Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: Defy #1
Recommend to Others?: Yes
ABOUT: 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 Review: Wow! This was an explosive first book of a series. Defy was way better than I thought it would be.
Half the story takes place in the kingdom of Antion, a place where sorcery is outlawed and life for women if you are “unattached” for lack of better words. There’s a breeding house and I had to skip over those parts because it was just so gut-wrenching. Disguising herself as a boy and joining the army was the only way Alexa – Alex in disguise – would survive and avoid the awful fate that can befall women.
What I love most about Defy is that nothing and no one is as it/they seem. Alexa is a survivor, an elite fighter among men, loyal to the prince, and nobly serves a cruel kingdom that would destroy her without care. Prince Damian comes off as a spoiled, lazy prince but it’s clear that there is more beneath the facade – a truth I didn’t see coming!
The plot thickens and thickens throughout the story, turning Defy into an engrossing guessing game. Eventually, it grows into an epic climatic battle to save a kingdom and much more.
For the most part, I actually liked the love triangle that’s happening. But I didn’t like how much pressure Damian and Rylan put on Alexa to essentially choose one of them.
I think they fail to fully understand what life has been like for her, the choice she had to make to avoid a fate worse than death and the for certain consequences if anyone found out her secret – all because she is female.
Also, her relationship with one of them doesn’t seem believable on either end as if there’s not enough substance to justify where things end up by the end of the book. So I’m interested in seeing how the romance aspect will develop in book 2, Ignite.
I enjoyed Defy a lot and I think this series has the potential of becoming a favorite of mine.