Author: Sara B. Larson
Publisher: Scholastic Press
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.
Defy is a wonderful book, but not for the reasons that one might think. Though the main protagonist, (and no...that is not a type-o, there are more than one) in this read is a girl fighter leading a double life as a boy, Alex/Alexa; the real meat of the story lies in unraveling the delicious mysteries that swirl around Prince Damian.
This book's author does a wonderful job in twisting reader's loyalties during the course of this read.
Especially, where the prince is concerned. She also builds both suspense and interest in her characters by revealing their secrets slowly. Although, in the case of Alex/Alexa, the secret of her being a girl was out to those that mattered long before the big reveal in the book.
This is also where my problem with Alexa started. She is fine until she learns that the prince and long time friend and fellow guard Rylan, know her secret. Once everything is on the table so to speak, there is a marked change in Alexa; from self assured fierce warrior to swooning dithering school girl.
Luckily for readers, there is plenty of action, magic, and intrigue to more than male up for the lapses into the land of the love addled teen.
Back to the good stuff.
The ending had to be the best part. Yes, this is one of those!
The best thing about it is that it is open ended; there is plenty of room for all of the questions raised at this book's end to be answered in later installments.
This is an awesome adventure and a great start to a series!