Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Book Tours for the opportunity to be on this blog tour! I was so excited to read this book! KayLynn is a local author to me, so not only was I excited to pick up her debut, a lot of reviewers I trust were saying how incredible this book is! There was a lot of hype going in with me, but this book went above and beyond what I expected.
Author: KayLynn Flanders
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: July 21, 2020
Genres: YA Fantasy
I received an eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Once I picked this book up, I could not put it down. This book is fast-paced, exciting, with a fantastic plot that propelled me to the thrilling climax. This book has so much that I love: arranged marriage trope, magical woods, fierce warrior princess, political intrigue, and so much more. It was packed full of the best things I love in fantasies.
My favorite part of this book, by far, were the characters. I was able to connect with Jennesara and her struggle to live up to her potential and help her kingdom in the best way possible. She’s fierce, capable, and determined to do what’s right. I loved being in her head. I also loved her relationship with the other characters in this story. She and her brother are so good to each other—it just warmed my heart. Her relationship with her love interest is one of my favorites! It’s not exactly a slow-burn, but it’s definitely not insta-love either. Their relationship was developed so well, and I loved it to pieces. One thing that Flanders does really well is let the reader feel what Jenna is feeling. Her emotions are so strong that there were a couple of times I was tearing up or jumping for joy, or somewhere in between, because Jenna was feeling those emotions. That aspect of the novel is SO strong.
Another fun part of the book is the magic system. There are no cut-and-dry rules in this world, so it was fun to see Jenna explore the magic of the world herself. I’m excited to see how this is expanded in the sequel.
- There are some adorable family relationships featured in this book. I loved that part so much!
This is a fantastic debut! I really enjoyed my time reading this book, and I cannot wait for the sequel. For those who enjoy books by Sara B. Larson and Rebecca Ross, I think you should definitely pick this one up.
KayLynn Flanders has a degree in English Language and editing, and has been a freelance editor and book designer for over twelve years. Her debut novel, a YA fantasy, will be published by Delacorte Press (Penguin Random House) July 21, 2020. KayLynn and her family live in Utah between some mountains and a lake, and she is directionally challenged without them. She loves reading, writing, traveling, and volleyball, and thinks there’s nothing better than a spur-of-the-moment road trip.
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