Sunday, June 14, 2015

Review: The Mark of the Tala by Jeffe Kennedy

The Mark of the Tala 
by Jeffe Kennedy
Series:  Twelve Kingdoms #1
Pub. Date:  May 27, 2014
Publisher:  Kensington
Pages:  353
Format:  eBook
Source:  Kindle Unlimited

My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

Queen Of The Unknown

The tales tell of three sisters, daughters of the high king. The eldest, a valiant warrior-woman, heir to the kingdom. The youngest, the sweet beauty with her Prince Charming. No one says much about the middle princess, Andromeda. Andi, the other one.

Andi doesn't mind being invisible. She enjoys the company of her horse more than court, and she has a way of blending into the shadows. Until the day she meets a strange man riding, who keeps company with wolves and ravens, who rules a land of shapeshifters and demons. A country she'd thought was no more than legend--until he claims her as its queen.

In a moment everything changes: Her father, the wise king, becomes a warlord, suspicious and strategic. Whispers call her dead mother a traitor and a witch. Andi doesn't know if her own instincts can be trusted, as visions appear to her and her body begins to rebel.

For Andi, the time to learn her true nature has come. . .

I haven't found many books in the fantasy genre that are for adults and have some romance in them, so I am always happy when I come across a good one like Mark of the Tala. Jeffe Kennedy is a new-to-me author, but I became a fan with the start of this series in the realm of the Twelve Kingdoms and Annfwn.

There once was a king, some called him a peace keeper and some called him a warmonger. He rose from the ashes of defeat with an unknown queen by his side, who bore the king three daughters, each more beautiful than the last. The is the story of the middle daughter, Andromeda (Andi), who tries to be invisible because she knows people feel uncomfortable around her. To escape the dirty looks bestowed upon her by king and citizen alike, Andi goes off riding with only her horse Fiona for company. Until one day she encounters a mysterious dark prince, Rayfe, and it triggers a war across the Twelve Kingdoms.

This story had some really good world building. It is more of a high fantasy, so the setting is not on an earthly plane. While the descriptions of the Twelve Kingdoms were somewhat mundane, the complete opposite was true for the magical realm of Annfwn.

Andi and Rayfe were both appealing characters. Andi felt like an outsider, longing for something she didn't know, and Rayfe seemed to have all the answers. She is inexplicably drawn to him, which torments her because she also feels she has a duty to her king, family and people. Rayfe must have Andi to save his people, but he decides he wants her for more than that. This was not a sweet romance, but a passionate one. Their bodies seemed to understand immediately what their minds were taking the time to discover.

King Uorsin solidifies as the bad guy pretty early on. He has grandiose delusions and does not care to hurt his own flesh and blood if they refuse to fall in line with his plan. It becomes apparent that he will betray his allies and contracts alike as he pleases. This seems to be in direct contrast to the sacrifices Salena, the girls' mother, made for her kingdom and people of the Tala.

The Tala were an interesting people, and I enjoyed reading about their customs and magical abilities. They are all depending on Andi as their savior - no pressure, right? And Andi must discover who she is, what she is capable of, and become accustomed to the shift from invisibility to center stage.

I'm not sure about how I will feel about the series switching main characters for each book. I feel like we have just gotten to know Andi and Rayfe, so there is room for their story to continue. However I will keep reading before I form an opinion. 

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Twelve Kingdoms Trilogy

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