Saturday, December 21, 2013

Defy (Defy #1) by: Sara B. Larson {ARC Review + Giveaway}

Title: Defy (Defy #1)
Author: Sara B. Larson
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Adventure, Romance
Recommended for Fans Of: Suzanne Collins, Tamora Pierce
Publication Date: January 7th, 2014
Source: Scholastic for review
Format: Physical ARC

Synopsis: No one knows Alex's secret. Everyone believes him to be the strongest fighter, the prince's most trusted guard, and the most fearless warrior. But what people don't know is that Alex, is really a girl. Orphaned and alone with her twin brother Marcel, Alexa has been disguised as a boy and trained like a male since the day her parents perished in a battle of evil magic against warring nations. Now at the age of 16, Alexa will do anything to keep her identity a secret, while she finds herself falling for two boys she never thought she'd fall for- both of whom she would DIE for.

Review: First off, a HUGE thank you to Sheila over at Scholastic for sending me this ARC for review. The first thing that came to my mind when I heard about Defy was MULAN. A girl dresses up as a guy in order to fight, and then falls in love. But it's not just the uncanny resemblance to Mulan that makes Defy stand out.

Characters: Alexa is super cool. She's a warrior, she's tough, she's a fighter. I come from a taekwondo background, with training in martial arts, and I know just how difficult it is to obtain that skill, or even the desire to keep on training. And to see her as such a strong and ruthless heroine was ultra cool. One of the things I loved the most about Sara's characters was the undeniable loyalty in the prince's guards. They were willing to die for each other, and defend each other at all costs. Fierce loyalty is one of the things I love to see most in a book.

Romance: So Defy has a love triangle. It's been quite a while since I've read any book with a love triangle, and at first I was like this:
Because most of the guards believe Alexa is a boy, and so does Prince Damian, the thoughts Alexa was having about Damian and Rylan just felt so... uncomfortable because she disguised as a BOY. And then she went on to say that Damian and Rylan looked at "Alex" a certain way, and made me really squirmish.

After a while, I thought the love aspect was getting better. But then Alexa started falling for the guy I didn't want her to end up with. For a reader to judge the romance, I think it is up to him/her to decide which person they want Alexa to end up with. Because I wanted Alexa to be in a relationship with the other boy, I didn't really enjoy the romance.

Writing: It's a little but tough for me to describe Sara's writing. While there were some great use of vocabulary and sensory words to describe their kingdom and land, I felt really removed from all the characters. One of the reasons Defy is a 3.5 book for me is because I couldn't really connect to any of the characters. I couldn't feel Alexa's pain, OR Damian and Rylan's love for Alexa. However, I applaud Sara for writing in a style where I could actually picture the place they lived, the place they fought, and the jungles that surrounded the land, and I really loved that.

Ending: The beginning of Defy held a lot of potential. The middle started to lose a lot of it. The end, though, was perfect. It literally brought tears to my eyes, and I can't think of a better way the ending could have been written. I loved it, and if you stick around until the end of Defy, I think you'll love it too.

Conclusion: Although Defy had some flaws, it is still a book that you don't want to miss. Defy tells a story of passion, excitement, and the valiance of a nation of fighters.

Guys, I'm giving away an ARC of Defy! Tis the season to be jolly and all, right? *winks*
Rules of Entry:
1) US ONLY (unfortunately, I am not made out of money, sorry)
2) You have 48 hours to respond to my email, or I will be forced to pick a new winner.
4) The ARC will be sent out at MY discretion, so I apologize in advance if it takes me some time to send it to you!
*oh, and the giveaway must have more than 100 entries for a winner to be drawn. Sorry, rules of entry!*

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This sounds totally Mulan-esque and like something I would enjoy. Give me a kick-ass female character any time, and I'm hooked. Yikes, if/when I read the book I hope I like the right guy because romance is a big selling point in my taste, so if I start to no like it...that could be a problem. Another thing that tends to steer me away from books is if I don't feel any connection with the characters, so I hope it isn't a deal-breaker for me. Thanks for the heads-up about the middle and ending, because I often drop a book if the middle is slow.

  2. AHHHH! MULAN! I LOVE THAT MOVIE! (It's literally the only Disney a channel movie I liked!) so I'm super excited to check this one out!
    For me at times it's super hard to overlook a bad romance. Especially when love triangles are involved! I'm always so biased! I defenitly hope that I end up liking the right guy! Lol!
    SOOOOO excited to rea this book! I love reading about books where the girl disguises herself as a boy. (*cough, cough* The Burning Sky) if you've yet to read it... You should!!!)
    Anyhow great review! I NEED this book! :-)

  3. This sounds so much like Mulan!! Haha I'm sure is awkward for you it read about her thinking of boys when she's dressing as one!! Lol. Sounds like an interesting read! So thanks for the chance to win a copy :)

  4. Any story of romance and hiding as a girl that brings tears to your eyes at the end but really be interesting. sounds like you did a good honest review of the story

  5. I'm a huge fan of Mulan so this book seems really interesting!!! :D Thanks for having this giveaway (:

  6. Oh my god, this book sounds marvelous. I love the Mulan similarities. Plus, fantasy is my genre and I've been hearing such amazing things about this book. I don't think the love triangle while she's disguised as a boy will bother me, because I love the idea of these boys having potential sexual identity issues and then possibly just accepting it b/c that's awesome. Can't wait to read it!

  7. This so sounds like a story i'LL READ! I love when girls pretend to be guys and then we have that whole issue of guys liking her but they think she's a guy! LOVE IT! I am def going to buy this if I don't win

  8. This actually reminds me of the Song of the Lioness series, but I can see Mulan since you pointed it out. I definitely want to read this one.

  9. I liked this one! The romance worked a whole lot better for me because I rooted for the one you weren't. I didn't even see the other one as that much of a love interest (probably because I wanted her with the other one way more). Great review. :) This one reminded me a lot of Mulan as well.

  10. I really can't wait for this to get published! I've already added to my Good Reads shelf!

  11. I preordered Defy and can't wait to read it.

  12. I've read a few reviews for this book that were overall mixed. I'm still interested in the premise.

  13. I have this on my To Read list. The love triangle thing is never my favorite, especially if they think she is a boy. Because what is THAT supposed to mean?!

  14. I have been reluctant to read this novel for a reason. I am not a big fan of love triangles. In my opinion, they takes the focus away from the main plot. Some love triangles might work for me, but that dosen`t happen very often.