Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Early Critique: "The Twelve Kingdoms: The Mark of the Tala" by Jeffe Kennedy

I received this e-book for free via Net Galley, but in no way did it affect my literary taste buds. This review is my honest opinion.

The Twelve Kingdoms Series, #1

To Be Released: May 27th, 2014

At the start of this book, I was a little disappointed. I thought it sounded a lot like a young adult book with its first person narrative, and I'm not usually that kind of reader. Luckily I hadn't accidently chosen a book not meant for me, as it escalated into adult fantasy romance.

The Plot:
Our heroine, Andromeda (a name from Greek myth, meaning "ruler of men") is the middle child in a series of princesses: Princess Ursula is the older sister, expected to rule and proficient with the sword, and her younger sister, Princess Amelia, the beautiful one, all charm and grace. Princess Andi, meanwhile, is the one everyone forgets about, a shadow between the two sisters. She's rather lost with what to do with herself, and spends much of her time riding her noble steed, Fiona (which means "white", our dear author did her research).

The story begins with a handsome prince coming to court the eldest of them, Ursula. Unfortunately, Prince Hugh of Avonligh's eyes wandered to Princess Amelia, and plans were upended, and a second, less political marriage was planned. After the wedding, Princess Andi takes off on Fiona, riding farther than she had before. Fiona unseats her, leaving her alone with a man and his hounds. He somehow knows she's a princess, and refuses to let her go until he sees if she has "the mark". He tackles her and she attempts to knock him in his "man-jewels" (I object to the term myself and thought to mention it. Just call them balls [as our hero does].). He manages to pin Andi and coerces her into a kiss, which he interprets as biting her lip. He has his blood on his lips from her previous struggles, and their blood mingles, forming a little black bird that flies away. Andi breaks free, stabbing her dagger into his shoulder and fleeing on her horse. Her family is rather pissed at her for this incident, even without her telling them about the kiss/bite. The plot plods on from there, and I hate spoilers, so I'll leave it at that.

I wasn't quite as captivated with Rayfe (the man who bit Andi) as Andi herself seemed to be. This guy comes out of nowhere, is given very little description, and basically attacks her. During the run-in, he asks her if there is any chance that he might "woo" her. Wow, really? Why didn't you not act like a bit of a creep in the first place, and ask politely? Their chemistry was a little off due to that, and ****SPOILER ALERT**** Highlight to view:  later on in the story he basically says she'll get their marriage binding off when "I'm buried inside you".****END SPOILER ALERT**** A little overzealous of an alpha male, at least for me. This could have been eased a little if they actually knew each other before he went all dom. I eventually warmed to Rayfe, but I never found him particularly "my future husband" material. Sure, they had some major sparking, but it was overshadowed by the first meeting. Damned dominant alphas.

The magic in this book was also a bit disappointing. Basically the "Tala" can shift into different animals, and there are some other perks, though the concept came across as rather muddled. Hopefully in the next books it will be fleshed out more.

I truly appreciated Andromeda, as her personality closely resembles mine. I, too, was overlooked in my family due to my quietness, and would find solace with my favorite animal instead of hanging around the house. She is presented with a guise of meekness, but within her is a lioness just waiting to be released.

The story was engrossing once past the halfway point. And there is an intriguing plot twist near the end that leads into the next book. Overall, I liked the book, and intend to read the next as soon as it comes out, but it doesn't quite tick the boxes for four stars.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars for a great start to an intriguing series.

Content: This book is fantasy/paranormal romance, with sex scenes, violence, etc. Appropriate for ages 18+

Page Count: 352 pages

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