Review: Defy (Defy #1) by Sara B. Larson

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*
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?

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It has been a while since I read a book that had some sort of love triangle in the story, but this felt more like two people liking/loving each other and the third one saying 'but I loved you first'. A love triangle is only when the person is very confused on whom to choose and when she has feelings for both guys. It is pretty obvious from the beginning whom Alex will be choosing. So no real nail biter there.

The world Sara B. Larson created seems interesting, from what I can tell which is little. Alex lives in the castle (Middle Ages), beyond that is jungle (exotic/dangerous), there are caves somewhere (mysterious) and the land beyond their borders is never specified. So a lot of gaps for me, with one of the strangest is that all soldiers seem to be afraid of the jungle, while I would think they'd be the only one really knowing their way in the jungle. It seems most of them don't go beyond the borders of the castle or town.

Then there is the part of the sorcerers, whom in Alex' country are not allowed, because one killed the queen and that's why it is war. Not a lot is said about sorcerers, just that they are often very powerful and use their power (whatever that may be) to destroy.

I get the reason why Alex has to pretend to be a boy, because the alternative is barbaric (the thought alone is nauseating). So I liked that concept, except apparently a lot of people suddenly discover her secret or knew all along. It is not always clear why those people chose to keep it a secret after they found out or why Alex has to keep keeping it a secret.

I do like Alex. She is strong, fast, the best fighter and she has real fears. At first her life is simple, train everyday and protect the prince. That is until weird things are starting to happen around the castle and the pressure is on. Prince Damian asks for her trust and before she knows it she's kidnapped and of to the great unknown. Big plans are made and Alex will have to show once again what she is worth.

Prince Damian was interesting because he was very contradicting, which very much intrigued me. One the one hand he's a spoiled brat, at least that is who he's portraying to be. Once they are outside of the castle we get to see a completely different side of him, which I liked more.

Don't let me going off about the book stop you from reading it, because it really was good. All the characters are very likeable and easy relatable. The plot is a bit predictable, but there are plenty of secrets to uncover to keep it interesting. I just feel it has more potential, like it is good but could have been better. Still I am an adult reading this Young Adult, so I think teenagers will like it much more than I.

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