Endure (Defy #3) by Sara B. Larson


“The night came every day, stealing the sun’s power and turning the world to black. But every morning, the sun rose again, bringing light once more, no matter how dark the night has seemed. “

At last, Alexa and King Damian are engaged to be married. But their lives are far from safe. The kingdom of Antion is under siege, and Rylan is a prisoner of the enemy. Even worse, Alexa remains at the mercy of the evil Dansiian Rafe, who controls her mind and can force Alexa to kill or harm Damian at any moment. Despite this, Alexa is determined to rescue Rylan, which soon leads her far from Damian and deep into enemy territory.

When she arrives, what awaits her is deadlier than anything she could have ever imagined: an army of black sorcerers and a horrifying plot to destroy the world as Alexa knows it. Will she be able to gather the strength to free herself, protect the love of her life, and save the land? Will there ever be true peace?

Acclaimed author Sara B. Larson has woven a stunning, romantic, and evocative finale to the Defy trilogy that is sure to leave readers breathless until the very last page.

Personal Thoughts:

Endure is the third and final installment to Defy series by Sara B. Larson. I won’t go explaining the plot anymore for this one. I’m pretty sure readers of this series already anticipated what is coming and for new comers, well you can always check my review for Defy and Ignite or better yet just pick up the first installment of this thrilling fantasy series. You won’t regret it, trust me.

The prologue is told from Damian’s perspective which I’m sure followers of this series will surely enjoy. I’ve been asking for his point of view since book one and finally we all have it. Though it is shorter than what I want, it’s still a huge treat for me. I keep on smiling while reading that part, even feeling giddy from excitement. It’s just like how I imagine Damian’s voice and thoughts will be. Thank you so much Sara for adding Damian’s perspective in this final installment.

As for Alexa, she is still the strong heroine just like the girl we met from Defy and Ignite. She continue to proved her strength not just in combat but also in terms of battling emotions, but not so much in decision making. Love by Damian and soon to be Queen, she become more confident. Her battle scars become her source of strength instead of insecurities.

But another love make her susceptible and vulnerable. Ever since Rylan was taken by sorcerers we all know that it will only take time before Alexa will go and try to save Rylan. But saving Rylan means leaving Damian, making Damian and the Kingdom of Antion unprotected and defenseless. I understand why it has to be Alexa, why she needs to go and save Rylan even if it means losing her own life. I love Rylan, I really do, but between him and Damian I will always choose Damian, and not because Damian is a King or what Damian can offer but because I know he is the right choice for Alexa and together they can do a lot better. Also, between the two gentlemen, there’s more at stake for Damian. What’s one life and possibly some regrets against one Kingdom? Sometimes people need to make sacrifices.

When Alexa reveal that she also love Rylan, I waited for her to clarify her love, to explain it better. Though I know that it is possible to be very much in love with someone and have feelings for someone else, I also know that those love cannot be on the same level. There’s always one person you love the most. There’s always one person you are the best version of yourself with. There are infinite kinds of love and I want Alexa to pointed that out because I’m afraid that some readers might not understand her.

It seems that I keep on asking for more of Damian in this series. I always believe that he is the most interesting character that Sara created so far, and if given the chance to reveal Damian’s thoughts, I’m sure he will put more thrill and emotions in the story. The prologue and epilogue are not enough, if only Sara added more of Damian’s perspective maybe I won’t mind too much that Alexa and Damian are separated again.

So yeah, Damian and Alexa are separated in the huge part of the story. Alexa is busy saving her best-friend Rylan while Damian is either preparing for a war or worrying about Alexa. If only we saw those parts about Damian, I can only imagine how stressed Damian is. Which will surely reveal more sides of him and will add more thrill and depth to the story.

Anyway, even with not so much Damian in the story, I still think that Endure is a triumph and satisfying conclusion to a great fantasy trilogy. With non-stop dangers and actions, determined characters, Sara B. Larson crafted a thrilling ending to this wonderful series. Will definitely check what’s next from Sara B. Larson.

Ignite (Defy #2) by Sara B. Larson


“I feel like a pawn in a game that on one bother to teach me.”

Murder, abductions, and forbidden romance abound in this thrilling sequel to Sara B. Larson’s acclaimed YA debut, DEFY.

Alexa remains by the newly crowned King Damian’s side as his guard, ever committed to helping him rebuild Antion and reclaim the hope of Antion’s people, despite continuing to harbor a secret love for him. However, when another threat to Damian and his kingdom emerges, and blame is cast on their newly forged allies from Blevon, Alexa knows things are not what they seem. With the fate of her nation hanging in the balance once again, will Alexa be able to protect her king and uncover the true enemy — before it’s too late?

