Ignite (Defy, #2)

First Lines: The heat in the hallway was stifling, even though it was well past midnight.  Thick humidity lingered from a storm that had passed earlier in the evening, coating my skin with moisture.

I’m still on this giddy high from celebrating my blog’s 4th birthday, but I’ll try to calm myself marginally for this.  Ok.  So when I took Defy back to the library, this was actually on the shelf.  That practically never happens.  Naturally, I had to pick it up, even if I was just a bit undecided about whether or not I should read this.  (I’ll explain soon.)

*Potential Series Spoilers Ahead*

With Alexa’s biggest secret revealed to the people of Antion, one would have thought her life would’ve been easier, right?  Wrong.  Just a month into King Damian’s rule, the kingdom is under threat.  Blame is cast on the kingdom of Blevon, Antion’s best ally. Alexa realizes that things aren’t quite what they seem.  Can she protect King Damian and Antion from the real threat?  …And can Alexa continue to keep her other secret, that she’s desperately in love with King Damian?

Alright.  So in some respects, I feel like this series is something of a guilty pleasure series.  While I haven’t read many reviews of Defy, I read enough to know that the “best” reviewers (or at least the ones with a large following) seemed to think it was entirely fluff and not worth reading.  But I had quite enjoyed Defy.  I felt a little guilty wanting to read this one, like I was trying to eat chocolate at a dieter’s convention and hoping no one asks to see what I have.

But woah.  This book was so intense.  With all the different plot lines in the story and all the action in it, there never seemed to be a good stopping place to do things like eat and sleep.  Like a runaway freight train, this book just never stopped.

I liked the characters more in this book.  Now that Alexa’s secret is out, she was able to be herself more. She’s so fierce and strong, yet self-conscious when others begin to treat her differently now that they know she’s a girl.  I thought there was something very real about that.  When the other fighters thought she was a boy named Alex, she was revered.  As Alexa, some of them almost try to coddle her.  I think a lot of girls out there understand what Alexa’s going through and how frustrating that is.

On the flip side, Alexa does tend to play the martyr more in this book.  Part of her strength is that she is fiercely loyal to those she loves, but it does mean she tends to try to sacrifice herself to save them.  She didn’t seem to see that side of her personality, but others certainly did.  I can’t fully decide what I think of that.

Now we come to my favorite part: the court intrigue.  Oh the backstabbing, murderous nightmare of it all! (For whatever reason, I get all excited reading about backstabbing in a royal court; set in a high school, not so much.)  I loved how many different mysteries there were in the story and how many different ways Alexa was being pulled for her job.  There were so many layers to this that it was easy to get pulled into the story.

Like I mentioned above, the action in this one is practically nonstop.  So for the people who said the last book was more romance than fantasy/action, this is the opposite.  Definitely more action than romance.  Still, there is a romantic side to things, but it plays second fiddle to all the action.  Alexa has to save the kingdom, after all.

Overall, I thought this was an energetic and fun read that was always throwing a new punch at readers to surprise them and catch them off guard.

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