the story is about how she learns to handle being lied to or having the truth excluded - often without thinking about the massive lie she is living. It is clear to all that she loves fighting, it almost seems that is what she was born to do. This story is chock full of secrets, scandals, and lies. The challenge is figuring out who holds the secrets, who knows of the scandals, and separating truth from lies. Alex is not the only one hiding dangerous secrets and concealing a possibly deadly past. Nor is Prince Damian. It would seem that they are surrounded on all sides by people they must trust their very lives with, all the while knowing that there is more than one traitor in their midst, just not who the traitors are or when they'll strike. If Prince Damian's risky alliance and dangerous plot succeed will Alexa be able to follow her heart, or will she be trapped in a cage of her own making?
JackieBCentralTexasJB More than 1 year ago
Read on December 27, 2013 Book Info  Kindle Edition, 336 pages Expected publication: January 7th 2014 by Scholastic Press original title Defy ASIN B00ED05G9S edition language English series Defy #1 other editions (1) Source:Netgalley EARC Book Buy Links AMAZON  B&N  BOOK SYNOPSIS 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? My Thoughts In the past year there has been a steady stream of books come to my attention that have all utilized this same scenario of a girl who is pretending to be a boy, a girl who outfights all the other males around her and when her gender is revealed she finds to her surprise that she has managed to have not just her “fellow” guardsman fall in love with her but also the crown prince that she has been guarding for the past year and more. Alexa is very much like the other females masquerading as males in previous books however she manages to win the readers affection through her sheer determination to do the right thing no matter the cost to herself. This is a great introductory novel for a new series, it is well paced, has a familiar plot with just enough differences to give it a punch that allows the characters and world building to stand out on their own merits and most of all it allows us to root for good prevailing against evil which always makes for an excellent tension builder. Be prepared to suspend disbelief more often than not, Alex is after all going through changes that anyone looking too closely would be able to recognize “him” as being female not male but for the sake of the story it works when you understand that we truly do “see what we want” when we are told something is true for a long period of time. Personally this hit all the right buttons for me with the world with which it was set, the struggle between the need to stay unmasked as a female that Alexa has to contend with for years, the secrets that Prince Damien conceals until near the end when he reveals all during the final battle for the kingdom he wishes to save from his father’s tyrannical rule and most of all the choices faced by the Prince/Alexa and Rylan as their desire to act on their feelings causes conflicting emotions from the reader who is torn trying to choose who is the best fit for whom. Very much a likeable main character and a tale that trips along nicely from start to finish. Looking forward to what happens next since at the end good triumphs over evil! [EArc from Netgalley in exchange for honest review]
Anonymous 5 months ago
Anonymous 6 months ago
This is the book that go me into Sara B. Larson and it does not disappoint! I highly recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was amazing. It is totally a book i would read again. I would definatly recomend to book to anyone, but especially to teenagers. It has a wide vocabulary...perfect for book reports in school along with learning new words. The romance is great. The relationship is not to hasty and the decitions she has to make for the war are thrilling....this is definatly my favorite book by far.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Courtney_Elena More than 1 year ago
Review Found: The synopsis of this book immediately caught my attention. I am a sucker for the protagonist hiding their true selves to survive trope. The author did a good job at conveying this trope and the circumstances that lead Alexa to hide her true identity. I fell in love with this book from the very beginning. The book was just so beautifully written that it left me eagerly anticipating what will happen in in the rest of the series. One of the most striking aspects of this book was just how eloquent Larson's writing style is. I would often find myself re-reading passages, not because I was confused, but because of how vivid and powerful the passage was. Larson's truly has a poignant way of writing about a difficult subject matter that is both beautiful and impactful for the reader The author's writing style also lent itself to the creation of a beautiful world. Larson created an amazing and vivid world that the reader could easily visualize. She really hit the sweet spot when it came to world-building; it never felt lacking nor did it ever feel like the descriptions were overdone, as can be the case with some fantasy novels. The only negative I had for this novel was the love triangle. I personally am not a fan of love triangles, however, I do recognize that there are cases where they can be executed well, but for me, this was not one of them. The love triangle felt cheesy, forced, and altogether unnecessary to the plot. Moreover, the triangle didn't even feel like a true love triangle. It was pretty apparent to both the main character and the reader who she would end up with, there was never a real inner struggle as to who she would choose, instead, it was more of an unrequited love situation than a true love triangle. For those who either, love a cheesy romance or can look past it, this book would be a good choice. There are so many good things about this novel, that I was able to look past the cheesy love interest and enjoy it for everything else it brought to the table.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a good book overall but at time it was a little confusing and unclear
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
See headline.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago