Blog Tour: Defy by Sara B. Larson (Review + Giveaway)


Welcome to the blog tour for Defy by Sara B. Larson! I'm really excited to be part of the tour for this wonderful debut! Be sure to check out the other tour stops by clicking the banner above. Also, meet the author and enter the tour-wide giveaway (for US addresses) below!

Defy by Sara B. Larson
eARC: 336 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publishing Date: 7 January 2013
Age Level: Young Adult
Source: Provided for tour in exchange for an honest review
A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.

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 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?


I have been a fan of this genre for as long as I can remember. Give me a fantasy book and I'm happy as a lark. When I saw the opportunity to read Defy, I had to jump at it! Oh my goodness, I'm so happy I had the chance to read this great debut novel! Sara B. Larson has definitely become an author I eagerly await more from.

Alexa Hollen, our kick butt heroine, is definitely a character to watch out for. She's strong, loyal, brave, selfless and is just an all-around good person. I can't even begin to imagine having to keeping my true self secret, let alone the fact that I'm a girl! In the very beginning, Alexa and her twin brother lose their parents in a horrifying act of sorcery. In their kingdom, when children are orphaned, boys are enlisted to train as soldiers and girls are sent to "breeding houses." Ugh. Just thinking about the horror of that idea gives me shivers. Anyway, to save his sister from such a bleak fate, Alexa's brother, Marcel, comes up with the idea to chop off her hair and pass her off as his twin brother. Having trained with her father and brother in swordfighting since she was little, Alexa - now Alex - is no novice and quickly climbs the ranks to be part of the Prince's own guard. But as she becomes unbeatable in swordplay and archery, her adolescent hormones start to surface big time, making things very difficult. It's getting harder and harder to hide the girl in her, as she starts to notice not only a fellow guard, Rylan, but Prince Damian as well. Oh man, talk about trouble!

Along with our leading lady, I really enjoyed the side characters. I didn't even mind that there was a love triangle - maybe because I really only saw one guy for her. The other guy just kind of seems like an extra, so I don't think the triangle was necessary. Anywhoozle. I very much like Prince Damian. He comes off as so vain and apathetic and, well, he's kind of a jerk. As those who know me will attest, these are not traits I like in a guy. So why has Damian become the first book guy I've fallen for in 2014? Well, there's more to him than what's on the surface. I am most definitely not going to spoil it, but I will say that I loved finding out more about him. The other part in this love triangle is Alex's longtime friend and brother in arms, Rylan. Rylan is a super sweet guy, which we get to see from the get go. I really do like Rylan, but we don't see too much from him. In my opinion, he not only takes a backseat to Damian in the romance department, but also in the story. I do hope we get to see more from him in future installments of this series, though! I can see him becoming a favorite as well, eventually.

The baddies in this novel are truly evil. I mean, seriously... who sends young girls off to breeding houses to be raped over and over again in order to provide more soldiers for the bloodlust king's stupid war?! I am most grateful that we were saved from reading multiple scenes or any horrific details. The mere idea of this is terrible enough without having to read all about it and, as I'm known to do, visualizing everything I read, whether or not I want to. Eesh. Other than that, and some scenes of violence - which, honestly can't be avoided when there's a bloody war going on - this book is quite clean. Hats off to our fearless and talented author for pulling that off so well!

I thoroughly enjoyed diving headfirst into Defy! The pacing never seemed to lag or be too fast. The writing just flowed so effortlessly and was so engaging, I didn't even realize I was already getting near finishing. I didn't want to let go yet! Though the ending was tied up nicely enough to be a standalone, I'm happy to know there's another book coming next year. Being able to revisit these characters is something I will look forward to immensely! Over all, Defy is an imaginative, fantastical adventure led by a strong, independent young woman... and I loved it!

A favorite quote: “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 soul shines with that beauty, radiating it for all who have eyes to see.”

Sara loves writing, reading, and dessert--but the order varies by the day. She wrote her first book in second grade about a woman who had a premature baby, complete with a "to scale" drawing of the baby's size--while her mom was pregnant. To say she was a bit precocious is putting it lightly. Now that she’s an adult, she writes books for teens that have magic and romance and kick-butt girls (and very few premature babies). She lives in Utah with her husband, two young sons and baby girl. She writes during naptime and the hours when most people are sleeping. Her husband claims that she should have a degree in "the art of multitasking." On occasion you will find her hiding in a bubble bath with a book and some Swedish Fish. she is represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary and her YA debut Defy is coming January 2014 from Scholastic!

Physical book US addresses only/Audio book US and CA only
This is a TOUR WIDE giveaway. Prizes include:
5 Signed Copies of Defy
3 Audio Book Downloads of Defy
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. What a romantic story:) Two men vying for her heart! And I love fantasy so this is going on my TBR list! The story about the preemie baby cracked me up--you WERE precocious, lol.

    1. Isn't she, though?! I love cute stories like that.


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