Double Review: Defy & Ignite-Sara B. Larson


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cooltext1889161239 copyAlexa 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?

cooltext1889171582 copy4/5 Stars

Defy is an action-packed, adrenaline rush rife with tension, terror, and blazing hot chemistry.

PROS:

  • Alexa is fierce, independent, courageous, and one amazing fighter. Haunted by a past that she won’t let cripple her, Alexa channels her fears into her sword-fight. Alexa is bold, deadly, and reckless. She’s willing to lay herself on the line to protect the kingdom. Alexa has so much heart, her emotions lay hidden beneath the surface because she’d had to suppress them in order to survive. Her emotions are potent, breathless, so deep, they’ll drag you in and consume you. Alexa feels so deeply it’s almost painful but beautiful. Alexa doesn’t let anything limit her and it makes her a BA heroine. 
  • The chemistry is INTENSE. The uncertainty, the delicious attraction, the hidden looks, it all builds up into this irresistible, power urge to see Alexa get whatever her heart desires. 
  • The horrors of King Hector’s reign are disquieting and despicable. The breeding houses are enough to give you chills. The details are sickening and brutal, not especially graphic but enough that you can infer and imagine. It’s chilling and you’ll want nothing more than to rescue these poor women. Seeing the severity of what it means to be a woman in the kingdom and their “uses” quadruples the danger Alexa is in and you feel it. It’s an oppressive, suffocating fear that seeps in and consumes, that Alexa may be caught scared me enough to keep me turning pages frantically.
  • The plot was creative and unexpected. There are quite a few surprises along the way. 
  • Secondary characters are memorable, complex, and draw you in. There’s something about each one that makes them likable. Relationships are full of emotion, solid, and sometimes playful. Rylan and Alexa are adorable. 
  • Damian. He’s like Rochester mixed with Darcy. There’s a mysterious coldness that radiates from him, a lot of haughty pride, and yet…he’s magnetic, kind when he lets his guard down and that backstory. Break my heart. The little boy, the childhood he lost, it sneaks out from under his elaborate mask and it’s blissfully endearing.

CONS:

  • The ending happened so quickly and was cut a little short. Many things were left unsaid and while the fight scenes were spot on terrifying and gruesome, it was over and done with faster than seemed possible after all the worry.
  • Hector and Iker are notorious villians but hardly ever in the story where we see and experince their personalities. Yes, the results of their power like the breeding house, etc., are there but the vile, slimy, strike-fear-into-your-heart at the very sight of them wasn’t there.

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cooltext1889161239 copyMurder, abductions, and forbidden romance abound in this thrilling sequel to Sara B. Larson’s acclaimed YA debut, DEFY.

Alexa remains by the newly crowned King Damian’s side as his guard, ever committed to helping him rebuild Antion and reclaim the hope of Antion’s people, despite continuing to harbor a secret love for him. However, when another threat to Damian and his kingdom emerges, and blame is cast on their newly forged allies from Blevon, Alexa knows things are not what they seem. With the fate of her nation hanging in the balance once again, will Alexa be able to protect her king and uncover the true enemy — before it’s too late?

cooltext1889171582 copy3.5/5 Stars

Ignite is an addictive soap opera set in a magical fantasy world where drama, political intrigue, and lust reign supreme. 

PROS:

  • The feels. OMG the feels. So many moments were beautiful, honest confessions and full of adoration. Swoons. 
  • Alexa becomes more in tune with herself. Always self-sacrificing, Alexa is forced to deal with her feelings head on and it’s magical. It’s raw and honest, and yes, painful but Alexa has come a long way. As she struggles to consider herself worthy, she finds inner strength and confidence, she accepts who she is and it’s glorious to see her look at the scars others mock and ridicule as a strength.
  • Political tensions and secrets are in abundance. Relationships between kingdoms are highlighted and become even more complex. There are hidden weapons, plots, and puzzles that will leave you guessing until the end and even then, you can’t be sure of the truth.
  • Damian and Alexa. There are moments where you’ll want to strangle Alexa. Other where you’ll want to murder Damian-slowly. It builds and grows into this colossal, unavoidable explosion of emotion. 
  • Damian as ruler wears even more masks. You won’t be able to tell what is real and what’s put on for show. The enigma is attractive and infuriating. There are so many layers to Damian’s character that despite knowing his heart, it’s like a puzzle missing that crucial finishing piece.

CONS:

  • The plot was decidedly more romance-centered than the last book and felt a little thrown together at the end. 
  • Several questions were left unanswered, like the gigantic question of WHY ALEXA?
  • Characters from the first book had brief interludes as the plot was consumed by Alexa/Rylan/Damian/Vera drama. Lisbet, Tanoori, Eljin and the rest of the guard became a bit like afterthoughts and included when absolutely necessary. While some development happened, particularly with Tanoori, the others were less prominent. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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