Synopsis: 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?
This book is the cure to any fantasy craving. It has all the elements that I love in a fantasy - a strong heroine, a prince who is more than he seems, an evil king, an epic journey, magic and so much more. It is a surprisingly quick read, but the story moves fast and it’s packed with danger, hope and love. It was effortless to get get drawn into this world.
I loved the way Sara executed the whole girl-pretending-to-be-a-boy scenario. Alexa’s identity forms around the fact that she had spent years adopting a masculine presence, but she never really lets go of her feminine side. Somehow she pulls the best aspects of men and women and becomes an incredible character. She works incredibly hard to become strong, stoic and brave, but she still is able to be soft and emotional without apology.
There’s love triangle thing surprised me. I usually side with the best friend, instead of the flashy new guy. So I was all set to do that, when all of a sudden the flashy new guy totally surprised me and won me over. Also, I have to say that it starts out as a potential love triangle, but very quickly that feeling disappeared for me. Alexa was very clear about who she wanted, so I didn’t ever question who she was going to pick. Still, the way the relationships played out surprised me.
The world was great and I was able to visualize it wonderfully. I love the jungle setting, that was a refreshing location. I had a minor problem with the fact that the world feels like it only exists within the pages and I can picture it unfolding beyond what is told. It felt very much like it all rolled out and characters formed when I started reading and that they’d stay in place when I stopped. But still while I was reading it was easy to imagine and to journey with the characters.
One of the best things about this book is how hopeful it is. There are some terribly dark aspects and a really horrible villain, but in everything there is hope. There’s this feeling that there’s always a way to make something happen. That no matter how bad it is, there’s an answer if you’re willing to fight for it.