08/01/2015

Review: Defy {Sara B. Larson}



Written by Sara B. Larson
Amazon | Book Depository 

Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex Hollen uses her skills to earn a spot in the prince's elite guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, a fellow guard and the prince.As Alex is dragged through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and into enemy territory, she realises she is not the only one who has been keeping secrets.With hidden foes around every corner, Alex must decided whether the kingdom she has sworn to protect is one she should fight to save.


 Opening the first page, I expected this to be reminiscent of Mulan – featuring a kick-ass female heroine who fights tooth and nail to save an entire kingdom. I definitely got my kick-ass heroine and even though the tooth and nail part took a back seat to romance, I found myself addicted to the story Larson had created. There was action, suspense and romance, which is everything I could want in a book. 

Alex is a master swordsman (swords-woman?) and I loved the fact that she was not only an amazing fighter, but the best in the prince's guard. Larson really drove home the girl power aspect and I fully appreciated having a fierce and capable heroine who protected and defended her male counterparts, rather than the reverse (which tends to be the fashion in fiction).

As a child, Alex watched her parents burn to death and was forced to hide as a boy to prevent being taken to breeding houses and raped in order to produce soldiers for the king's army. Her tragedies made her a sympathetic heroine who rose above her grief for the good of her kingdom. What could have easily lead to her giving up, turned her into a strong and independent soldier who values loyalty and duty.

When Alex is kidnapped the book really gains pace and suddenly we are introduced to a whole host of side-characters and a story that continues to twist at every corner. There's magic, treachery and a plot to overthrow the tyrannical king that forces Alex to choose between her loyalties to the crown and her own beliefs on what is best for the country.

It's worth noting that there is a semi-love triangle, which is a plot device you all know I detest. However, I thought it was obvious from the start how things would end (with the far more captivating love interest an obvious winner) and, since the triangle aspect was never fully explored, I was happy to gloss over the hints of it.

The only real complaint I have is that I would've liked for the breeding houses to be explored more. I found the idea horrific and intriguing, but it was only mentioned in passing and so was underdeveloped and seemed like a wasted opportunity. I wanted to know why the people would let this happen and how the women were selected. Hopefully these are questions that'll be answered in the next book!

Defy was a riveting and addicting book that combined a captivating romance with a thrilling plot. Though the love story takes centre stage, there's still a fascinating adventure that pumps away in the background, bursting with magic and the fight for a worthy king, with a tough and talented heroine at the helm.

"If I had to do it over again, I would save you every time."

 

Allie has just flown back from Mexico and is already missing waking up to the sound of the ocean. Though this morning she did wake up to the sound of rain, which some might argue is the same thing (it's not). She's comforting herself by eating brownies and trying to embrace the fact that her sun-freckles make her look twelve.
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38 comments:

  1. I'd heard so many negative things about this novel, I just assumed people disliked it, but your positive review paints this novel in new lights and I'm pleased. I might now consider it a little more, thanks Allie :)

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    1. Yeah, I was surprised by how overwhelmingly negative some of the reviews on GR are! It's insane. I can see why people would have issues with it if they expected a full-blown fantasy action. But for me it worked really well as a fantasy romance that had an exciting plot too.

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  2. I have seen some great things about this series, I really need to pick it up!

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    1. I've just bought book two, so I'm excited to see how it continues!

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  3. So although I wish this one wasn't SO romance focused, I can definitely agree that the underlying story is fascinating and full of surprises. And I loved that Alexa was the best of the best! Ignite is even better (if you haven't read it yet) and I am looking forward to the conclusion! Great review!

    Nicole @ The Quiet Concert

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    1. Yeah, a lot of people have been having issues with the romance. I don't know why, because I enjoyed that LOL. I just wish there hadn't been a second love interest, because that put a dampener on it sometimes and made it all seem a bit childish

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  4. ALLIE YOU CONFUSE ME

    I know Jenny always has such good things to say about this series and I've promised her i'd give it a shot and read it and here you're saying good thing about Defy (although I feel like this is very much a mixed book) but urgh semi love triangle *cringes* NOPE. I don't like them. I'm actually getting annoyed now when there's an obvious winner. A lot of times I feel like if there's an obvious winner it just means the author wanted another guy in there to cause useless drama *SIGH*

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    1. But but but but LILYKINS, you know I feel you on the triangle hate. Hear me out there: I don't see this as a triangle because, also, though it's two guys vying for her . . . it's clear from the start who she actually likes. So idk, the fact that two guys were giving her attention and she cared about them both didn't bother me because it was obvious after the first few chapters who was gonna be friend-zoned, so to speak

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  5. HMMMM YOU LIKE?? I might try then. I want to read of strong and independent heroines as well. Love triangles do make me twitch, I'll admit but you hate them even more than me and if you can let it slide then I think I can as well. OH MY GOD, you know what? In the duration that I spent typing those two sentences, I think I just convinced myself that I want this book desperate. Thanks for that.

    Ha. (My wallet says no thanks).

    LOOK AT YOU WITH YOUR BEAUTIFUL REVIEWS, ALWAYS MAKING ME WANT THINGS<3

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    1. I AM AN EVIL GENIUS. Or maybe I'm just evil? Hmmm . . . I'll have to think about that one.

