An Orphan’s Throne
Magic has broken free over the Twelve Kingdoms. The population is beset by shapeshifters and portents, landscapes that migrate, uncanny allies who are not quite human…and enemies eager to take advantage of the chaos.
Dafne Mailloux is no adventurer–she’s a librarian. But the High Queen trusts Dafne’s ability with languages, her way of winnowing the useful facts from a dusty scroll, and even more important, the subtlety and guile that three decades under the thumb of a tyrant taught her.
Dafne never thought to need those skills again. But she accepts her duty. Until her journey drops her into the arms of a barbarian king. He speaks no tongue she knows but that of power, yet he recognizes his captive as a valuable pawn. Dafne must submit to a wedding of alliance, becoming a prisoner-queen in a court she does not understand. If she is to save herself and her country, she will have to learn to read the heart of a wild stranger. And there are more secrets written there than even Dafne could suspect…
Worldbuilding: Though The Pages of the Mind is the first in the The Uncharted Realms series, it’s set in the familiar world of the Twelve Kingdoms – a rich fantasy world, of political intrigue between kingdoms, magic, shapeshifters – deliciousness! While it doesn’t hurt to have read the Twelve Kingdoms series, I think you can jump into this one too. You’re missing out some fab stuff, lol, but it can be done and you won’t feel confused, I think.
Characters: Dafne was a dear character ever since she she first appeared in the Twelve Kingdoms series. I mean, she’s a librarian, lol! How could us bookaholics not love her to bits? Plus I loved her sense of loyalty and dedication, her diplomatic skills and strategic mind. She was a bit shy, in a way, putting up a brave front at times, and I loved that fragility about her. Plus, brace yourselves, a virgin, lol!
Nakoa was this alpha magic-wielding, island-king-slash-god intense dude, super charismatic, sweet, tender, hot as hell ofc, and had another quite surprising attribute that I’m not mentioning here to not spoil your read.
Sufficient to say he made sense with Dafne in this sweet, terribly romantic way. They had page-melting chemistry, I loooooved them together!
Plot: The romance arc was a bit of a mystery for a while there. I mean, I knew it would be a virgin romance, cause Dafne, lol, but what other trope(s) would Jeffe Kennedy go for in the story? I kept guessing for a while there, wondering about each new male character coming into view, lol. The meant-to-be/forced-marriage trope was an awesome choice, though it kicked into the story a bit later than usual. And it was a sweet romance to boot! Can you even picture this combo, lol? Of course Jeffe Kennedy makes it work. But boy, the tension and intrigue of the continuing Twelve (technically, Thirteen – going on Fourteen? -) Kingdoms! I love the political part of the stories set in this world so much! The story overall was interesting, full of all sorts of tensions, though maybe a bit slow in the beginning on the romantic front. But I loved the pace, not being a fan of agitated-action in general.
Writing: First person, past tense POV – Dafne’s – narrative. Loved her serious, bookish voice. There’s a bit of an epic fantasy tone to the style, not too much, but just enough to suit the epic-like feel of the story.
Curb Appeal: Are you kidding me? The fabulousness of that cover!! Hooking blurb, but auto-buy author name for me anyway 😀
All in all, I totally recommend The Pages of the Mind to lovers of fantasy romance, fans of fantastic worlds ripe with intricate political tension, sweet virgin romance meant-to-be/forced-marriage trope lovers, and to anyone into exciting adventures with a side of romantic goodness, hehe!