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?
You set a book in front of me that has a female lead forced to masquerade as a man and own it, I’m sold.
I love it.
Not only is she a girl who has to pretend she’s a boy (for years), but she’s the most elite fighter in the Prince’s guard. She’s beaten out all the other guys, and they’re the best of the best.
From the instant this story opens, I was thrown right into her world and the tragic loss of her parents. I could feel her desperation and fear and apprehension of facing the unknown.
I was hooked.
Enter Prince Damian–how can you not swoon over this man? At first he seems petulant and, well, a complete brat if I’m being honest. But there’s something about his eyes where you can see that he’s not who everyone thinks he is. He’s caring and fiercely loyal to protecting his people, and to righting the wrongs his father the King has inflicted in his sadistic quest for power.
The one person I was confused about was Rylan. At first I just thought he was a good friend to Alex, and I could tell something was blooming between Alex and Damian, but it felt like all of a sudden Alex also had deep feelings for Rylan where I felt like there was only friendship. It seemed abrupt to me, but I do love Rylan’s level of friendship and devotion to protecting Alex. Well, except for when he’s acting like a punk once jealousy rears its ugly head. It’s the romantic aspect between him and Alex that I wasn’t convinced about.
What I saw of the world building and the conditions of the people were vivid–I felt nauseated reading about the breeding houses and devastated as Alex’s loved ones were killed. I felt the blossoming love and uneasy distrust and every other emotion present.
I do love this story–I love the premise and I love the fierceness and I love some of the romance. I just want the next book to bump it up on the fierce and focus less on the love triangle, you know? I want Alex and Damian together, and to have them fight for and conquer the problems in the kingdom.
I’m eagerly anticipating the sequel!