Endure (Defy, #3)

endure-defy-3-sara-b-larsonFirst Lines: My father taught me that the only way to ensure your subjects’ loyalty is to make them fear you.  He used cruelty and terror as tools to ensure his power.

When I first discovered this series about a year ago, I ate it up.  Then I had to wait almost a whole year to read this one, the finale.  And I was terribly afraid that I wouldn’t like it as much as I did the first book.  Don’t you just hate that?  But I had to read it anyway.

*Potential Series Spoilers Ahead*

Finally, Alexa and Damian are engaged.  But that does not mean their lives are suddenly happily-ever-after.  Antion is under siege, Rylan is a prisoner in Dansii, and Alexa is still under the influence of Rafe, the Dansiian sorcerer.  One word from Rafe, and she could be forced to kill Damian.  Still, Alexa is determined to save Rylan, who is deep in enemy territory.  When she arrives, things are worse than she could have predicted.  An army of black sorcerers await word from King Armando to destroy the world as Alexa knows it.  Will she be able to save Rylan and protect her friends and homeland?  Will there ever be peace?

What I really admire about this series is Alexa’s strength.  I mean, it started out feeling like a fantasy version of Mulan, but it’s gone to so much more than that.  Alexa continually outperforms, outwits, and outlasts male competition all the time.  Finally, by this book, people aren’t underestimating her anymore.  But what’s really neat is that Alexa’s strength is starting to rub off on other female characters, who also want in on the action now.  I loved seeing that.

I mentioned in a previous review that Alexa has something of a martyr complex.  If someone’s in trouble–no matter who–she basically feels like she’s responsible and needs to throw herself into danger for them. It’s still a little annoying, but I’ve also come to accept that that’s Alexa’s character, so it doesn’t bother me as much.  Still, I wish she’d learn that sometimes, other people are capable of getting themselves out of trouble.  She doesn’t need to save everyone.

Perhaps one of the most interesting characters in this book was King Armando, the mad king of Dansii.  He had such a big personality and, you know, may have been a few fries short of a Happy Meal.  But that made him intriguing and unpredictable because crazy people aren’t exactly known to be rational.  If he hadn’t been evil, I might have really liked him as a character.

The beginning of the book was a little slow as I sank back into the world of Antion and sorcerers (a part of the story I had completely forgotten), but it eventually got a lot faster.  The action picked up nicely and I soon became very interested in what happened.  Lot of fighting, lots of heartbreaking moments, and lots of epicness.  Oh yes, I went there.

At the same time, though, the ending wasn’t terribly original.  It took a few daring changes, I’ll give it that, but they were also the daring chances I’ve more or less come to expect from final showdowns.  You know what I mean?  At this point, there’s very little that can surprise me in an ending.  (Allegiant, so far, has been the best in that regard.)

Anywho, it’s a pretty good conclusion to this series.  Especially if you’re looking for fights and a lot of violence from a madman.

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