A HAWK’S PLEDGE
“The Twelve Kingdoms rest uneasy under their new High Queen, reeling from civil war and unchecked magics. Few remember that other powers once tested their borders until a troop of foreign warriors emerges with a challenge . . .”
Jepp has been the heart of the queen’s elite guard, her Hawks, since long before war split her homeland. But the ease and grace that come to her naturally in fighting leathers disappears when battles turn to politics. When a scouting party arrives from far-away Dasnaria, bearing veiled threats and subtle bluffs, Jepp is happy to let her queen puzzle them out while she samples the pleasures of their prince’s bed.
But the cultural norms allow that a Dasnarian woman may be wife or bed-slave, never her own leader and Jepp’s light use of Prince Kral has sparked a diplomatic crisis. Banished from court, she soon becomes the only envoy to Kral’s strange and dangerous country, with little to rely on but her wits, her knives and the smolder of anger and attraction that burns between her and him . . .
Worldbuilding: The world of the Uncharted Realms includes that of the Twelve Kingdoms, but comes with some really awesome additions like the Dasnarian Empire and its fascinating (and revolting) ways. I have always, and probably will always love Jeffe Kennedy’s worldbuilding. It’s a fun, diverse, imaginative fantastic world full of different cultures, and it’s always a joy to explore.
Characters: Jepp is…how to best describe her? Be still, my heart! She’s smart, quick on her feet, independent, brave, snark-alicious, and passionate. I loved everything about her, from her irreverent attitude and fierce fighter side to the generous heart and devoted nature. I could probably think of no better guide through such a world. I really loved everything about her, from her opinion of other characters (that I shared), to her core values and imperfect but essentially free heart. I think each MC of these series could be a facet of someone’s personality, in a way – and Jepp is our free, rebellious, intense nature. She wasn’t trying to please anyone except those she respected, she didn’t bend her values for anyone or anything, and while she appreciated help when given, she dealt with crap on her own – and jumped in to help others deal with theirs. And her skill in handling knives is art. I mean, basically, she’s the woman I wish I were (and I don’t think I ever said that about any character, ever).
Of course, part of the fun in that would be getting a serving of Kral :)) I’m not above admitting my crush on the guy. All alpha male, misogynistic as his culture prepared him to be, but smart, fun, brave, and thoroughly adept at banter. What I loved most about him was the fact that once he gained a different perspective on his empire, he didn’t close his eyes to the wrongness of it all and when the time came, he made the right decisions. Gotta love that!
The two of them had explosive chemistry and I enjoyed every freaking moment of it all. I mean, every discussion between them was almost like a round of good sex, you know what I mean? xD
Plot: The romance was a slow burn emotionally and fast, bright fire in terms of interactions, and I looooved every minute of it. The story outside of the romance was very interesting, like all stories in these sister-series. It had excitement, action, adventure, sweet moment, horrifying images (yep, referring to the Dasnarian court here).
Writing: First person, past tense narrative, Jepp’s POV. I looooooved her voice, adored her snarky sense of humor and the banter between her and Kral.
Curb Appeal: Awesome cover, hooking blurb – but it’s Jeffe Kennedy, so impulsive buy material anyways.
I recommend The Edge of the Blade to fans of badass MCs who stand their ground, kick ass and do their thing; to fans of complex fantastic worlds and well-built intrigue; and to fans of hot-as-hell romance with explosive chemistry and damn near orgasmic banter. This baby is one of my favs from the series. I’m looking forward to reading the next novel!