11 must-read SFF book releases that will kick your July into high gear

The Damned by Renee Ahdieh. Image Courtesy Penguin Random House
The Damned by Renee Ahdieh. Image Courtesy Penguin Random House /
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Shielded – KayLynn Flanders

Pretty much the quickest way to get me to read anything is to compare it to a mix of Sorcery of Thorns and Furyborn, two of the best YA fantasies released in recent years.

KayLynn Flanders’ debut Shielded tells the story of warrior Princess Jennesara of Halendi, who wants to serve her family and save her country. To do so. she’s been betrothed to a neighboring king in order to prevent a magical battle on her border, but – naturally – the story is about much more than that.

On her epic journey to the border, Jennesara will learn that many of the things she’s assumed about herself, the history of her kingdom, and even magic itself are wrong, revelations that will force her to decide whether to reveal a secret she’s kept for her entire life.

The official synopsis contains more story details.

"The kingdom of Hálendi is in trouble. It’s losing the war at its borders, and rumors of a new, deadlier threat on the horizon have surfaced. Princess Jennesara knows her skills on the battlefield would make her an asset and wants to help, but her father has other plans. As the second-born heir to the throne, Jenna lacks the firstborn’s–her brother’s–magical abilities, so the king promises her hand in marriage to the prince of neighboring Turia in exchange for resources Hálendi needs. Jenna must leave behind everything she has ever known if she is to give her people a chance at peace. Only, on the journey to reach her betrothed and new home, the royal caravan is ambushed, and Jenna realizes the rumors were wrong–the new threat is worse than anyone imagined. Now Jenna must decide if revealing a dangerous secret is worth the cost before it’s too late–for her and for her entire kingdom."

Shielded is available on July 21.