Defy, book one in a young adult fantasy trilogy of that name, is the kind of book that I am constantly searching for. It is filled with action and adventure, and royals and romance, and a perfect amount of magic and fantasy. Not surprisingly, this book and the other two books in the trilogy, Ignite and Endure, are now among my other favorites on the shelf. Defy seems to be made up of all the good stuff for young adult literature.
Seventeen-year-old Alexa Hollen is forced into a life she didn’t want, but had to choose after her village was burned and her parents killed in the flames. It is the life of a palace guard, and she is so good at the position that she is elevated to the Prince’s guard, and charged to protect Damian, Prince of Antion, with her life. I should say, his life, because no girl is allowed to do a boy’s job and she is forced to disguise herself as a boy. Her twin brother Marcel, who works alongside her in the guard, is the only other person who knows her true identity – or so they think.
Alexa became the best swordsman, the best archer in Prince Damian’s guard, which is why she was chosen to be his personal guard. It was during this time that Alexa and Damian began to understand each other better and form a relationship. Up till now, she had thought the prince to be lazy, untrained in combat, uninterested in the affairs of his kingdom, and spoiled. But Damian allowed himself to relax when he was with Alexa and let the mask he wore in public fall away, revealing an intelligent, strong, and devastatingly attractive young prince who was living in pain caused by his ruthless father.
After an attack of a sorcerer, Eljin, in the middle of the night, Damian, Alexa, and a fellow guard and dear friend of hers, Rylan, are all taken as prisoners. Their captors are from the kingdom of Blevon, the enemy of Antion, and they are taking them all the way to their country. During the long journey from one kingdom to the next, Alexa realizes that not only Rylan, but Damian too, have known her secret for quite some time: they know she is a girl. This immediately changes her relationships with both men. Rylan has confessed to Alexa that he has cared for her for years, but was never allowed to express it to her because it would only endanger her. Damian, too, knew who she was all along, and loved her ever since she became one of his guards. When he lets her see his true nature, Alexa can’t help falling for him, to Rylan’s dismay. It’s not long before Alexa and Damian are in love.
Once they all reach Blevon, Alexa and Rylan are both in for more surprises – the prince is not who they thought. She is even more surprised when she learns that she has an ability to fight against sorcerer’s, and Damian needs her more than ever.
I’m going to admit that I read the first two books of the series in one day. They were that good! Defy gets your attention from the first page and grips you till the end. It is one of those books that is nearly impossible to put down, between the action scenes and the gorgeous love story. Sara B. Larson has woven this tale so beautifully that it leaves you breathless for more!
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