This is one of those rare, fun-loving, heart-breaking, terrifically plotted books that suck you right in from page one. Jenna is a top-notch heroine; brave, level-headed, and strong. And don’t me started on the cover. I can’t wait to hold the finished copy in my hands and take lots of bookstgram pics with it because that is what I do with pretty books. I love them and squeeze them and make sure the world knows about them.
Jennesara, who is our protagonist, has a head on her shoulders. She loves to sword-fight, but her father, the king, frowns upon it. When he marries her off to a neighboring kingdom, she swallows her stubbornness and obeys, if only for the good of her kingdom. She’s brave in more ways than one in that she puts her kingdom before her own well-being. But when it is time to fight for her own life, she does so without hesitation. She’s tough in a way that is self-taught and not overly done. She’s not a warrior. She’s just a princess with a secret passion for weapons.
I won’t spill too many details but let’s talk about the romance. When the romantic interest was finally revealed, I was totally knocked off my seat. That twist though! I actually thought one character would be the love interest, but the author took it a different direction. When the feels began, it was OH SO SWEET! I want to just hug them both until they beg for mercy. MY LITTLE CINNAMON ROLLS!!!!
KayLynn Flanders has a unique way with words. While she does not go overly flowery, her writing flows well and sucks you in.
So, my four-star rating is because of the pacing. I found myself without breath at some points, with no real room to take it all in. I understand this is a fast-paced book and there’s A LOT going on. I only felt it was smushed together too tightly.
While the themes and the basic structure of the book are the same as a million others, there’s something different about this one that I can’t pinpoint. Mostly, I think it’s because it reminds me of an early book I once wrote about a defiant princess with secret magic and a handsome boy who fight together against the baddies who want them dead.
Maybe I should dig that story out and revamp it. KayLynn, you have inspired me!
But other than that, SHIELDED is an addicting book that YA fantasy fans with devour.
Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for the e-arc.