Scholastic Press, 2014
It is so very rare that I am at the start of anything. The tail end? Yes. All the time. But this is different. I got my hands on Defy shortly after it was released. I just finished reading it yesterday (in no way a fault of the book, but my ineptness at remembering to pack it in my bag most days) and I want to give it a shout out as recommended young adult reading.
There’s been so much buzz around this book and I see why. It’s a beautifully written adventure fantasy full of strong emotions. The story took me on a thrilling ride through lush jungles and lavish castles with a hefty amount of tension filled romance (of course, if I’m reading it).
After her parents are killed by a dark sorcerer, protagonist Alexa Hollen is forced to cut her hair and pretend to be a boy so horrible things won’t happen to her (Picture a more graphic, disturbing Mulan). In her disguise she uses her amazing fighting skills to land a spot on the royal guard of the Antion prince. No one is supposed to know that she’s a girl, but that doesn’t stop her from developing female laced feelings for the males around her.
Secrets and loss are the theme in this YA story. Everyone seems to have their own issues with trust and how they deal with the death of people they love. The story was conceived from a dark time in the author’s life, so I’d say it puts up a good fight to battle those old demons. Defy also deals with some tough subjects, including rape and murder (you’ve been warned).
I recommend you put Defy on your TBR list.
You can learn more about Defy, its upcoming sequel and Sara B. Larson on her website: http://sarablarson.blogspot.com/