Thank you to KayLynn Flanders, Delacorte Press, and Netgalley for sharing this copy in exchange for my honest review! This review is accompanied by a fun moodboard I created for the book! It’s mostly based off of Jennesara and the kingdom of Hálendi.
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.
This is a spoiler-free review! There’s lots of secrets in this novel, so I’m sorry if I’m vague, but I want everyone to have the same reading experience I did, where everything is a surprise. Feel free to email or DM if you want to chat in-depth!
Three days later, I’m STILL thinking about Shielded! My heart was in my throat for the last 25%, and I can’t urge you strongly enough to go read this book. Featuring magic, kingdoms, and all of the things that make my fantasy-loving heart tick. Shielded is pretty straightforward as a fantasy—it’s not exactly morally grey, but I tore through it in just a few days.
Jenna’s relationship with her family was one of my favorite parts. I could definitely feel her love for her brother and father, and this also raised some interesting plot points. On her own, Jenna is brave and heroic as expected, even though she’s struggling with a secret at times. She grows into herself over the course of the novel, which I loved to see. She was incredibly bold and strong at the end in a way I don’t think she’d have become without the events beforehand. We LOVE to see character progression! We LOVE understanding a character’s motivation and what makes them tick!
Furthermore, we love an interesting plot line! Shielded is full of running and chasing, and you’re never *quite* sure when everyone will be safe and who Jenna can trust, but that’s what makes it fun. The beginning starts out a bit slow, but it picks up soon after that and then it’s unputdownable. One of the reasons for this is a cute new romance that everyone will fall for. There’s a little bit of pining, but mostly just cuteness! Lots of mutual life-saving as well, which is always fun.
The only thing I was confused about was the motives of the villain. I wish that character had been fleshed out a bit more instead of dropped in at the end of the story. I’m hoping some of my questions can be answered in book 2, which is forthcoming! I honestly don’t know how I can wait over a year to find out what happens next in Hálendi.
Overall, 5 stars for action and excitement! Shielded will definitely shock you out of a reading slump.
Hey, I'm Shreya! I love to read, write, travel, and drink coffee.
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