Shielded – KayLynn Flanders

This book was written for my tastes exactly.

  • Hidden Identities
  • Mage Jewelry
  • Betrayal’s so fine

Any one of these things would absolutely draw me in, but together, I feel like that gif of Pacha from The Emperor’s New Groove. Mmm perfect.

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.

As an adult reviewer for YA, or really as a reader in general, I have gotten to a point where it is extremely, extremely hard to surprise me. But this one kept me on my toes. I had suspicions, but I was never sure. I kept thinking, ah so this is what’s gonna happen, only to be taken another direction. I appreciated that.

For me Jennesara was such a star. She had a sense of hustle that was incredible to me. The sheer instinct to survive was fabulously done. Some of her decisions might have led to more trouble, but I could always understand why she chose to make them.

The side characters were also full of energy and personality. The sibling relationship in this story is as heartbreaking as it is sweet. There is a surly-out-of-loyalty friend and guard. A touching royal family bond. A lot of these details were just absolutely lovely and enhanced the world.

The comps are solid to me. This has just the adventure and soft boy that A Sorcery of Thorns had, (And Mages. Love me some mages.) but I would also compare it to some fantasy classics, the atmosphere and prose bring Kristin Cashore’s and Robin McKinley’s works to mind as well.

Ultimately, this story was perfectly epic and a great starter fantasy for anyone jumping from MG to YA as well as an essential addition to anyone’s YA fantasy collection.

There’s also a few more days to participate in KayLynn’s preorder campaign, which is GORGEOUS. You’ll get the following:

  • vintage travel postcard featuring a scene from SHIELDED, art by Danielle Sylvan
  • official bookmark and sticker
  • laptop sticker to first 40 entrants
  • digital download of chapters 1 & 2
    of Shielded
  • signed bookplate 

Find all the details, as well as pre-order links on KayLynn’s website.

KayLynn Flanders debut will arrive on July 21, 2020.

This title was provided on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


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