Author: Sara B. Larson
Source: from publisher for review
Review Summary: The author included all the things I love in YA fantasy – gripping action, relatable protagonist, fascinating world-building – but she lost me with the annoying love triangle and pointlessly unhappy ending.
Only by disguising herself as a boy is Alexa safe from a fate worse than death. Fortunately, her impressive fighting skills quickly earn her a place in the elite prince’s guard. In that position, she’ll have to decide where her loyalties lie, with her prince or her kingdom. Her decision will influence the fate of her world. Also, there is a love triangle.
That’s what the book should have been like, anyway. Oh, and by the way, a love triangle. Instead, the love triangle took over the book. There wasn’t much misplaced romance in the middle of danger, but there were moments when I wondered why we were spending time on this. The fate of kingdoms was in the balance! I didn’t care much which of the men who somehow fell in love with the boyishly disguised Alexa ended up with her. Given how much of the story was devoted to this love triangle, I was extra annoyed by the ending. Character’s who create their own romantic problems are one of my pet peeves.
The love triangle was especially disappointing given how good the rest of the book was. The writing was vividly descriptive, drawing me right into the constant action and intrigue. I loved the characters and the character development. The plot wasn’t too novel or surprising, but it reminded me of Tamora Pierce’s books in a great way. Were it not for the love triangle, I easily could have given this four or five stars. It wasn’t the worst love triangle I’ve ever read, with a reasonably decisive heroine. However, my interest in her love life paled beside the fascinating political intrigue which I wish had gotten more attention throughout the book.