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. . .
Upcoming books in the trilogy are The Tears of the Rose and The Talon of the Hawk.
~ Bewitching BT
Worldbuilding: Spectacular fantasy world building, complete with different kingdoms, magic elements, shifters – muuuch awesome.
Characters: I will admit I clicked with Andi from the beginning. It’s easy to identify with her, she’s not the beautiful sister or the strong, athlete star – she’s the invisible one, something of an outcast. All those things separating her from her family end up helping her feel like she belongs somewhere else, but I’m not spoiling it for you. Sufficient to say Andi is strong, she faces danger quite well on her own, she manages to work well in a team – she’s a real survivor and I loved and respected her for not losing her vulnerability and ability to love.
Rayfe, king of the Tala, was of course a total heart-throb. Jeffe Kennedy hits it just right for me with her heroes every single freakin’ time, and she had me squirming with Rayfe as well. Everything about him, from the way he makes his entrance into the story, to the way he behaves until the very end, had me loving him to bits. There’s this sort of darkish vibe about him, I’d say subtle, and it works purrfectly to keep you guessing and tense and itching to find out how it all ends.
The Andi / Rayfe couple was awesome, lots of tension, awesome chemistry, hot, hot, hot chemistry to be more precise, hot one on one, and their relationship evolved awesomely.
Plot: I loved the story outside of the romance, the whole Tala world was entirely fascinating and totally bewitching. I loved the pace of the action and honestly can’t see how this might have been a better reading experience.
Writing: First person, past tense narrative, Andi’s POV. Spectacular storytelling, worldbuilding and relationship-building, as I’ve come to expect from Jeffe Kennedy.
Curb Appeal: Awesome cover, hooking blurb, instant must have author name = instant buy.
All in all, this was the purrfect fantasy romance and I’m dying to read the next two novels in the series.
I just returned from the RT Booklovers Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, in the US. An enormous gathering of genre writers, readers, bloggers, agents and publishers, the convention brings together a tremendous array of voices.
Most fun for me, I got to talk to early readers of The Mark of the Tala. This is one of the most fun things for a writer. After all those months or years of living alone with the story and characters, to hear someone else have ideas and opinions about their stories is akin to emerging from the hermit’s cave and discovering a world of other people.
One person talked about how struck she was by the relationships between the sisters. My three princesses, Amelia, Andi and Ursula, have grown up as daughters of the High King – not an easy father to have. She noted that, as the story evolves, the young women have to find out who they are that isn’t dictated by his ideas. She hoped that the arc of the overall trilogy would see that happen. I hope so, too. In many ways this mirrors how we all live our lives – we begin as extensions of our parents and eventually learn to shed their ideas and grab hold of our own.
The Mark of the Tala is about Andi – the middle princess – and her journey. If you’ve read the blurb, you know she faces being claimed in marriage by Rayfe, the king of a very foreign people. Surprisingly to me, one reader felt that she capitulates and is subsumed by him. I don’t see it that way. Andi makes strong, difficult choices to save lives and the kingdoms she’s responsible to rule. Sometimes making adult decisions means choosing not what’s easiest or more pleasant for you, but will best serve what you consider most sacred.
For Andi, that’s about her sisters, her people and her land.
It doesn’t hurt that Rayfe turns out to be pretty hot, too. 😉
About the Author & Links:
Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her fantasy BDSM romance, Petals and Thorns, originally published under the pen name Jennifer Paris, has won several reader awards. Sapphire, the first book in the Facets of Passion series, has placed first in multiple romance contests and the follow-up, Platinum, is climbing the charts. Her most recent works include three fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns, the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and the post-apocalyptic vampire erotica of the Blood Currency.
She is currently working on Master of the Opera and The Twelve Kingdoms, a fantasy trilogy.
Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and a Doctor of Oriental Medicine. Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com or every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog.