(Defy, Book One)
By Sara B. Larson
Story Rating: 4 Stars
Performance Rating: 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Happy holidays everyone!! After taking an AWESOME trip to New York City—a.k.a the home of Magnus Bane and our favorite shadowhunters—I took a mini break over Christmas where I did NOTHING. Now I’m back and ready to celebrate the new year!
And what a surprising read! After finishing Red Queen, I needed an emotional break before starting Glass Sword and turned to my Hoopla account for help. I chose this book at random without knowing anything about it, or having heard of it before and was pleasantly surprised! Despite being heavily weighed down with clichés (Love triangle? Falling for a Prince?? Chosen one???) I couldn’t help but be entertained my this!
There’s been a war raging between the nations of Blevon and Antion for years and King Hector is at the center of it. After his wife is murdered by a Blevonese sorcerer, Hector declares all sorcerers as evil and starts a war with Blevon to defend her honor.
Meanwhile, Alexa Hollen has been pretending to be a boy for three years. When her and her twin brother Marcel were 14, their parents were killed by a Blevonese army and a fire wielding sorcerer. To escape and avoid the disgusting breeding houses where orphaned girls are sent, Marcel helps Alexa disguise herself as a boy and they enlist in the royal Antion guard. Luckily, Alexa’s father has taught her to be an excellent sword fighter since she was young, making it easy to prove herself as the best. After King Hector’s son Damian is almost assassinated, Alexa is assigned to guard him 24/7 where she realizes the Prince might not be the spoiled brat he appears.
Unfortunately, Alexa gets thrown for a loop when a Belvonese sorcerer attacks in the dead of night and abducts her, a guard Rylan, and prince Damian. They plan to use the prince as a bargaining chip to stop the endless war that’s been raging and Alexa is itching to make a plan to escape. Except, the prince isn’t really acting distressed like someone who’s been kidnapped… As she gets closer and closer to the prince, Alexa fights to uncover the truth of what’s really going on.
After perusing some of the Goodreads reviews, I was actually surprised to see so many bad ratings. Was this a piece of literary genius? Ummmm, no. But definitely deserving of more than one star, I thought. However, if you go in thinking it’s a Mulan-esque tale of feminist power, you will DEFINITELY be disappointed.
To help, here’s a list of things to know before picking up this book:
- Completely unlike Mulan besides the whole acting-like-a-boy thing.
- This is 100% a romance book with some fantasy and action-y stuff thrown in.
- Definitely geared for the younger side of the teen spectrum.
- Hardcore love triangle vibes vaguely reminiscent of the whole team Edward/team Jacob fiasco of the early 00’s (minus all of the supernatural crap).
- Filled to the brim with tropes including a bratty prince who secretly has a heart of gold, boy who has everything but is silently miserable, best friend who gets friend-zoned and confesses their love, the what-do-I-do-two-beautiful-men-love-me anguish, and many more.
What I’m trying to say is, set your expectations low on this one. I think what really saved me was going into this blind. All I wanted was something cute and easy, which is exactly what I got.
As far as the story goes, I was vaguely annoyed at the love triangle because it felt pointless. We all know who Alexa is going to choose, isn’t there enough going on without it? Plus, the ending was completely frustrating to me. I absolutely HATE IT when characters intentionally push someone away because they think they’re not good enough. It’s a pet peeve of mine. If you love each other, then juST BE TOGETHER! WHAT’S THE PROBLEM??? Luckily there’s two more books after this, so there’s time to fix it. *Looks pointedly at Sara Larson*
Okay, now that we got that out of the way, I really enjoyed Defy! This book made my girly side very happy.
I knew exactly where this story was going the moment we got a description of the “devastatingly handsome” Prince Damian and I fought against it so hard for a while. I mean, really?? Forbidden love with a handsome prince??? Really????
But DAMMIT, I am such a sucker for forbidden love and teen angst. Despite fighting against this book in the beginning, Damian is so cute I ended up throwing in the towel halfway through. His character was designed to be swoon worthy and I’ll admit it, I swooned. Alexa’s character was really fun too! I loved that she’s a girl who can kick butt. Plus, her sense of humor and temperament were completely relatable to me.
And the setting was really interesting too! The kingdom of Antion sounds like it’s shrouded in rain forest, which was an interesting contrast to the classic, old-world sophistication of the castle. It provided a colorful backdrop to the story that I really appreciated.
Also can’t forget to mention Rebecca Mozo’s narration, which was wonderful! I don’t know where she’s from, but she spoke the whole story in an English accent that sounded legit to my American ears. But then at the very end when Mozo read the credits she sounded American and it blew my mind!!! Either way, she sounded amazing and gave a great perfomance.
If you’re looking for something fun and romantic then definitely give this book a try! I really liked it and can’t wait for the next one!!
TALK TO ME
Have you read this book before? What did you think??
Anyone doing anything crazy for New Years?
Is it time to break into song yet? LET’S GET DOWN TO BUSINESS!! TO DEAFEAT. THE HUNSSSSSS.