Age Group: YA
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Publication Date: 25 November 2014
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?
My Thoughts:The synopsis of this book immediately caught my attention. I am a sucker for the protagonist hiding their true selves to survive trope. The author did a good job at conveying this trope and the circumstances that lead Alexa to hide her true identity. I fell in love with this book from the very beginning. The book was just so beautifully written that it left me eagerly anticipating what will happen in in the rest of the series.
One of the most striking aspects of this book was just how eloquent Larson's writing style is. I would often find myself re-reading passages, not because I was confused, but because of how vivid and powerful the passage was. Larson's truly has a poignant way of writing about a difficult subject matter that is both beautiful and impactful for the reader
The author's writing style also lent itself to the creation of a beautiful world. Larson created an amazing and vivid world that the reader could easily visualize. She really hit the sweet spot when it came to world-building; it never felt lacking nor did it ever feel like the descriptions were overdone, as can be the case with some fantasy novels.
The only negative I had for this novel was the love triangle. I personally am not a fan of love triangles, however, I do recognize that there are cases where they can be executed well, but for me, this was not one of them. The love triangle felt cheesy, forced, and altogether unnecessary to the plot. Moreover, the triangle didn't even feel like a true love triangle. It was pretty apparent to both the main character and the reader who she would end up with, there was never a real inner struggle as to who she would choose, instead, it was more of an unrequited love situation than a true love triangle. For those who either, love a cheesy romance or can look past it, this book would be a good choice. There are so many good things about this novel, that I was able to look past the cheesy love interest and enjoy it for everything else it brought to the table.