**I received this ARC from Scholastic Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Scholastic Press.
Defy (Defy #1)
by Sara B. Larson
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 really took me a while to get through, almost 2 weeks. At first I thought it was just the fact that I have been in a bit of a reading rut over this last month, but nope it wasn't. It in fact was that I started a book I thought was a high fantasy but turned out to be mainly about romance. Now I'm not against romance in any way, shape, or form, BUT when I think a book is about something completely different.....well I get a little bit irritated. It's like ordering a Dr. Pepper from Sonic and going to take a drink and it's Rootbeer instead.....SURPRISE!!!! Not in a good way either. (I can't stand Rootbeer)
Anyways, the romance wouldn't have been SO bad IF it hadn't completely taken over the plot for at least 60% of the book, and it had been believable. I mean the high fantasy part of the novel....pretty much nonexistent. Instead it was all about romance and what seemed to be a forced love triangle. Now I'm no fan of insta-love but I can handle love triangles when done right....this was not done right sadly. Thing is...it really could of been though. A little tweek here and there and this triangle would of been the kind that would of had all us girls saying #TeamRylan #TeamDamian on twitter and raising our pitchforks and such! But nope....instead I eye rolled my way through several pages when these little "love scenes" happened.
Now I will say that after the 50% mark the plot started to pick up and we started to get a little action outside of the Alexa/Damian/Rylan triangle and I started thoroughly enjoying the book. The high fantasy part kicked in BUT we still had no world building for the most part and the end shifted right back to the triangle. *sigh* Honestly the only point I see for the next book is to see who Alexa picks, which means I don't have much interest in reading it...because as I said before that's not what I was getting into this book for and it's just not all that believable.
I know it may sound like I really disliked this book, so why give it the rating I did? Well despite all the unbelievable things with the romance I really did like Damian. I mean he's super swoony, seriously he is. I liked him so much I think the book might have even been better if written from his POV and told his story instead. It's not that I didn't like Alexa, she just focused on boys too much, and that's not what I really was hoping for. I also really found the little bit of back story we did get to be quite intriguing, had it of been more focused on that and the sorcerers and the kingdoms I could of really loved it I think.
Do I think this book is BAD? No, not at all. Do I think others will love it? Yes I really do. I think some girls will definitely get in a tizzy over Rylan and Damian, and they will love the triangle and all the romance. BUT if you are looking for a high fantasy with a plot focused on high fantasy, best to skip this one.