DefyWritten by Sara B. Larson
(Scholastic Press - 1/7/2014)Series: Defy #1
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook (336 pages)(9:40)
Narrator: Rebecca Mozo
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?
FTC Disclosure: This book was provided to me from the author or publisher (NetGalley), free of charge, with the understanding that my intention is to read it and provide feedback in the form of an honest review. I am not compensated in any way in exchange for positive reviews, and I don’t let anything other than the book's contents affect my opinions and review.
[stextbox id=”kelley2″ image=”null”]WARNING: This is a very rare review and rating for me. I think this might possibly be the second 1-star rating I’ve ever given. It is also, quite possibly, the snarkiest review I’ve ever written. I suppose it had to happen sometime. Sigh.[/stextbox]
Oh boy. If I could describe Defy in three words, it would be: trying too hard. Or maybe it wasn’t trying hard enough. I was approved for this book on NetGalley months ago, and it’s been on my list of debuts for 2014, but I kept putting it off — and apparently for good reason. (Note: even though I have the e-galley for this book, I ended up borrowing the audiobook from my sister.)
This book disappointed and annoyed me around just about every turn. Can you think of a trope? Cool! It’s probably in this book.
Here is a list of things I learned from reading Defy:
- The exact shade of milk/chocolate/olive each person’s skin color resembles.
- Same goes for their eyes (except change out milk/olive for blue).
- Precisely how many inches different in height each person is compared to Alexa.
- Prince Damien is very, very beautiful. Extremely beautiful, in fact.
- Acting like a boy means constantly stopping yourself from blushing.
- You can slash at someone with a sword and somehow end up impaling them with it.
- Even if you’ve spent the last 3 years pretending you’re a boy, the two most GORGEOUS men in your life will still fall hopelessly in love with you, because obviously they’ll have seen through it.
- Even if he’s the prince and had very good reasons for keeping his secrets, he STILL should have told them to someone he wasn’t sure he could trust.
I constantly found myself groaning in disbelief with this book. I think Alexa was supposed to be a “badass heroine” but she turned out to be more of an arrogant, spoiled whiner. This book had potential — I was really keen on the whole girl-having-to-masquerade-as-a-boy part, but this was just ruined quickly.
There were so many things that just didn’t make sense. View Spoiler »Does anyone else find it hard to believe that a 16-yearold girl was somehow the best fighter EVER and beat the captain of the guard who’d never been beaten — “magical hertiage” or not? « Hide Spoiler I was very confused by the timeline, among other things. View Spoiler »The war has been going on how long? 8 years? And the king has “breeding houses” to breed soliders for his army… When does he plan to use these soldiers? « Hide Spoiler I kept thinking to myself, “Okay, the most cliche thing that could happen right now would be this… surely that won’t happen,” and then? THAT IS WHAT HAPPENED NEXT. Sigh.
What probably made it even worse was the narration. Sorry, but not only did this book read like an amateur’s debut, but the narrator only added to that effect. She read everything as if it were the most dramatic and urgent thing possible, and it got REALLY tiring, REALLY quickly. And somehow, Alexa’s voice sounded more male than any of the male characters in the story. Sure, I realize she’s lowering her voice to sound more masculine, but that doesn’t mean all the guys should sound like women! SIGH.
Would I recommend this book? No. Not unless you, uh… like this sort of thing? (Which is fine. We just obviously have different tastes.)