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Defy (Defy #1)

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3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  8,400 ratings  ·  1,537 reviews
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 R ...more
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Scholastic Press
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Aaron Themes of rape throughout. Very dark for a YA novel. Maybe I am just squeamish but I would not recommend it for under 14 years of age.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Khanh (Clowns, Nightmares, and Bunnies)


Mulan would fucking NEVER. Screw the love triangle. Screw the overwhelming romance. This is not a fantasy book. This is a love story. Don't look for anything beyond that.

Hearts flutters. Desire courses. Cheeks flush. Blood flows overwhelmingly to the penis instead of the brain. WHERE IS MY PROMISED MULAN?!

I am just so bloody tired of so-called bad-ass heroines who do fucking nothing to prove that they're capable. I am so fucking sick of heroines who spend their supposedly ass-kicking selves sob
...more
Sara Larson
Dec 04, 2013 Sara Larson rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
MY BOOK IS ON GOODREADS!!! (Also, I might be a tad biased on this one...) ;-)
Summer the bummer
Edit: Huh. I can't believe I didn't go over this, but the issue on the rape houses? Yeah, that was another pointless addition to a pointless book.

*Thank you Scholastic for sending me this copy via Netgalley.*

Blergh. DNF at 85%.

More times than I care to count, YA novels usually gain a lower rating from me due to the romance. More specifically, when the romance takes over the plot. Even more specifically, when the love triangle takes over the plot.
Grrr.

This book had so much potential. So much.
...more
Gillian

*sad trombone* Mayyyyybe 1.5 stars?

Originally posted at Writer of Wrongs

I'm having such a hard time writing this review for multiple reasons, the main one being that I wanted to love this. I wanted so BADLY to love this. There are kernels of greatness in this book, and directions of brilliance in which it could have gone. For me, however, that promise was never delivered upon.

I make it no secret that genderbending is one of my favorite tropes on the entire planet. I wrote a whole post about it.
...more
Sandra

ROUNDING UP TO 1.5 STARS.

Why i thought this would be a really good book i have no idea. Got my hopes to high for this one, and look where it got me.
Why do i do this to myself?



It actually started really good! At the beginning '4 stars!' was constantly popping up in my head.



This is, like, a retelling of Mulan (<--- if you haven't seen that dinsey movie what are you doing with your life?), and i am shocked it wasn't mentioned at all (in the synopsis, on the book cover, ect). Did the author th
...more
Ash Wednesday
1.5 STARS



I really thought reading a non-romance Western before diving into a book as universally panned in my feed as Defy, I'd be able to offer a unique perspective. Because I've been sufficiently warned off from this book but I genuinely thought taking expectations out of the equation, bracing yourself for the worst… maybe it won't be so bad.

There's a war waging between Blevon and Antion and Alexa Hollen just lost her parents to a sorcerer. Together with her twin brother Marcel, she is forc
...more
Whitley Birks
See more on my blog.

This book started out with one of the most horrific displays of misogyny possible, and then it carries on in a mediocre fashion after that. I probably would have finished reading the book if I hadn’t been so pissed off from the start, but it wasn’t good enough to carry me through my distaste, so I DNF-ed at about halfway through, when I realized that the main character wasn’t going to shut up about all the toned and muscled torsos around. (You’d think they were painted in neo
...more
Melanie
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

Despite my one star rating, I wasn’t at all disappointed with Defy. Simply because I knew it was going to be bad, and I went into this novel just to see how terrible it was. However, I had not expected it to be so bad that I nearly vomited in my mouth.

Defy checks all boxes for one of the worst fantasy books I’ve read this year. Sure, we’re only 7 days into 2014 but I can just feel like it’s going to be the worst I’ve encountered.

1. Fail, un-kick-ass protagoni
...more
Pamela
I have many feelings about Defy, and it's difficult for me to articulate them in a coherent review right now. So let's just do a little list first, eh?

1. My main issue with this is that it started out with a lot of promise despite basically reworking something that's been done much better (more on that later) and I was reading with a lot of interest to see what was happening. The breeding houses concept, while horrifying, was an interesting plot point that totally gets abandoned (except for the
...more
Steph Su
May this book serve as early 2014's warning against faux-feminist YA literature. It terrifies me to consider the deeper implications of how a book with such an unbelievably wrong heroine is being marketed as "strong female lit." Because DEFY is no feminist work at all--it's chock-full of well-meaning but insidious interpretations of such terms of empowerment. I love a rollicking girl-disguises-herself-as-a-boy read as much as the next person, but when it's done incorrectly (to be explained in a ...more
Nafiza
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy
A great addition to the YA High Fantasy genre, which is a favorite of mine. I love stepping out of our contemporary world and into a fictional land. With fantasy novels anything is possible; I love the magic, politics and romance. This story had them all.

