Teen reviewer Kate Marsh, 14, read Defy by Sara Larson. Lately Kate has been really into fairy tale retellings. And she'd read glowing reviews about Defy (a Mulan-type story) on Goodreads. But, unfortunately, she found it lacking:
"Compared to other fairy tale-type books, this one was fairly disappointing. The world that was built was really strong, and I really liked the new fantasy element with the sorcerers, but the characters were very dull. Alexa, or Alex, was Mulan, and she was very two-dimensional. When she was put into really scary situations, she would make really frustrating choices. The other characters, such as the prince, were really interesting, but we didn't get to find out much about them in this book. There is supposed to be a sequel, so I hope it will be more entertaining character-wise."
Kate feels Defy would be appropriate for teens age 13-15. Unfortunately, she wouldn't recommend it.