Selasa, 03 Juni 2014

Review: The Mark of the Tala by Jeffe Kennedy

Title: The Mark of the Tala
Author : Jeffe Kennedy
Languange : English
Publisher: Kensington
Length :  352 pages
Published date: May 27th, 2014

Format : E-book (provided by NetGalley)

Genre : Fantasy Romance
Series: Twelve Kingdoms
Book no.: #1

Author web: Click Here
Buy Links: Bookdepository, Periplus, OpenTrolley
For New Adult - Adult Readers

Sinopsis :

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. . .


Note: This review is copied from my Goodreads review with some editing. If you find any mistake in grammar and structure, please kindly email me at : sawamura_foxman AT yahoo DOT com , so I can correct it. Thanks! :) .

I admit that I'm now kinda addicted to NetGalley :). Per weeks I usually check what new ARCs that they have especially from Kensington and Harlequin, because all galleys that I received from those two publisher are auto-approval. Sweeeeet, right? :D So, when one day I see a fantasy romance with a beautiful cover, The Mark of the Tala by Jeffe Kennedy, a new author for me, I don't hesitate to request it. The Mark of the Tala is the first book of The Twelve Kingdoms series, a series that featured 3 motherless daughters, each more beautiful than the first,  which their true destiny will be unraveled after they learn about their mother secret and war coming in their door.

This book is about Princess Andromeda, or Andi. Told from her POV,  Andromeda is the middle princess. She's shy, ignorant of politic and any kingdom's matters, and doesn't mind being invicible. Andi knows that she's not as strong, determined and born as ruler like her big sister, Princess Ursula. Nor that she's as pretty as sunshine like her little sister, Princess Amelia. But after she meet Rayfe of the Tala, a realm of demon that Andi's father, King Uorsin, High King of Twelve Kingdom despised, her world  begin to crumble. Rayfe demand Uorsin to give Andromeda as part of the old oath between Twelve Kingdoms and Tala, and Andromeda feel her body changed to become something she do not understand. To make things complicated, her relationship with her sisters become strained. Her father accused Andromeda as traitor, while her feeling and body yearn for Rayfe. Soon, Andromeda must learn her true nature, to gain her own happines, to not being invicible, even this mean she must betray everyone she loved.

I feel that the first half part of The Mark of the Tala was dragging a bit. We will see how Andromeda struggle with what happen to her and she try to make her family understand that she is not a traitor. She also fight her desire to Rayfe and while I think at first Andromeda is a meek princess, she overcome her fear and become strong. But, yes this part also make me frustated because Andromeda still unsure to what to do. The romance part also start late and maybe this is one of some aspect that make me a little bit irritated because I want Andromeda just go to Rayfe and to Tala. Yes, very selfish of me, lol!

And then, when Andromeda finally with Rayfe, the story become interesting. We will see how Andromeda learn her true nature. I also love her relationship with Rayfe. Rayfe is alpha, but he respect Andromeda. He want Andromeda desperately, but do not want to force her to come to him. He want Andromeda to come to Tala and Rayfe with her free will.  And even Andromeda thought that Rayfe blackmailed her to marry him to save her family, in the end she find her own Prince Charming in Rayfe. And nope, Andromeda is not a damsel in distress. She might be not a fighter like her big sis Princess Ursula, but she sure can fight and stand strong when some Tala's people doubt her because her mother's past.

I like the way Ms Kennedy stated that:

...history always written by the victors. Never forget it. What you believe to be true is exactly what the people who won want you to believe"

This is so very true and also relate to real world. It's also make the world in Twelve Kingdoms is not white and black. There are shades of grey. Uorsin despised Tala, said that it's a demon realm. Yet when Andromeda go to Annfwn, Tala's capitol city, she find that the people of Tala are very much the same with her. The difference just they can shapeshift and do magic, and worship the other Goddess. I find the myth behind Twelve Kingdoms is fascinating. The idea of three Goddesses that Tala and Twelve Kingdoms folks worship, Glorianna, Danu and Moranu remind me of the myth of Hecate and The Morrigan who also have three faces. Add it with three princess, and we know that three is a magic number. I can see that Ms Kennedy do a lot of research to make her own world building. I just wish that the history of the Twelve Kingdoms and the mystery that surround Andromeda's mother Salena can be explored more. But I guess she saved it for the next book. Also I wish Ms Kennedy will write a prequel, like a story when Andi's parents first met and how Uorsin become the High King.

Anyway, for a fantasy book that have medieval setting (or once upon a time setting. Not sure what time), the Mark of the Tala somehow have a modern feeling, like Andromeda that called Andi, I find a dialogue when she said "ooops", etc. Some reviewers mention that the writing is too formal. I don't mind about it, for it will weird if this book written in modern style. Yet, some things make me giggle, especially when Ms Kennedy write about the sex scene. Like I read a historical romance with word like "weeping (seriously??)", "manhood", "woman's core" etc. But well, the sex is steamy, make me fanning myself XD. I kinda raised my brows when see some reviewers categorized this into young adult shelves. I'm disagree, because this book is for adult readers! Once I read Ms Kennedy's blog that stated that this book have NA-vibe. I'm still scratch my head with all this NA-thingie actually, maybe because Andi is her twenties, so this one categorized as NA. But for me, I will categorized this into adult.

The next book of the Twelve Kingdoms series is The Tears of the Rose. It's about Princess Amelia, the sunshine and full of rainbow and unicorn Princess, also the fairest of them all. I suggest to not read the blurb if you not read this first, because some part are contain spoiler. I don't know if I want to read about Princess Amelia, consider to what happen to her in the end of this book. Also she's too.. bright for me, while I can relate to Andromeda who constantly in present of another. Honestly, I want to know about Princess Ursula. From Andromeda's POV (and Amelia's POV from the excerpt) she looked like a hard, though and cold woman. They also refer that Princess Ursula do not need man and sleep with her own sword. Wow, that's harsh :/, but also make me impatient to read her own story, The Talon of the Hawk.

Mix an alpha hero, a princess that need no rescuing, an intrigue plot with hint of treachery, politic, magic and myth, The Mark of The Tala is a good start for a new fantasy series and definitely must read if you love fantasy with romance. Also, I really love the cover! It show Andromeda hold a feather. Simple, yet so powerful! :)

e-ARC provided by NetGalley and Kensington for honest review

"Loyalty, like love, is based on trust and belief. I will always be loyal to my homeland and to people who live there. There is good and bad, true, but they are worthy of my belief“

Another recommended read for fantasy romance like The Mark of the Tala:
- Tairen Soul series by C.L. Wilson
- The Light Blade series by Kylie Griffin

 Story & Sensuality Rate

My rating for  is

And the sensuality rate is

The sex scenes were steamy and definitely for adult reader

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