Defy by Sara B Larson
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?
Alexa is a talented fighter who has to pretend to be a young man to stay in the prince’s guard and stay out of the horrendous breeding house. The characters are rich and entertaining. And Alexa has a great chemistry with both the prince and her best friend Rylan. While she is a strong and fierce fighter, she’s still a teenage girl with all of the heightened emotions that come with it.
Defy is a powerful story wrought with mystery, intrigue, magic, and a bit of romance. Well-paced and thoroughly engaging from beginning to end, I couldn’t put this one down. This fantastic YA debut is surprising and unforgettable. I highly recommend this fantasy adventure for teens and adults alike. The sequel can’t come soon enough.