Review – Defy by Sara B. Larson


Title Defy (Defy #1)

Author Sara B. Larson

Description from Amazon

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?

Initial Thoughts

I started this book back in 2014 when it first came out.  I didn’t get very far into it and then I moved and it got lost in the shuffle (not literally lost, but I forgot I had started it and then it just got filed back on to my shelf).  When I saw that Sara B. Larson had a new book coming out in November, I went back to my shelf and noticed that I have not read all of her other books, I had to remedy this, like, immediately.

Favorite Character

Can they all be my favorite?  I loved all of the characters in this book.  If I had to pick someone, I’d go with Marcel.  Yes, I know, he was a super minor character, but I think his presence was felt throughout the book.  I think it’s quite commendable to write a character that is only actually present in a few chapters whose memory can be felt throughout the book.

Somethings I Liked

  • The cast of characters — I loved all of the characters.  I thought they were all perfectly placed and utilized.  I also love that there are so many Easter egg moments where characters you had almost forgotten about come back into the spotlight.  I love the secrets in all the conversations.
  • I loved the length of this book.  Just over 300 pages is perfect.  It tells a succinct story but leaves you wanting more.  Not every book needs to be Game of Thrones length and I appreciate a good shorter novel when I read one.
  • The ending — I know, I can’t believe I liked the ending (since it wasn’t what I was expecting and it wasn’t 100% happy) but, I loved that it left me wanting the next book so much.  That’s how an ending should leave the reader, wanting more.

One Thing I Wasn’t Crazy About

  • If I had to pick one thing that I wasn’t 100% pleased with (it’s super hard because I really did love this book), I’d say it was Alex’s ignorance of everyone knowing her secret.  How could she be so oblivious?  Just from the way people treated her, it was somewhat obvious that they knew.  I was surprised at how dumbstruck she was when everyone was like “oh, we’ve known for years”.

Final Thoughts

I can’t believe it took me almost 5 years to finish this book.  Actually, I had to start over because I couldn’t remember what I had read that long ago.  This book was a great start to a series and is just further confirmation that Sara B. Larson is one of my favorite writers.  I can’t wait to read the rest of this series and her new book, Sisters of Shadow and Light, coming out in November 2019.


Recommendations for Further Reading

  • Ignite and Endure by Sara B. Larson – if you liked this book, definitely continue with the series, it only gets better.
  • Dark Breaks the Dawn and Bright Burns the Night by Sara B. Larson – again, if you like Sara B. Larson’s writing, check out this duology that she wrote after the Defy Trilogy.
  • We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal – the plots might not be super similar, but if you liked the characters and relationships in Defy, give this book a try.  Also, the main character in this book pretends to be a man for a good portion of the story.


5 thoughts on “Review – Defy by Sara B. Larson

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