      Give it a go though because I loved it and you love me so LOGIC. That means you must also love it

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  6. Hmm...I'm not quite sure how I'd feel about this. One of my biggest pet peeves is when the romance overpowers the story, so I'm a little iffy to see that happen here. However, I love the sound of the magic and the story itself. Thanks for sharing Allie and, as always, fabulous review! <3

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    1. Yeah, that's normally my big issue too, but for some reason I didn't mind it in this book. Maybe I was very forgiving since I was in Mexico under sunshine and pretty blue skies hehe

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  7. I enjoeyd the romance as well and can't wait for the next one

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    1. My copy of the second book should be coming soon!

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  8. That's great you still liked this book even though it wasn't QUITE what you expected. It doesn't sound like the right fit for me, though.

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    1. Different strokes for different folks :D

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  9. I'm glad you liked this one! I....kinda....did not. But DON'T SPEAR ME. I loved the fact that it was jungly fantasy though. So not enough of those. xD And I loved how tough the main character was, although I felt that once everyone knew she was a girl, they all started protecting her and she got a lot less kickbutt. Which saddens me.

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    1. I wouldn't spear you . . . WHERE IS MY PITCHFORK, DAMMIT?

      Yeah, I did not like the sudden attempts at being all 'protective men' when it's quite clear she can kick their butts. But I also like how she didn't really let herself be saved; she risked her life to save the silly men and showed how fierce she was so YAY

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  10. this book looks great i want to read it :)

    check my blog http://curiousalice21.blogspot.co.uk/

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  11. I had managed to not buy this book for about a month. Now, you have made me want to buy this book, and it is no longer on sale. The struggle is real. I mean, thrilling and romantic? I need! Great review, I will be sure to grab it if it ends up on sale again (or maybe even if it doesn't!)

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    1. My evil powers of persuasion are working mwahaha. I actually have two copies, so if you're interested, I'll happily throw one to you :)

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  12. I'm glad that you enjoyed this one, Allie! Honestly, I wasn't a huge fan of this one because the romance bugged me too much, hah.

    Lovely review, hun! <33

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    1. I guess I'm just a big marshmallow at heart LOL

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  13. Now I'm back to being iffy about the book, read a lot of mixed reviews so I was sure I wasn't going to read it, but positives (haven't read a lot of positive things about it, so that's a change). Kickass female characters who protect the guys? Yeah. That's more like it. The romance taking centre stage would annoy me depending on if I like the characters, but the semi-love triangle wouldn't bother me that much since it's only hinted at. Heard a lot of complaints about the breeding houses, something like that does need to be explored more, and not to just be there as a reason to shock you.

    Eek, you just got back from Mexico? Welcome back to the lovely weather we're having. :(

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    1. Yeah, I think the main thing is that the breeding houses just weren't developed enough. They were simply mentioned in passing and we got no real explanation for how they even came about, or how the people were forced into accepting it. It was an underdeveloped point!

      (Do not even get me started on this weather, man. IT'S DISMAL)

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  14. Hmmph. So you liked it. You're the ONLY person I know who did but at the same time, that actually has me wanting to try to the book. If I spot it at the library....

    It's funny because I would have totally read it if the reviews weren't so bad! I mean kick-ass female lead in a fantasy world. Annoying love triangle aside, it seemed intriguing enough!

    I am glad to see you enjoyed this one, Allie! :)

    Fantastic review, hon!

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

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    1. Yeah, the first page of GR is peppered with bad reviews, but there's quite a few bloggers on my GR who liked it too. So I'm in good company ;) I think the romance being so central was what annoyed people a lot but maybe I was just in a romantic mood when I read it? IDK, but it just didn't bother me for some reason!

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    2. Also: SKYPE. SOON. YOUR FACE. PLEASE.

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  15. Oooh, I've never heard about this book before but after reading your review it sounds like it's so up my street. Great post! I'm definitely gonna check it out :) *adds to TBR*

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    1. I hope you like it! The opinions seem to be really mixed, but, hey, if you like strong leading ladies and some swoon, it should be a good bet!

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  16. I've just added it to my Goodreads shelf to buy a copy soon. I've seen this one around, but never really paid all that much attention to be honest. Not enough to be seeking out reviews at least. This sounds like a cross between Throne of Glass (which I just read and loved) and a little like Legend. I'm completely sold. When you have a book that's so engaging and wonderfully written, you can overlook little tidbits like a love triangle.

    Brilliant review Allie <3 and lovely to see you back!

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    1. I think it's similar to Legend definitely (though I actually didn't like Legend LOL), but also a little like Delirium in some ways, with the romance being a key theme and all. I thought the action was great and the love story was well-integrated, but it seems a lot of folks thing the love story was too prevalent. Different tastes, I suppose! Either way, I really enjoyed this one and am super excited for my copy of book two to arrive.

      It's good to be back m'dear! <3

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  17. I've never read this, but with 4/5 'little birdies' it sounds pretty good. Also, that cover is pretty lush, no?

    Amy;
    Little Moon Elephant

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    1. The cover is gorgeous BUT, man, the cover for the second book is 100 x better. It's INSANELY beautiful

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  18. I've never really thought about picking up this novel until now. I assumed that it was exactly the same as Graceling, but it doesn't look like that at all. Awesome review Allie!

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    1. I've never actually read Graceling (gasp, I know!), but the covers do look very similar! From the GR description I can see similarities, with a prince and a strong female fighter, but I think that's where they end. Both seem like different stories in their own right :)

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  19. Its great review ! i like very much this novel! its sportive more people like this story this positive review its consider thanks to you sharing this novel! best safety institute in chennai|diploma in Industrial safety course in chennai| fire and safety engineering course training chennai|iosh ms course fees in chennai|nebosh safety course in chennaikeep posting!

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