Author: KayLynn Flanders
Release Date: July 21, 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
For fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Furyborn comes a thrilling new fantasy about a kingdom ravaged by war, and the princess who might be the key to saving not only those closest to her, but the kingdom itself, if she reveals the very secret that could destroy her.
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.
KayLynn Flanders is a graduate of Brigham Young University, with a degree in English Language and a minor in editing. When she’s not writing, she spends her time playing volleyball, reading, and traveling. She lives in Utah with her family, and thinks there’s nothing better than a spur-of-the-moment road trip. Her debut novel is Shielded. To learn more about KayLynn, go to kaylynnflanders.com or follow @kaylynnflanders on Twitter and Instagram.
Shielded is a fast-paced, adventurous read with strong characterization and beautiful world building. This was a book I could not put down.
Shielded is one heck of a debut, and I say that in a really good way. I loved this story so much. The world is phenomenal, the magic is unique and interesting, and the characters and relationships are wonderfully constructed. Plus, I loved the epic journey Jennesara went on to get to her destination. The author’s writing is breathtaking and a breath of fresh air. I have nothing but absolute praise for this fantasy debut.
The character development for the main character is so well-crafted. Jennesara is easily a likeable and relatable character. She’s strong and puts her family and kingdom above anything else. Though she originally refuses the arranged marriage to a neighboring kingdom, she ends up accepting it when her father explains how it will help save her kingdom. She’s brave and skilled in sword fighting (I loved the intense fighting scenes), which comes in handy, especially as she finds herself in constant danger with unimaginable magical beings. She’s also been hiding a dangerous secret for almost her whole life, a secret that could turn the tides of the war, but also puts her and those she loves in the front lines of danger, which she is not willing to risk. Jennesara is easily the embodiment of what a true heroine should be.
Jennesara isn’t the only character I loved. To be honest, I loved almost every character, even the villains (yes, you heard that, there’s multiple villains and it’s amazing and I’m here for it). I loved how the author included some chapters from the villains’ point of view; it allows the reader to see their backstory and understand why they’re the villains in this story. It also allowed the reader to see just how cruel each villain could be. Besides the villains, the side characters were amazing additions. I especially loved Chiara and Mari, sisters who would do anything to protect one another and Jennesara. It was beautiful watching all the relationships form.
And the romance is so swoon-worthy. It’s kind of (but not entirely) an insta-love story, but it works so well. It felt real and the attraction between Jennesara and her love interest was undeniable. I looked forward to every scene between the two characters; I could not get enough of them (and I’m beyond excited for more of them in book two!). It’s the romance like this in fantasy books that I look for – indisputable attraction, an instant yet fierce connection, and one worth protecting.
The world building absolutely blew me away. The world is magnificently crafted and beautifully described. Though this book was action-packed, the author took her time introducing the readers into new parts of the world, which I really liked. It wasn’t overwhelming at all and really molded well with the story. And the magic system was so unique. Not everyone is born with magic, mainly those part of the royal line and usually the first born. But what hooked me with the magic is how different it was from most magic systems. I loved the history of the magic and how, by the end of the book, it all came together. This book truly was a sensational read in every way.
Overall, Shielded is easily a favorite read of mine for 2020. It’s a strong and remarkable read, which left me feeling so much love for these characters and, of course, left me feeling in need of book two. If you are looking for an epic fantasy journey filled with intense action, believable characterization and strong relationship development, then definitely check out Shielded.
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars