ARC Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson

I was beyond excited when I received a free advanced copy of Defy by Sara B. Larson. The synopsis seemed like it was right up my alley! With a badass heroine and a love triangle, I couldn’t resist digging right in.

17406847 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?

This book started off amazing. I loved that Alexa had to disguise herself as a boy or be condemned to the breeding houses where girls are used to, well, breed constantly. I LOVED her twin brother Marcel who looked after her no matter what. Their bond was incredible. I loved the historical feel with princes and guards and kingdoms. I always enjoy stuff like that where I can be taken away to a faraway land. The world around this kingdom was fairly well-formed but this book is all about the relationships between Alexa and the prince, Damian, and her relationship with Rylan.

I absolutely love love triangles. There is just something about two guys fighting for one girl that really intrigues me. I don’t know if it’s the competition between them or just double the delicious but it’s something I truly enjoy. However, in this book, the love triangle is where, unfortunately, it fell short. I think it was primarily the lack of character growth. I wouldn’t say it was an insta-love but it was a little too quick for my liking. From the moment Alexa is revealed as a girl, the boys are sooo in love with her and have been forever. However, in the book’s defense, apparently the both boys knew she was a girl for quite awhile. I guess the feelings between them didn’t come off as genuine?

I am totally team Rylan. As a fellow guard who actually knows Alexa, it makes the most sense for him to have feelings for her, where as Damian was all dark and mysterious and his intentions for Alexa seemed muddled until the very end. The love triangle wasn’t the best because throughout most of the book she was totally falling for one more than the other, so when she couldn’t make a decision between them in the end it didn’t make sense.

I know I’m being really hard on the love triangle but it’s kind of my thing. However, this book was exciting, intriguing and pulsing with action and passion. It’s good enough to deserve four stars. I enjoyed it so much I read it in one day. As book one in the Defy series, I can’t wait to see what Sara Larson cooks up next, which won’t be out until 2015. Defy comes out next week on Jan. 7, 2014.

 STARS: 4 out of 5

Thank you Netgalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review!

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