IWSG: Cancelled and Book Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson
Sad to say today I have to cancel my Cover Reveal for Deadly Luxury. I had gotten an inkling of this late January but I tried to fight it. Here's the quick version. When I announced the reveal last month, the cover was practically a done deal. I have an awesome cover artist who did the last cover and her services are very affordable on Fiverr. But like last time I needed an image to give her first. I got one but this time I needed it retouched to be made into a digital version of itself similar to covers by Phat Puppy Art. Getting someone was easy, what was the problem was that after going through a long process til practically the end of January (which should have raised alarm bells earlier), she up and cancels and gives me my money back. What the what?! Left out at sea I go to another retoucher only to have him do the work but not following instructions and removing the entire background, he did the work quick though so I commended him and just asked him to modify the error. Days later and I still haven't received a message or correction from him. So officially, I still don't have a cover despite the fact that this should have been done long ago and the cover designer I use gets things done in two days max. Alas since these retouchers are a bunch of....sigh, I have had enough. My decision is officially to move the reveal to a new date after I get a new one done. AFTER this time.
Good news? With my ghost writer gig as of this month I can afford a non-budget designer like Jen Naumann did with her latest book. So instead of spending under $40 like with Sacrifice HER, I can spend between $90-$120, a huge jump. So I guess there is a silver lining in all this. Still feel bad about cancelling and having to tell all those who volunteered to help that the reveal is off, but at least I know this will lead to a better cover. Thank you for listening to me rant and moan and I love you guys.
IWSG is hosted by the wonderful Alex Cavanaugh. also this month's co-hosts are Julie Musil, Jamie Ayres, Mike Swift, and me, Sheena-kay Graham. Enjoy your day and please read the book review below before you comment.
Defy by Sara B. Larson
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Purchase: Amazon, B&N
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Sara B. Larson hit it out of the park with this novel. No matter the faults this is a must read not only for those who enjoy reading but also writers/authors. The writing is superb and if you want to improve on your writing I suggest using this book as fun source material on how to write not just well but also tell an attention grabbing story. At the beginning we have siblings Alex and Marcel. Alex is the main character disguised as a boy to join the army with her brother to avoid the breeding houses. They serve a strong but cold hearted king who is willing to let his people suffer in order to protect the kingdom from their enemies. Especially deadly sorcerers who can wield deadly fire that killed both the soldier serving siblings parents years before. When tragedy strikes during an attack Alex has to face her challenges with even more caution as her secret is always at risk of being revealed. When an attack on the prince puts her in a vulnerable position, she now has to not only guard her secret but her heart as well. Then Rylan, her fellow soldier reveals something shocking and a love triangle soon develops but not without a kidnapping that has Damian-the prince, Alex(a) and Rylan taken from the castle and led by a band of rebels into enemy territory. Talk about a hot mess in fantasy land.
What I love with this novel is the writing, Sara's writing has me taken into a world where being a girl is dangerous and also being a boy is dangerous as well. But between the nasty breeding houses or the soldier draft, I'd pick the latter. The first would have me running for a cliff. Raped over and over to deliver boys for the king's army? Oh hell to the no! I also enjoyed the beginning when Alex was hiding her 'girlhood' and you got to see the sacrifices both she and her brother made to stay alive and keep Alex's secret. Alex to me was a cool character and Marcel was a true gem. Then things took a turn. A turn that will have me reveal what I hate about this novel. Yes not dislike...hate. Alexa (yes I used the female in this part because...ugh, just read) suddenly turns from this strong boyish character to some confused love sick gender bender after she is assigned to personally guard prince Damian after a direct attack on his life. Seriously, I must say that romance ruined a lot of this book for me. Wash my mouth out with soup but without the romance this book would have been better than Divergent in my honest opinion. Sadly with it and story lines bent to go along with the love triangle that dropped Alexa's cool factor faster than Miley's ever increasing twerk appearances....I must say that this book's fault is bending too the pressure of being overly romantic in a book where all that was unnescarry. Just think if in Hunger Games, Katniss while in the cave with Peeta suddenly started giggling and twirling her hair. I mean seriously Sara? Are you sure that this turn about was not you trying to turn Alex into Alexa just a tad too much?
But despite the faults, I love this novel and can't wait for book two. This is a five star book with a sadly three star fault level. But thanks to the amazing writing I have to give it a high rating and recommendation. Just...try not to get reading murdered by the hacky love triangle.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
P.S.: Before those who love the 'romance' go ape on me, know that over at goodreads a lot of other reviewers had this problem. So it's not just me. Now love or hate me away. Release the doves!