Defy was one of those books that the cover always drew me in, but the synopsis was never enough to make me buy it. I've never been a fan of the "girl disguised as a boy" thing, or a fan of love triangles, which the synopsis states very clearly. But as a fantasy lover, I decided to give it a shot.
I'm glad I did! While there were quite a few moments I had to stop my eyes from rolling, Defy was still a good book. The story is interesting the entire way through, and Alexa was one of those heroines that always got back up, even if she didn't want to, and she always took action in the face of danger (which is the true definition of bravery if you ask me!). As predictably as the love triangle went, and the development of romance between the characters, in the end Defy really did focus on the main issue at hand: overthrowing a kingdom.
The world that was built could have been stronger. While many descriptions were given, they tended to focus on the same few descriptors (like the heat of the jungle, the sunshine vs. shadows). It got a little tiring hearing about how sweaty everyone was. However the descriptions given for characters was plentiful, and they came to life right off the page!
Fans of The Hunger Games should definitely check out this book.
Alexa is back. And more badass than ever!
With a treaty in place with Blevon, and Iker and his sorcery defeated, King Damian hopes to rebuild Antion in peace.
An unexpected delegation from Danii showing up throws the entire kingdom into a tailspin.
I didn't think there could be powers more frightening than Iker's dark magic. I was wrong.
Alexa shines in Ignite. There seem to be no limits to what she is capable of and kicks major butt throughout the book. Katniss who???
Will love be the undoing of Antion? Or will Alexa and Damian prove that love can conquer all.....
12/24/14 ** This book cam highly recommended by someone in my Facebook feed. She said the story would appeal to any fan of Tamora Pierce and strong female protagonists. I checked it out from the library and read the flyleaf. I instantly thought of Alanna's story by Pierce. Though the overall narrative seemed to be derivative, I thought perhaps the world-building would add something new to the genre.
I am currently a little over halfway through the book and am seriously hoping there's a payoff at the end - if I were rating the book right now, it would be a 2. I have to disagree with the unremembered advocate for the book. Alexa is nothing like Alana (Pierce) or Katsa (Cashore). While those young women struggled with maintaining their own identities of strength and resilience when faced with possible love, as soon as Alexa's secret (that she was masquerading as a man) was revealed, she seemed to become a twitterpated fool. There are too many scenes where she's noticing and admiring half-naked torsos and kissing both young men while trying to sort out her feelings of attraction.
I also struggled with the phrases "you're falling for him" and "do you like him?" While Larson did a reasonably good job with the world-building - helping me feel the overwhelming jungle landscape, these phrases jarred me back into a suburban high school. I was also struck that the other guards were referred to as men, but when Alexa's secret was revealed, she was a girl (not a woman). My worst reading moment was on p. 179 when Rylan told Alexa that he wanted to cherish her as all men should cherish a woman he loves. This seemed to imply that women must be protected and couldn't lookout for themselves.
At about a quarter of the way in, the prince was clearly making advances to "Alex," and I hoped for an unexpected twist - that he was looking for a male companion. This would definitely have added to the genre. Instead, it became increasingly clear that he knew "Alex" was a "girl." The rest of the book was a simple love triangle, rather than a quest for personal identity in a male-dominated world. The final chapter nudged me to move from a 2 star to a 3 star rating because of the way the love triangle was resolved. I hadn't quite expected the conclusion.