Defy by Sara B. Larson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Netgalley (Long ago)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: January 2014
Book Description: 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 thougths: Alexa knows how to fight. After her parents were killed, she and her twin brother hid her true identity. Being an orphan and a girl led to a life of rape and abuse in a breeding house. Boys went into the guard. The second choice was the better option.
I enjoyed reading this book. As a teen, fantasy was my favorite genre. This book caught my interest and in spite of a few spots where it lagged, it kept me wanting to know what would happen next for Alexa.
The book looks at the abuse and misuse of power and magic. Alex is fighting battles in many different areas. First, she is a member of the Prince's personal guard. She must keep him safe. There are assassins who are looking to kill the heir to an unpopular king. There are enemies within the palace walls. Alex doesn't know who she can trust, other than her brother. Circumstances place her alone and confused with herself and where her duty lies.
Alex fights the battle of identity. She has acted the part of a boy for so long that it has become second nature. She is not sure how to handle being treated like a girl. It's humorous sometimes to read her quandary, she doesn't know how to accept feminine attributes.
Alex fights a mental battle. She has trust issues. (Which are understandable.) She has to figure out who she can trust. There are many secrets hidden that later are revealed. Understanding the need for secrecy doesn't rule out the fact that secrets can destroy relationships.
The love triangle isn't a strong one. Alexa's identity as a girl isn't revealed right away. Almost immediately, there are two men who want her attention. While caring for both, the story is more about her making up her mind who she cares for more.
I enjoyed the story and look forward to the second book which is coming out at the end of the month. Ignite is one that I want to read.
This book has violence, kissing, innuendo, and the mention of girls being raped in the breeding houses.