Our heroine Alexa was likable and easy to root for. She has to hide her identity to protect herself and for the past three years has not only been a personal guard to the Prince, but has also been disguising herself as a boy. Normally I’m not a
...more
Misty
I hadn't heard of Sara B Larson's debut, Defy, until it showed up in my mailbox, which is shameful of me, because I'm normally pretty on top of anything that even hintsat the phrase "gender-bender." (I blame this almost completely on Tamora Pierce, and probably a little bit on movies like Rocky Horror, Ladybugs, To Wong Foo andJust One of the Guys. My formative years in a nutshell, friends.) So even though I had no plans to read this, and a whole stack of other things that needed to be read inst ...more
Anna 光 Smyth
Jun 26, 2014 Anna 光 Smyth marked it as to-read-maybe  ·  review of another edition
24/11/13
This sound promising!


Am I the only one who thought of Mulan?
Krystle
So you’re writing that excruciating 500 page young adult fantasy and you’re wondering how to turn your baby into a money grabbing best seller, amirite? Follow this outline and you’re sure to bring in the big bucks!

Let’s begin with the key points:

Shallow/Shoddy Worldbuilding

Oh no, let’s not make this deep. We want to make this fast and sweet, young adult readers don’t care about your expansive worlds! They want the here and now! We’ve got your base kingdom, your other kingdom that wants to start
...more
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
And we have my first DNF of 2014.

I made it 53% and I either hate everything or it bores me.

It utterly fails to make a point with the genderbending aspect, so if you want to read a YA fantasy set in a non-white society in a jungle that does make some good points in a thoughtful exploration of gender -- read Alaya Dawn Johnson's The Summer Prince instead.
Robin (Bridge Four)
This is listed as a fantasy and I love YA fantasies, I was really hoping for something along the lines of Mulan. But, if I rated this as a fantasy I’d probably only give it 1 star. Just because you give a girl a sword and put her in a world with castles, Kings and Sorcerers your work shouldn’t be done. A great fantasy has a new world or society with a lot of detail to it in my opinion. I want to believe, I want to picture the people, the housing, the society and for the most part I didn’t get a ...more
Jaime (Two Chicks on Books)
DEFY WAS AWESOME!!!!! Most of you know how much I love my High Fantasy and Sara B. Larson wrote a story that I can say (well at least in my opinion) is up there with my favorites! Yep add her to my list of faves such as Maria V. Snyder, Rae Carson, Leigh Bardugo, Morgan Rhodes, and Ursula K. Le Guinn!

What I loved about Defy was Alexa was a kick ass character! She was a girl who had been pretending to be a boy for years! She could even best most of the boys in a sword fight and was chosen as one
...more
Anne
Also reviewed for Addicted2Heroines

There's a lot to love about Defy. Tough girl who has to pretend to be a boy, hot prince who has to pretend to be obnoxious, evil sorcerers, misunderstood magic, and a kingdom in peril. It's not what I would consider action-packed, but the story clips along at a good pace.
I was initially a little worried by the hint of a love triangle in the blurb, but it turned out to be fairly obvious who she was actually interested in.
Yeah, and then there's the other guy.
It's
...more
Dianne
If I were looking for a book to recommend to younger YA readers filled with fantasy, action, turmoil and strong characters, I would easily say read Defy by Sara B. Larson! With so many YA fantasy books to choose from, why this particular book, you ask? The characters are what make this story work! Alexa is a teen girl whose life has been turned upside down through tragedy, her only family left is her brother. Together they join the King’s guard, and Alexa hides her gender as Alex, becoming one o ...more
Perrin
I was very excited to read this book after reading the description, however the book is very disappointing and does not live up to its potential. This book is filled with choppy sentences and writing that lacks any elegance. I found Alexa/Alex to be frustrating and at times offensive. The other characters are flat and unrealistic. This book contains a pathetic and unnecessary love triangle that seems out of place in the story. Although I see what the author was aiming to write, overall her plot ...more
Kara
Defy, defy, defy. Even after I’ve finished it I’m still uncertain about how I feel about it. Did I like it? Yes. Did I think it was the amazing, beautiful and incredible read I thought it was going to be? Unfortunately, no. I know I will read the sequel, Ignite — and maybe I’ll enjoy it more now as I will know what to expect from it.

Defy was described as a lush read with a tough, kickass heroine.

