Series: Defy #1
Published by Scholastic Inc. on 2014-01-07
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
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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?
First off, I want to say that this book is gorgeous. I’m not one who usually cares much for covers but this one is beautiful. The green and the dagger and the texture, I love it. I have a hardcover and it is one of my favorite covers. Unfortunately, the insides weren’t quite as beautiful for me. The beginning was interesting, the middle was not good, and the end was exciting which, all together, made the book just okay.
The part I disliked the most was the love triangle. Alex, our MC who is forced to pretend to be a boy and is part of prince’s personal guard, starts out with a sort of crush on another one of the guards. It seems that she likes him more just because he is there and is nice to her but I can’t be sure. As the book progresses, Alex begins spending more time with the prince and seems to be developing feelings for him. When the three are captured (not a spoiler, it’s in the summary), which is definitely convenient, they are forced to deal with each other and all of the feelings they all seem to have. I had some serious Eclipse flashbacks during these moments. Just replace Bella, Edward, and Jacob with Alexa, Damian, and Rylan and there are scenes that felt almost the same. There’s even a tent scene in Defy. I almost couldn’t handle it. And maybe I’m the only one that felt this way, just check out all of the other glowing reviews, but it was almost enough to make me stop reading. The way Alexa deals with her feelings and the way she turns into a complete mess whenever the boys are around and how we constantly hear about the way the boys look was annoying and the way the boys drooled all over her even though she’d been pretending to be someone else for the three years they’d known her was irritating and unrealistic. I was really not a fan of this part of the book.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I want you to know that I did enjoy some of this book. I really enjoyed the world this book is set in and wish I could have learned more about it. The sorcerer’s, the horrible King Hector, the war going on, what Alexa’s life was like before her parents were killed, I wish I could have learned more about everything. Also, the beginning of this book grabbed me right away and the last part of the book kept me awake until I finished the book. So while I hated the love triangle moments, I did enjoy the story.
In the end, this book was just okay. It felt like a cross between Throne of Glass, Mulan, and Eclipse for me but nowhere near as good as it should have been. The beginning held a lot of promise but as soon as the characters are captured and travel across the country, it fell apart for me. I could not handle the love triangle. I almost gave up at this point but kept reading because I really wanted to know what was going to happen and what all of the amazing reviews were for. The story was interesting enough to keep me reading and I can see why fans of fantasy books enjoy this one. But unfortunately, the good parts didn’t make up for the bad. I wasn’t able to become as emotionally involved as I should have because I never truly fell for the characters. I hope the second book (if I read it) gives me more of a look at the world that these characters live in and chances for these characters to really win me over.