The kingdom of Hálendi is in trouble. It’s losing the war at its borders, and rumors of a new, deadlier threat on the horizon have surfaced. Princess Jennesara knows her skills on the battlefield would make her an asset and wants to help, but her father has other plans.
As the second-born heir to the throne, Jenna lacks the firstborn’s–her brother’s–magical abilities, so the king promises her hand in marriage to the prince of neighboring Turia in exchange for resources Hálendi needs. Jenna must leave behind everything she has ever known if she is to give her people a chance at peace.
Only, on the journey to reach her betrothed and new home, the royal caravan is ambushed, and Jenna realizes the rumors were wrong–the new threat is worse than anyone imagined. Now Jenna must decide if revealing a dangerous secret is worth the cost before it’s too late–for her and for her entire kingdom.
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Yay! I was so pleasantly surprised by this book. Shielded is a charmingly familiar, fast-paced, well-developed little fantasy.
I won’t say that Shielded is ground-breaking. It’s filled to the brim with YA fantasy tropes, but in the best possible way. Flanders took these stereotypes and used only the best parts of them. I loved the characters, the world, and the magic system, although they are all things I’ve seen before. The characters were lovable (especially the love interest, oh my) and multidimensional, and there’s definitely no lack of strong females. Some of the characters could be a bit dense and/or frustrating, but this only made me want to read more.
Flander’s writing is engaging and fast-paced; there is a good balance between description, dialogue, and action (also magic!). Her prose is definitely on the more well-written side of YA authors, but nothing more mature than that.
The plot was pretty suspenseful, for the most part. There were a few scenes that lagged, but these were negligible and didn’t stop me from tearing through this book. There are some good twists throughout that I definitely didn’t see coming (and some that I certainly did).
I know it sounds like most of my review is pretty neutral, but something about this book just worked for me. I think I just really needed a well-written fantasy that wasn’t too heavy, and Shielded was exactly that. This book is great for fans of Elise Kova and books like The Kiss of Deception.
Shielded is suitable for the younger side of the YA audience, although there are a few mature themes.