But was it, really?

No . . . I didn’t think so; and actually, the worldbuilding and characters was whe
...more
Sara Raasch
You're about to be VERY jealous of me -- I got to read DEFY back when it was DAUGHTER OF WAR. Fight scenes and a jungle-kingdom and a desert-kingdom and mysteries and assassins and hot boys (mmm, Damian) and a sadistic king. All the makings of a great YA fantasy, and fans of THRONE OF GLASS and SHADOW AND BONE will have no trouble falling under DEFY's spell too.
Thibaut Nicodème
Full, chapter-by-chapter review on my blog, the Snark Theater.

This book manages to combine two flaws that I did not think were compatible: being dreadfully boring, and really offensive.

The premise is an obvious Mulan ripoff (and the ending doesn't help me get rid of that idea): Alexa has to pretend to be a boy and join the military. Instead of doing it to save her dad, it's to save herself. Namely, save herself from being sent to a breeding house, which is basically a rape house.

This is the firs
...more
Dark Faerie Tales
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Defy is an epic story with the perfect blend of action and romance. This is a must read for all fantasy lovers.

Opening Sentence: The crackle and hiss of the flames devouring our house couldn’t block out the screaming and wailing of those who were still alive.

The Review:

Alexa Hollen has been pretending to be a boy for years now. Her home land has been raging a long war against another kingdom and the casualties have been many. Alex watched h
...more
Giselle at Book Nerd Canada
By impersonating a boy, Alexa avoids being taken to the breeding house. Instead, she becomes second in command to the Prince's guard. Along with her twin brother Marcel and her best friend Rylan, they start to unravel truths that are hidden within the castle's walls. The most important secret is hiding her true identity because if anyone found out, her life would be forfeit.

Love Alexa's strong female instincts. She is one tough warrior. And I like the fact that she has been trained since she was
...more
Tamara
4.5

Oh how I love this book.

Suspense, secrets, suspicions, and sacrifices all mixed with love, war, bravery, and heroism. This is a must read. I'd recommend it to just about anyone who loves a strong willed woman.

The only reason it didn't receive its full 5 stars was due to the slow pass and the ting of annoyance at times of reading.

Alex, or shall I say Alexa, is a girl disguised as a man fighting as the Princes second top guard with her twin brother in chance to escape the inevitable placemen
...more
Howdy YAL
This one should be glad I read Big Fat Disaster before I read it other wise it would be getting a worse grade than it's getting. For a Mulan wannabe, this one sucked ass. Link to full review to come.

To see full review click on one of the following links:


My blog

Booklikes
Lindsay Cummings
Loved this book. I'm a big fan of fantastical stuff, and this one just had that feel to it. I read it in just a few days (an advanced edition) and was hooked! Full review to come.
Alicia Batista (Addicted Readers)
DEFY has me in such an emotion state after getting lost within it's pages and experiencing all the pain and sorrow and determination and need to endure the pain and rise above it.

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Review To Come.... After my tears dry up and my hands stop shaking!

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I SO DESPERATELY NEED BOOK TWO!!!

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-------EDITED REVIEW-------


5 beautifully, captivating, stars

I don't even know where to start with my feelings for DEFY? How to express the full depth of my love for this book. How to put all my amazing, torturou
...more
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Liked, Disliked, Even Read? 18 132 Dec 05, 2014 07:00PM  
The Not-So Austen...: Defy - March BOTM Discussion 1 9 Mar 01, 2014 06:23PM  
Crazy for Young A...: Defy (Defy #1) by Sara B. Larson → Start Date: January 25th, 2014 20 54 Jan 29, 2014 11:09AM  
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6950740
Author of DEFY and IGNITE, the first two books of the YA fantasy trilogy published by Scholastic. Mommy of three. Lover of chocolate, desserts of all kinds, and Swedish Fish. Also good books. Represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.



****Due to time constraints, I'm not on goodreads very often and can't usually check all my messages. But I AM active on Twitter, FB, Instagram and my blog! All req
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More about Sara B. Larson...

Other Books in the Series

Defy (3 books)
  • Ignite (Defy, #2)
  • Endure (Defy, #3)
Ignite (Defy, #2) Endure (Defy, #3)

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“True beauty is what lies inside of us, not what the world sees. A beautiful shell that houses a vile soul becomes sullied over time. But an outer shell, imperfect as it may be, that houses a beautiful, shines with that beauty, radiating it for all who have eyes to see.” 46 likes
“Sometimes it seemed like those with the most rotten interiors were blessed with the most exquisite exteriors.” 46 likes
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