With a cover like that, you'd think that there would be action scenes, cunning plotting, a little kissing here and there, and more kingdom-protecting action. No. More than anything, Defy is a romance. And not even the Icona Pop "I don't care, I LOVE IT!" kind. I can't even process why I immensely dislike it because every time I start, my brain stops and I can't form proper coherent sentences, so I'm leaving it up to you guys to think about how terrible this was. (You can only imagine how long this review took me to write.)
When war ravages her family, Alexa's future is looking bleak, especially when girls are forced into breeding houses to populate future armies. But thanks to her quick-thinking twin brother Marcel, he "transforms" her into Alex, a terribly good swordsman. So good, in fact, that Alex and Marcel are appointed as the spoiled prince's own guards. The prince, however, seems to have different plans for the kingdom... plans that Alex might even die for. Because either way Alex faces, it all comes down to trust - and the wrong choice might tip the scales into the favor of chaos.
I thought that the most annoying, supposedly kick-butt female protagonist I would ever come across was Celaena Sardothien of Sara J. Maas' Throne of Glass. As it turns out, she has now been overthrown in favor of Alexa Hollen. I have absolutely no idea how Alexa managed to convince other guards she was Alex. At the sight of half-naked guys, she starts hyperventilating and going on and on about how naked it is. So for three years, Alexa still hasn't desensitized herself from seeing a naked guy. And she's part of the Royal Guard 24/7. I don't know about you, but I'm thinking that there's bound to be some equivalent of a Royal Guard Locker Room over there. It's like the author is insinuating that the only way readers can be reminded that Alex is a girl, is by having her distracted by rock-hard pecs and washboard abs. I mean, that's the only thing Alexa does all the time, aside from being a good fighter. Wait, let me stress that that's all she's good at - fighting. She's not even being a great citizen because, as I've summed it up from my personal GoodReads account, she "seemed to be more interested in the stage of undress of her romantic interests compared to the current affairs of the kingdom". THAT'S how annoying she gets when she's in the same room as Rylan and the Prince (Oh, wait. That happened too.) The romance was actually so distracting that any semblance of plot I had only ended up being more muddled.
The only person I found a teeny, tiny bit amusing was the prince. He plays with people the way cats play with mice, and it was mildly entertaining because it was like he was the only one who had any ounce of personality and backbone.
If you're looking for a heroine who trumps all the guys and does it while looking cool, Alexa is definitely not her. Defy is not for people who have come to expect an epic high fantasy.