Author: Sara B. Larson
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Summary: 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?
I was beyond disappointed with this book. Why are they allowed to just blatantly lie in the summary? “A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.” It says that right on Goodreads. Those dirty rotten lying scum. Lush? I don’t think I’ve read a book with such little word building in a long time. Literally, the only thing I can tell you about this world is that there is a jungle and people are at war. I can’t even remember the names of any of the places. Hell, the only reason I can remember the name of the main character is because they say it a million goddamn time through out the book. Seriously, if someone goes through and counts how many times they say “Alex” or “Alexa”, I will be forever in your debt. The two guys are constantly saying her name and I don’t even know why. It was beyond infuriating.
Anyways, gorgeously written… Gorgeously written, they say… Oh. My. God. I want to bash my face into this table repeatedly. This book had not even a single thing in it that I would consider gorgeously written. The whole book was just lacking character, details, spunk, originality, and dear god, the writing was so blah. I literally starting imagining everyone’s voices as robot voices, because there was just nothing there. No emotion, no depth, it was flat and blank almost to the point where it was uncomfortable to read. The author didn’t bother is describe anything or go into detail about anything over interest about this world. I can’t tell you what anything looks like besides the various hot manly bodies Alexa gawks at. It was almost like she had a rough outline of the actually plot, didn’t bother just build onto it, and instead filled everything in with face sucking, collar bone nibbling, and sickly sweet love declarations. The actually storyline was just quickly smushed in between all the sappy gooey gunk that I want to scrape into a bucket and drown the author in.
Action? Nope. All we know is that this main character is apparently super amazing special at fighting. Do we get to see any fight scenes? No… Or the few we do see are just quick and sloppy and badly written. But it’s okay because we are told a million freaking times that everyone is in awe of her skills and how she is just a true warrior. Intrigue? Not one tiny bit. I, at no point in time while reading this book, was remotely intrigued with anything. The so called “mystery” was predictable and not even remotely the main focus of this story… because that spot had already been taken by the love triangle.
Let me just take a moment to say that this book was nothing other than a straight up love story. And a sucky one at that. I mean, this woman couldn’t even write a good love triangle in a young adult book. That is just a new low in anyone’s life. Her idea of inner turmoil over choosing between two men was drooling over each of their naked, sweaty, defined man bodies, describing their eyes EVERY SINGLE TIME she came into contact with them, then clearly choosing one over the other, but it was still a love triangle because the other guy still madly loves her and it determined to be by her side always. And the so called love they were all feeling miraculously spawned out of nowhere and consumed them to the point where their lives were in danger and it was all they could focus on. Plus, I can’t even tell you why she loved either of them, unless it was because of their hot bodies or swirling eyes.
Not to mention, this girl was apparently an idiot because her whole big thing was that she was disguised as a boy, serving as part of the royal guard so she had to be super sneaky and kept complete control over her emotions. Too bad she was constantly blushing, or getting all flustered, or blatantly checking out other men. So it came as no surprise when apparently everyone in the whole goddamn kingdom knew her giant secret that she worked so hard to hide. She was just the worst. She was okay at first, then all she did was cry and whine and cry and demand to know everyone’s secrets, and had people randomly sacrificing themselves for her. Alexa whatever-her-last-name-is has just joined my list of heroines who I cannot stand and would punch in the face on sight. It hurts me to even use her name and the word heroine in the same sentence.
This book was 323 pages. Just look at that and think of all the amazing books you’ve ever read that were somewhere around that number. This book was 323 pages of sappy, pathetic love. The beginning of the book? Setting it up for the love triangle. Introducing the two men, their hot bodies, and the uncontrollable stirring Alexa felt in her loins every time she saw them. The middle of the book? Them all traveling through the jungle together, both men trying to win her affections and kissing her up in secluded places every chance they got. The end of the book? Her big sacrifice for love and ending the relationship with speeches involving, “I will always love you but until I can prove it to you, blah blah blah” so that we can still be biting our nails nervously to see if they get back together in the next book. Which I will not be reading.