ARC Review: Endure-Sara B. Larson

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synThe remarkable third novel in Sara B. Larson’s bestselling Defy series!

At last, Alexa and King Damian are engaged to be married. But their lives are far from safe. The kingdom of Antion is under siege, and Rylan is a prisoner of the enemy. Even worse, Alexa remains at the mercy of the evil Dansiian Rafe, who controls her mind and can force Alexa to kill or harm Damian at any moment. Despite this, Alexa is determined to rescue Rylan, which soon leads her far from Damian and deep into enemy territory.

When she arrives, what awaits her is deadlier than anything she could have ever imagined: an army of black sorcerers, and a horrifying plot to destroy the world as Alexa knows it. Will she be able to gather the strength to free herself, protect the love of her life, and save the land? Will there ever be true peace?

Acclaimed author Sara B. Larson has woven a stunning, romantic, and evocative finale to the Defy trilogy, that is sure to leave readers breathless until the very last page.

review4/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via Edelweiss & Scholastic Press

Sara B. Larson took a page from George R.R. Martin’s handbook in this one. Be afraid. But face that fear because you won’t want to miss this mind-blowing, action-packed conclusion. ❤ 

PROS:

  • Alexa. Endure is the ONLY thing that this final book could have been called. Alexa goes through the blackest, most dismal and heart wrenching time of her life. There’s more loss and pain than she’d ever imagined. Than you’d ever expect but it’s so fitting for the finale. Alexa is incredibly brave, so much so that it makes her reckless and she throws herself into even more dire situations than usual. There are countless times when you’ll face nail-biting fear that she won’t make it through her suffering, but there’s always, always hope. 
  • Action, violence, torture, gore, it’s more than an adrenaline rush topped by a rollercoaster ride, it’s a carnival of slaughter with all the crazy. The fight scenes are bold, detailed, brilliant, with just enough to keep you gripping the pages, hoping against all odds for a miracle. 
  • Dansii is EVIL. Like deepest level of Hell, sadistic, and insane evil. The villains are a true threat that are more than terrifying because they celebrate their horrific methods. Gruesome acts are ordered like offhand comments. You’ll be shocked, startled, and a lot sickened by their barbaric ways. 
  • Rylan and Alexa. ❤ So much has been left unsaid between them, about their love for each other. There are so many ways to love and Rylan and Alexa are the perfect example. All the closure and understanding, it’s here and it’s downright heartbreaking. Get ready for the tears. 
  • The handful of times Damian and Alexa are together will break your heart into a billion pieces-happy pieces. Your heart will BURST with joy. The love leaps off the pages. It’s warm and beautiful and the kind of love that anyone would die for. 

CONS:

  • The pacing was so fast that the story rushed by and felt incomplete. There wasn’t near enough time to deal with all the George R.R. Martin-style carnage or to process the whirlwind of emotions. 
  • Damian is hardly in the picture. Sure, he’s in Alexa’s thoughts constantly and there are two sections from his POV but the romance is bittersweet and so short when it does happen. I missed their moments. That sweet playfulness they have, where you just know they fully understand each other through and through-soul mates. ❤ So much focus was placed on the various rescue missions and escapes that their love was a little lost in the chaos. 

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Keep reading and happy New Year!

Jordan

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Double Review: Defy & Ignite-Sara B. Larson

17406847Goodreads/Amazon/B&N/iBooks

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. 

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