By Sara B. Larson
Published: January 7 2014
Yup, you are not reading that wrong. I will be doing a review on a book that is not out yet. I received my digital ARC through Netgallery and read it through the Kindle app. I was first made aware about the book through the Waiting on Wednesday meme and jumped at the chance to read it ahead of the release.
Blurb on Goodreads:
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?
I was hoping that this book would be more action, kickass female character that is in the prince’s elite guard service, and magic with romance sprinkled throughout the story. Nope, this one clearly has the romance out front and centre, and not just any romance: a LOVE triangle romance. If you can hear me groaning, there is a good reason for that. I find love triangles an over-used trope in fiction and is as equally cheezy. Sadly, the love triangle and Alexa’s uncertainty between her two suitors overshadows the rest of the plot. This differs from the Razorland series and the love triangle between Deuce, Fade, and Stalker. In that series, while Fade and Stalker make their love known to Deuce, Deuce only has any serious interest in Fade. In Defy, despite spending a great deal of time leading up to the start of the book as a male and not engaging in any romantic encounters of any sort, Alexa is deeply torn between her attractions to the beauty of Ryland and (Prince) Damian. And I quickly could figure out which one would ultimately win out in the end.
To make matter worse, the love triangle overshadows the rest of the story and I really enjoyed what was happening in the story! I loved the realm that the story was set in. I enjoyed learning about how magic was set up in this world, seeing the slow transformation of the bratty prince into a dependable leader, learning more about the war between the two nations, but always in the forefront of the story is Alexa and her feelings & confusion over what boy she likes!! Clearly this story would be better enjoyed by a young girl of thirteen years of age then myself who is not thirteen anymore. I was really looking forward to this story and by the time I finished reading, I felt a little let down. I have seen other ARC reviews and am comforted by the fact that I am not the only one frustrated by the destructiveness of the love triangle over the rest of the plot.
I am hoping that should this series continue and get a second book, the magic of the world will be deeper explored for the audience and see more of it and its beauty. It will also be interesting to see the fall out of Alexa’s secret being revealed to everyone and see how people treat her as a female guard, when under the King’s rule, females were sent to the breeding house to be nothing but raped and produce sons to be forced into the King’s army to fight the war. I want to say that I hope the love triangle will simmer down but I get the feeling that we will continue to be subjected to it being hit over our heads repetitively like we were in this book.
Overall, it is a pleasant read. Not the best I have read but definitely not the worst. It’s really easy to get through, to be honest. The only problem is that it focuses on things that I find unnecessary (love triangle) and lacks more detail in areas which I found crucial to the main plot and lacks character development in the majority of the characters we come across.
In a completely unrelated topic to my review, my question for you this week is: Did you see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug yet?? Thoughts and opinions in the comments below but no spoilers!!