Monday 24 February 2014

Not a stunner but worth a read - Defy (Defy #1) by Sara B. Larson

This is about a girl, Alexa Hollen, whose parents die at the hands of a sorcerer, and to prevent her from being forced into the rape house -- you heard me -- rape house, where girls are taken to breed future soldiers for the king's army because their country is engaged in a war, her and her twin brother disguise her as a boy and she becomes Alex, joining the Prince's Guard as an expert swordsman/guard. If alarm bells are not ringing in your head right now, then nothing shocks you my friend.

First of all, there is a lot of mention about these rape/breeding houses, and there is one scene where Alex/Alexa and her brother are introduced to the rape house, but it's a brief part of the book and we're not told much. It feels like the only purpose of the existence of the rape houses is so the main protagonist can disguise herself as a boy (hello Mulan) and provide an opportunity for her to get close to the Prince.

I'm still scratching my head as to the reason given in the book for the rape houses -- to breed soldiers to aid in the war. WTF? Are you thinking what I'm thinking? WTF? What are they thinking? That babies pop out as ready-made soldiers? Wouldn't it take, I don't know, like at least fifteen YEARS before these babies are old enough to wield a sword in a war against the enemy? Or am I missing something here, maybe in this world babies are able to fight ... ? Hmm.

It's things like that, that make me feel like the plot is missing a lot and the author didn't entirely think it all through. It just didn't feel right. For example, there is virtually no world-building. We get that they live in a jungle area or something. We get that from all of Alex's complaining about the jungle humidity and her fear of the jungle (so much for a totally badass expert fighter). That's another thing, Alex is supposed to be a totally badass expert swordsman/fighter, so much so that she is THE BEST. She can kick anyone's ass. But for some reason, I just didn't buy it. It felt too much like the author kept telling us that for the sake of having a kick-ass heroine, but Alex wasn't really a badass in reality but more of a whiney teen girl who pants at all the hot, topless males around her, and whines about the jungle, and the humidity, and the jungle. Badass Alex just did not work. Normal teenager Alex did work however. The author should just quit trying to portray her a fighter, and listen to Alex's heart, which is a normal, teen girl who wants to pant after hot, topless males, and whine about the jungle, and the humidity, and the jungle.

Rylan. Borrrrrrrrring. I don't even want to talk about him. Because there's nothing to talk about. He's boring. Lacks depth. There's not much to say. Except that his sole purpose in the book is to be the third person in the love triangle. Stupid love triangle. I used to love love triangles. Now I only like them. But this one, meh. Stupid love triangle.

Did I mention something happens to Alexa's twin, Marcel (I'm surprised I remember his name) right in the beginning of the book that is supposed to serve as something to make Alexa even more kick-ass and want revenge and blah blah blah. But I just didn't feel her emotions the way I should have in this situation. Yawn.

Prince Damian. He is the only one, I repeat, the only character I actually liked. At the beginning he is a spoilt, annoying brat of a prince. But then he turns out to be an admirable man with a backstory that explains his behaviour and explains the situation he is in and why he is doing what he's doing and what he plans to do. His story makes sense. His story is actually interesting and believable. It's the only parts of the book I liked. Prince Damian is interesting. He has depth in character. At first, there is an air of mystery around him, and when slowly the mystery unravels, I began to like him more and more, until I really liked him and was rooting for him. I rooted for him to be with Alex, even though Alex is boring and stupid. Maybe I should have rooted for her and Rylan, because they are both boring and stupid. Hmm.

For the most part, I felt the plot needed more work. It just didn't mesh well for me. There needed to be world-building, there needed to be more characterisation, there just needed to be ... more. There was something lacking. It took me a while to read. And by a while, I mean like, over a month, I think ... ? Why did I keep reading, you ask? Because I'm one of those people that can't quit, no matter how bad the book, I need to finish it. Just like movies, to my family and friends' annoyance, when I or someone unfortunately chooses a crappy B-grade movie and it's obvious in the first 5 minutes that it will be 2 hours of our lives we'll never get back, I always insist on still watching the crappy B-grade movie till the end because we've already started it, even if it means poking my eyeballs with a needle would be more enjoyable. Yes, I am that annoying person.

In saying all that, the end changed my mind, as it was surprisingly interesting enough to make me want to read the next one. I'm not dying for the sequel, I am entirely happy to wait. But I like the last couple of chapters much more than the first half. It actually turned me from rolling my eyes constantly, to being satisfied to keep reading.

So yeah, it's worth a read, just in between other series' when you're awaiting other releases. Passes the time well. Sorry for the negative review, I'm not one for them, but I have to be honest. My opinions are my own.


Purchase from The Book Depository

Purchase from Amazon

Purchase from Barnes & Noble

GoodReads page

I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy. All quotes were taken from an uncorrected galley and is subject to change in the final edition

Nora xoxo

No comments:

Post a Comment