Ridiculous? A Review of DEFY by Sara B. Larson

Sara B. Larson
336 pages
Publisher: Shcolastic Press
Release Date: January 7th, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: OKAY

A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and heart-racing romance.

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?

Alex Hollen is one of the prince’s elite guard. Alex also happens to be a girl.

I tried to enjoy it, I truly did, but alas, it was not meant to be. Sure the story line would’ve been great without so much romance and crying. I mean where was my strong female heroine? Who could make a boy’s life hell? That seemed to be the promise when the summary stated “Alexa Hollen is a fighter”.

I’m going to start off by telling you about the good things in this book. Like say, the last 20 pages were the only interesting part of the story. And the idea itself was pretty good too.

And, ummm, those were the only interesting parts. I disliked how many times Alexa blushed or cried or openly gawked at the men. She was suppose to be a strong female character. Sure, she could fight pretty good, but that was all.

Another part I found pointless to the story was the breeding houses the king had so he could get more men in his army. WHY? Because, number one, by the time these little boys age and are able to fight, the war could already be over. The other kingdom isn’t going to be like “yeah, I’ll wait till you age your men, you know, so you can destroy my kingdom. It’s cool.” And number two, not everyone born is a boy. King Hector, your plan will never work.

And the romance was ridiculous. It ruined the whole story. I won’t even get started on that.

All in all DEFY was a disappointment. Will I be reading the second book? I’m not sure. I did enjoy the ending of DEFY. But if the sequel will be anything like this one, I’ll pass. I hate writing negative reviews.

About the Author

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!

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Asma is a cat-loving co-blogger at IceyBooks. She's a 15 year old homeschooler who spends her time blogging (obviously), reading, and whatever else strikes her fancy. She's also a part time pirate and assassin.



  1. Reply


    February 10, 2014

    Yeah… This about sums up my review as well. I hater how Alexa was supposed to be the strong female lead, but acted like a silly little girl every time there were boys involved. It was dissapointing to say at least.
    I really agree with you on the ending as well! The ending was good! I liked the beginning of the book as well, Alexa was pretty tough there and I liked her as a character, soon the story became less and then at the ending it picked up again.
    I’m not sure if I’m going to read te sequel, purely for the reason you mentioned as well… I hate writing negative reviews, they make me feel mean, I rather spend my time gushing about a book ;)

  2. Reply

    Nadia @ Nadia Reads

    February 10, 2014

    Oh no! Was it that bad? I was actually looking forward to reading this becasue the story reminds me of Mulan, but if the female character isn’t strong in this case it ruins the whole book…

  3. Reply

    Mary @ BookSwarm

    February 10, 2014

    While I do agree with your assessment, I did my best to ignore those and just enjoy the story (sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t!) so I wound up liking it better than you. I think it needed some tighter parts and some chops (get rid of the breeding houses. I think those were there for shock value because, yeah, it’s not like kids are born and immediately thrown into the army.).

  4. Reply


    February 10, 2014

    Your review is similar to mine. I wasn’t a lover of this book. I thought the premise was great but the lead was annoying and not strong at all. And I just found some part of it unrealistic. Not sure if I’ll read the next one, either. Might not be worth my time.

  5. Reply

    Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

    February 10, 2014

    I felt the exact same way. I was also pissed because it seemed like everyone (THIS MAY BE A SPOILER) knew Alexa was a girl all this time, so there was really no point to the story whatsoever.

    *sigh* I kind of (in the deepest parts of my soul) want to read the next one… not sure.