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.
If you’re looking for a fun and fast paced fantasy with a kick ass heroine, brilliant world building and LOTS of action then Shielded might just be the book for you!
Jenna wants nothing more than to prove herself, she knows she is more than just a Princess, that her skills on the battlefield are almost unparalleled. Unfortunately, with no magic she is not in line for the throne and instead of putting her to use in battle her father decides she can do more for her country through marriage, marriage to someone she has never met. When her caravan is ambushed on the way to meet her betrothed Jenna realises that the rumours of magic on the battlefield weren’t exaggerated, in fact they may be in more trouble than they originally thought. As the only survivor she takes it upon herself to travel to Turia, to find the truth about the attack and hopefully find the information she needs in their library. It will take Jenna aligning herself with her supposed enemy and revealing something about herself she has kept hidden for years to save the kingdom from a danger no one imagined.
I enjoyed this book as a whole and a large part of that was Jenna. She is unbelievably strong, not just physically but mentally. She loves her family without question and when she fears for their safety throws herself into unknown danger to try and save them. She knows she will never be Queen, but wants to prove herself by becoming a warrior like no other and desperately wants her father to acknowledge her prowess. Unfortunately, he see’s her as a girl first and what better way for a girl to help her kingdom than through marriage. Even though she resigned herself to the fact that she would be married, she never stopped her training and I admired her resilience.
We get introduced to a whole host of other characters in this book, but we see them all through their relationships with Jenna. Relationships play a big part in the book, whether they are familial or romantic and with Jenna being an easy person to like and trust she had no trouble in making friends. We have Prince Ren, Jenna’s older brother, I adored the relationship between these two. He see’s her for what she truly is and they have a bond that is near impossible to break. Prince Enzo, Jenna’s betrothed is another favourite of mine, another character that completely accepted Jenna for who she was, he wasn’t broody or simpering, he knew what he wanted and what was right and made sure to fight for it. Two of my favourite, but probably smaller relationships were Yesilia and Master Hafa, both push Jenna to become the best she can be and even though they might come across as slightly standoffish you can feel the bonds that tie them together and know they would do almost anything to protect her.
The world building in this book was brilliant. Through Jenna we get to travel through Halendi and Turia as well as The Wild, a forest that separates both kingdoms. Jenna spends a good portion of the book in the Wild and while I got some serious fey vibes from it, I felt in places it wasn’t described as well as it could be and I found bits slightly hard to follow. I enjoyed seeing the differences between the two kingdoms, especially through Jenna’s perspective. She has grown up in a Kingdom of Ice and Wind and in Turia struggles with the heat and wonders at the amount of life that lives there.
I’ve seen some people say the romance in this book was insta love, and while it was fast, I would say it was more insta like. You could definitely tell there was an attraction there, but their lack of trust with each other stopped anything from happening until much later on in the book. Because of this I found it a little more realistic.
This was a fast paced book, we fly from plot point to plot point and there is really no good place to put it down. That being said, I do feel that the author lacked a little in her descriptive writing. I don’t want four pages to describe a tree, but I felt it was a little simplistic and that she traded descriptions for the action scenes, because there were a lot of action scenes. The battle scenes easily came to life, I only struggled a little with the scenes that included the mages as I had a tough time slightly imagining what was happening and felt a little lost in some parts.
I enjoyed this book overall and liked that it was a standalone. If you like a lot of action, fast paced plot and a likeable and kick ass female lead then this is the one for you.