Book Links: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters | Goodreads | National Book Store

Personal Thoughts:

IGNITE is definitely an action and tension-filled fantasy story. Sara B. Larson didn’t waste time putting her characters to another whirlwind of challenges, both personal and professional.

Damian is the new King of Antion trying his best to rebuild the Kingdom after the devastating war. He is trying to make amends to his people after what the former King, his father done for the sake of power. His best guard, Alex/a still continue to hold a position as one of his guard, protecting him with her best of ability without hiding her true sexuality anymore. As the only female in the King’s guard, Alexa earned both respect and judgment from people around her. Some love her guts and other hate or envy her. But still she continue to serve the new-King and the whole Kingdom of Antion even being closer to the Damian means more heartache for her. She may not be pretending to be a boy anymore but she is still hiding something. She has to hide her true feelings for the King because she think that she isn’t good enough for him, and that Antion deserves a much better Queen than a scarred soldier like her.

Then new threats are coming, the peace that Antion held for awhile is in danger once more. There are attacks in their Kingdom and the blame leads to their new found ally, Blevon. But Alexa and Damian cannot believe it, not with Eljin saying differently and not after they made peace to the neighboring Kingdom. They have their theories but they need proofs before everything else goes wrong.

“I didn’t like him demonstrating his skills unnecessary. The people’s trust in him was a tenuous, fragile thing, and I was afraid that one wrong act on his part would cause it to break.”

Alexa is still the smart and tough soldier that she is just like in the first book, DEFY. But without the pretension of being a boy we are now be able to see more of her softer side. Her feelings for Damian though concealed to everyone but her, gives readers access to a more loving and caring Alexa. Her confusions, and heartache are more visible and easy to felt. Her struggle to adopt to being the only girl in the King’s guard is handle very well by the author. Showing Alexa’s insecurities and doubts make her more accessible and relate-able.

“Again, I wondered what he was hoping to accomplish.”

Damian is constantly an enigma to me. Just like in DEFY he continue to be so mysterious that sometimes I wish the story is written in his point of view instead of Alexa or at least in dual perspective just so I would know what he was thinking or planning. Like during the dinner with Lady Vera, I keep on wondering his plans for the girl, what he really think her motive is for visiting and how is he planning to handle the situation in his Kingdom or with Alexa. I really wish I know what’s running in his mind. I think he holds the answers to most of my questions than Alexa.

“I wish I could go after him. I feel so trapped here, in my palace. On my throne. I am a king, and yet I’ve never felt more powerless to do something.”

As a new King, Damian holds so much power in his hands, he has a whole battalion of guards/army to command, a whole nation is under him. But Damian has his own low moments too. And in this novel, Sara successfully shows Damian’s vulnerability without making him weak. Like when he wants to go to the jungle to save someone he love. As much as he wants to put himself out there, as a King he can’t just do so, because he has now a whole kingdom to protect, and a whole nation to serve. It’s not about just him or his love ones, he needs to consider the majority of his people, and sometimes it is kingdom first before anyone or anything else. During those times it’s so easy to feel Damian’ struggles which in return shows more of his emotions, love, and honesty. It makes it so easy to connect to him and to just love him more.

As I close the final page of IGNITE, I feel contented even with the cliffhanger ending. Sara managed to deliver a full story in this novel even with a few plot arcs to work around. For a middle book of a series, Ignite is pretty impressive. It doesn’t just act as a bridge to next book but it is very essential to the whole series. It’s like Ignite has it’s own plot running inside a much larger plot arc of the whole series. If in DEFY, we have the war between the two Kingdoms of Antion and Blevon, and Alexa and Damian’s secret identity and special ability to uncover, now in Ignite we have a new enemy for Antion – a much frightening and more deadlier enemy which actually playing an important role in the first book without the readers knowing it. There’s also more progress to Alexa and Damian relationship, and more secrets and powers to explore. I don’t know how Sara planned this whole series but it feels like she has the whole story panned out from the start. Like she knows where she is going and what steps she is taking to get there. And those cliffhangers are there not for the gimmicky purpose of getting the readers to read the next book but because the characters has more exciting stories to tell. And even without the cliffhangers, I personally still read these novels of Defy series simply because I care for the characters that I am so eager to know what’s their next adventure.

All in all, IGNITE is a thrilling and intense sequel to DEFY. Sara B. Larson is up on her game of giving us a new fantasy series to love. The stakes are higher, villains are more irritating, and actions and plot are more intense. This series is definitely a must read for YA fantasy lovers.

*This review is based on a copy I received courtesy of the publisher, Sholastic Press Philippines in exchange for an honest opinion.