This was such a good book! I enjoyed it very much. If you know me, you know that I have sort of been addicted to Tamora Pierce novels the last few months, and this was totally reminiscent of that experience for me!
So, I will be totally and completely honest with you. Once I read the blurb, I knew I wanted to read it. But I decided to wait a while to read it, without reading the blurb again, because I wanted to go into this novel with a completely open mind. I knew this was a debut novel, and also the beginning of a series, so I didn't want to go in with any expectations. And I have to say, I am SO glad I practically went in blind, as it allowed me to absorb the story as it came, without looking for anything in particular to happen.
The only thing I can honestly say I thought was lacking at all (which it was fine really, but I could have used more) is world building. However, because this is a series, and not just a standalone, I also think this left room for more world building in the books to come. Which I like. Sometimes it is hard for me to get through the first book in a fantasy series, because I am overwhelmed by the world building. So this was sort-of a happy medium for me.
This heroine, in my humble opinion, is totally captivating. She's is a strong young woman, all the way through. Sure, she has her ups and downs, but that definitely keeps her human in the eyes of the reader. She struggles A LOT once her secret is exposed to figure out if she should continue acting like a young man, or learn how to be a young lady. But who wouldn't? Besides, the young men in her life are still vying for her affection, despite the fact that she's been dressing and acting as a boy for years.
As for Rylan and Damian...mmm, mmm, MMM! I can totally understand why she struggles with choosing between them. Rylan is a wonderful young man, and Alex has actually been thinking about the day that she might be able to reveal she is a girl to him. But then she starts to get to know the *real* side of the prince, Damian, and her feelings for him are undeniable. The three of them find themselves in an unlikely situation, and sometimes it's easy to think that once everything has settled 'back to normal', it will be easy for Alex to decide who she wants to be with. But reality doesn't always make an easy path for those who love one another to be together...