Defy: Defy #1 by Sara B. Larson

I grabbed this title because it held some reminders for me of a superior series by Tamora Pierce.  I was hoping to find a character that was daring and bold, with a focus that didn’t revolve around a love story, but would give readers a new style of female heroine who defies convention and becomes all the more engaging for it.

Sadly, there were far too many elements that were simply reworking tropes that are both overused and underwhelming.  The love triangle was completely over the top and took the focus away from mission and world, in fact, I cannot really state with any certainty what the ‘mission’ was, nor the purpose for the story.

World building lacked dramatic additions that would have enhanced the otherworldly feel: simple addition of some sorcerers and magic really didn’t make the world any more fantastical, there were no new customs or dress or even food introduced: set in a jungle there was so much that could have been done to add a bit of wonder and drama to the world, rather than just relying on the endless babble from Alexa as she compares the two boys she is interested in.

I wanted this to be so much more, and sadly it feels like several ideas and concepts gleaned from other, better conceived stories and mixed together to be ‘original’.  And it fails spectacularly in the missing elements: character development, world building and purpose for making the story.

There will be some who appreciate the mash-up of elements from other stories, and aren’t so concerned with the over-used tropes of love triangle and insta love, but sadly I was not one of those readers.

Defy: Defy #1 by Sara B. Larson

Title: Defy
Author: Sara B. Larson
Genre: Teen Reads
Published by: Scholastic
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 336
Rated: two-stars
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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?

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

About Sara B. Larson

I love writing, reading, and dessert--but the order varies by the day. I wrote my first book in second grade about a woman who had a premature baby, complete with a "to scale" drawing of the baby's size--while my mom was pregnant. To say I was a bit precocious is putting it lightly. Now that I'm an adult, I write books for teens that have magic and romance and kick-butt girls (and very few premature babies). I live in Utah with my husband, two young sons and baby girl. I write during naptime and the hours when most people are sleeping. My husband claims I should have a degree in "the art of multitasking." On occasion you will find me hiding in a bubble bath with a book and some Swedish Fish. I am represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary and my YA debut DEFY is coming January '14 from Scholastic!