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Reviewed by:
  • Shielded by Kaylynn Flanders
  • Natalie Berglind

Flanders, Kaylynn Shielded. Delacorte, 2020 [432p] Trade ed. ISBN 9780593118535 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 9780593118559 $10.99 Reviewed from galleys M Gr. 7-10

When Jennesara, seventeen-year-old second child to the king of Hálendi, is betrothed to the prince of Turia, she's afraid that her secret will get out: only the heir to Hálendi is supposed to have magic, but she has the tell-tale magical white streak in her hair. An ancient mage ambushes the party traveling to Turia, and Jenna escapes disguised as one of her servants and fumbles her way into the Turian palace, the perfect, and most dangerous, place to conduct research on the mage's agenda and reasons for targeting her family. As Jenna gets closer to the answers, she also grows closer to Prince Enzo, whom she was supposed to marry, while back at home, Hálendi declares war on Turia to avenge Jenna's apparent death. This fantasy novel plays on many tropes that trended a decade ago and have since been improved upon; additionally, plot holes impede sympathy and comprehension, as when Jenna allows people to die for her instead of letting everyone know she has not been murdered. Cliché reveals are abundant, with Prince Enzo also having a secret identity plot that's so obviously foreshadowed that it puts Jenna's intelligence in an unflattering light for missing it. Additionally, Jenna is allegedly strong (physically and magically), but is incapacitated multiple times each by poison and wounds, which places her in vulnerable situations where men constantly rescue her.. New fantasy readers may discover something fresh in this trope-heavy introduction to the genre, but savvy readers will want to look elsewhere. [End Page 472]



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