I bought the book for my daughter, but it was something I wanted to read. Last week I got the chance. Yesterday I finished it.
I liked it.
I should say, I read a lot of Young Adult literature. I enjoy YA--it's, in a word, safe. Not that all YA stories are necessarily "safe" but there are aspects in these books that aren't in, say, a Stephen King or Michael Crichton yarn.
Larson's Defy begins with a slaughter. Twin children watch as a sorcerer kills his parents. The first thing one sibling does is cut his sister's hair. At first it seems an odd reaction, but the reasoning becomes perfectly clear. It cannot be known that Alexa, the girl twin, is indeed a girl. If so, her life will become a living hell.
Defy basically begins three years later. Alexa--now Alex--and her brother Marcel are guards to Prince Damian, the only living heir to his father. Both siblings are excellent fighters, but Alex is better. However, with many stories where a girl pretends to be a boy (because of ghastly repercussions if her lie is discovered...), things change--specifically to her own body--that threaten to destroy her world.
A war rages in the land between the king's people and an another army. Soon Alex, Damian, and another guard Rylan find themselves captured and they must somehow return to their own kingdom. How they do this is the plot. How Alex/Alexa survives is the story.
About the only time I have to read is on the bus rides to and from work. While at work there are down times, times to think about things, and many times, I think about the stories I read earlier in the day. While reading this book during those down times I found myself thinking about the "girl pretends to be a boy" plot device, and why it's used so much. A thought came to me--by pretending to be someone else, and by so doing, we can escape our own reality. I remember growing up. I remember pretending to be someone else and the freedom those thoughts can bring, even though they're fleeting. Is the urge to be someone else stronger in girls than boys? I can't say, but I know there's more stories out there of girls pretending to be boys than the other way around.
I always enjoy reading books from authors I've met. Sara and I were on a few author panels at a previous Salt Lake Comic Con. It's fun to watch these authors I know succeed. I watched Sara's books be checked out many times while I worked at the library. I have yet to read Ignite, and Endure, books two and three in the Defy series. It intrigues me to find out how this all comes together.