A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.
Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.
The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?
I was more than disappointed in this book. It's upsetting because I was so excited to read it. The potential behind it was really good but the story as a whole was lacking a lot. By reading this story, I found myself thinking it was just a cheesy self-published book on amazon. (keep in mind I don't believe all self-published books are cheesy, I've enjoyed quite a few). The author definitely didn't have the best writing in the world. I could tell it was her debut novel.
The world building was done very poorly. I was confused on many aspects of the story. It take me about 20% through the book to finally understand where the plot took place and who was fighting who then I'd get confused again. I was hoping for more details on everything like what the palace looked like, the jungle, what exactly did the sorcerers do? The sorcerers became a big part of the book but I still wasn't exactly sure what they did besides magic.
Alas, our main character. I had a hard time connecting with her. I had no clue what she really looked like besides her having the same eyes as her brother and having long dark hair that she had to cut short. As a matter a fact, I had really no idea what any of the characters looked like besides the eye color and how their abs looked. Anyway, Alexa (who is more known as Alex) seems to come off as strong in the first 7% of the book then something happens and she becomes weaker and weaker until she is past the point of no return, literally. She let her emotions get in the way ALL THE TIME. I still am trying to figure out how she pretended to be a boy for so long because HOW DID SHE HIDE HER PERIOD?! like what? no.
I know sometimes love triangles can make a story, but this one destroyed it for me. She chooses one guy so the other guy is just... there. There as in the main character know's he's there but he was completely silent because he was always jealous and angry. Then Alexa kept telling us how she was aching to kiss so-and-so and once they did kiss, she always felt a "warmth" go through her body. To me, I took it as she's always horny, which I guess is okay considering puberty and such but it got annoying when she started obsessing over the guy's abs. I'm all for a cute romance and I'm a sucker for love, but Alexa has no clue what love is. She says she loves someone but then the next sentence she says she's not sure if she can trust them. Um excuse me? How can you love someone but not trust them? That's just asking for a disaster. The romance wasn't even that good. It made me gag and roll my eyes more than half the time. I gave up hope when I read about how the guy's eyes and torsos looked every other sentence.
I also found the book to be very predicable. When you find stuff out at the very end there wasn't a moment of *GASP WHAT?!* The ending for me happened way too fast as well. I didn't feel suspense or anything. It was just there then over and done with. However, I think I'd still recommend this if you want to read it; however, if you're a sucker for fantasy then this book will let you down.
“True beauty is what lies inside of us, not what the world sees. A beautiful shell that houses a vile soul becomes sullied over time. But an outer shell, imperfect as it may be, that houses a beautiful, shines with that beauty, radiating it for all who have eyes to see.”