Shielded Review and Author Interview

About the Book:

Title: Shielded

Author: Kaylynn Flanders

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: July 21, 2020

Pages: 432

Genre: YA Fantasy

Synopsis:

Shielded hi-res cover

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.

Review:

4.5

 

*I received an e-arc from the author and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

I truly enjoyed this story and thought it was a great debut! It hooked me in right from the beginning.  I thought there was great world building, action, betrayal, epic battle scenes, a unique magical system, romance, and some amazing characters, including some villains of course.

I especially love the main character, Princess Jennesara. She is one of my new favorites! She’s a very likable heroine. She’s not a princess in jeopardy or someone with an overly troubled past, she’s just a girl that’s doing her duty for her kingdom. Her father tells her she must marry the Prince of Turia for the good of the kingdom, and she obeys. I thought that spoke volumes of her character, that she was willing to sacrifice her desires for the security of her kingdom. She leaves the innocence of her childhood behind, to face her fears and the unknown. I enjoyed the journey and watching her come into her own.

I think the only part of the story that I found a little confusing were some of the sections about the villains, especially toward the end of the book. Some of the scenes seemed a little rushed. I’m hoping that we learn more about these villains and what exactly makes them tick in the next book. Is it only power and revenge fueling them, or is there more to it?

A great start to a series! I laughed, I cried, and I cheered along as I read this book. I felt that the ending was satisfying and I can’t wait to see what happens to Jenna and company in the sequel.

Author Interview:

1.) What initially inspired you to write Shielded?

The idea for Shielded started from a dream. The dream was really different from what the book turned into (there were neon yellow tanks in the dream?), but the emotions for the moment in the dream stayed. I won’t share spoilers, but there were people in danger, and I woke up before they were safe, my adrenaline rushing with the cliffhanger. I came up with a solution (magic!) so I could go back to sleep, but the characters stayed with me. I let that idea grow over a few months, asking questions about who the characters were, why they were in danger, and how they got out of danger, and eventually, it all became Shielded.

2.) For those that don’t know Jennesara (Jenna for short), how would you describe her in three words?

Fierce, loyal, compassionate.

3.) Jenna has such a close relationship with her brother which I really enjoyed, having a brother of my own. Is their relationship inspired by any of your true life relationships?

I have two awesome older brothers! Jenna really needed a solid anchor with the load she carries, so I pulled my favorite parts of my relationship with my brothers and put it into Jenna and Ren’s relationship.

4.) I absolutely loved Jenna’s training and battle sequences. How much research went into getting those scenes just right?

Fight scenes can be really tricky to write, so I wanted to be sure I got them right. The bulk of the research was a lifetime of reading high fantasy books and watching Marvel movies with epic fights. But I also acted out the scenes, seeing if they flowed and if the actions made sense. For the self-defense scene later in the book, I had my husband grab me from behind to see if a technique I’d learned from YouTube could work. (I didn’t flip him like *the character does in the book, but I totally could have, which was cool! *hashtag no spoilers)

5.) Enzo is so adorable! Which actor would you cast to play him?

I’m sure there are more great options out there, but a young Ben Barnes (like from Prince Caspian) would be perfect! Or maybe Asher Angel? I am not great at casting. 😀

6.) Is your website the best place to find out about preorder campaigns or signed copies of the book? 

Yes! There should be information forthcoming about a preorder campaign I’m really excited about (including signed copies). There will be information on my website, and on my social media as soon as everything’s ready.

About the Author:

Flanders_Author2018 hi res

KayLynn Flanders has a degree in English Language and editing, and has been a freelance editor and book designer for over ten years. Her debut novel, a YA fantasy, will be published by Delacorte (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. Find her online at kaylynnflanders.com.

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