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The Twelve Kingdoms: The Mark of the Tala [Format Kindle]

Jeffe Kennedy

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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. . .

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.4 étoiles sur 5  60 commentaires
17 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Sisters, Magic and a Dark Prince....Yes Please!!! 27 mai 2014
Par Robin Snyder - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
This is an adult romance with a few high fantasy points thrown in. Andromeda or Andi for short is the middle daughter and a princess of the twelve kingdoms. She has spent the majority of her life being invisible. Her older sister Ursula is being groomed to rule and the youngest sister Amelia is as sweet as she is beautiful. Andi has lived her life avoiding court, politics and strategy, that is until she has a chance meeting with the King of a hidden land and her world changes drastically.

-- “It’s true. I hadn’t expected this opportunity and I’m ill prepared. I hadn’t thought that—“ He sighed. Amused chagrin crossed his face. “Is it too late to woo you into coming with me willingly?”

Rayfe is the King of the Tala, a people who are shrouded in mystery and superstition. There are so many stories of the Tala and their cruel ways, rumors of shapeshifters and magic. While Andi is intrigued she is not about to go off with a stranger to a strange land. She just didn’t expect all trouble that would come out of that one chance meeting. Her father's determination to keep her from him is not so much an act of fatherly love but an obsession with concurring the only kingdom not under his power.

This story took a little time to get going for me, mostly because I really wanted to see the magical land that Rayfe was trying to whisk Andi off too. It takes a little time to get there and so a little bit of the story went a little slow as Andi was in hiding. King Uorsin of the twelve kingdoms solidified himself as the bad guy right away after finding out that Rayfe has come for Andi. He was easily unlikable and I liked learning of the backstory of the girl’s mother Salena and the sacrifices she made for her people and her daughters.

A few things I liked were the romance and strange customs and culture of the Tala, especially those surrounding a marriage. I loved the sisterly bonds between the girls and that each had their own redeeming qualities. Andi’s character grew on me as the story progressed and she grew into the role she was destined for, she was of course reluctant in the beginning. I loved Rayfe’s character from the beginning he was smart, charming, mysterious and dangerous.

The ending seemed a little rushed and I wish all of the magic was touched on a little more during their time in Annfwn with the Tala. I really wanted to know more about that world and everything that it had to offer. Once things started unraveling about Andi’s mother and her past it all came a little too easily and I would have liked a few things explained a little more. That is the fantasy lover in me as I wanted more details about the magic system of this world. Those will probably be touched on more in follow up novels to this one.

It is an entertaining starting story for the series that looks to have books for the other two sisters. I will most likely continue on to read those and see how the entire story plays out. I do hope that the author focuses a little more on the actual workings of the magic and the significance of the blood a little more later in the series.

ARC provided by Kensington Books via Netgalley for an honest review. Any quotes used may not be in the final draft of the book
12 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 The first part of the story seemed like a typical young adult/teen fantasy love story 21 août 2014
Par Jessica L. - Publié sur
I'm not really sure what genre shelf this book belongs on. The first part of the story seemed like a typical young adult/teen fantasy love story: none of the characters had depth; people fell in love repeatedly at first sight; the parent is an overbearing, unapproachable authority figure; there's little to no description for setting scenes.

Skip ahead a hundred pages or so and jump to adult romance novel: long, rather specific descriptions of sex; guy/girl doesn't love him/her and married him/her for the wrong reason, but the sex is just so good they find it hard to care; throw in a little jealousy and distrust for good measure.

Then, finally, we end up with some actual fantasy. Magic, heredity, explanation, "epic" battle, plot twist, sudden and inexplicable mastery of something previously impossible, and set-up of the next stage of the story. (Sorry, trying to avoid any spoilers.)

While I enjoyed the book, it didn't make my top 100 list of fantasy novels, although probably would fall in the middle of my (much shorter) list of romances. There wasn't enough depth to the characters, the description, or the plot for fantasy, but it was rather more interesting than a lot of formulaic romances. Many of the situations felt contrived and the plot twist at the end I would consider unrealistic. To be perfectly honesty, I am not certain I will read the next book in the series, but this book got better as it progressed so I probably will.

I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy light love stories in fairytale kingdoms.

Disclaimer: I received an electronic galley proof of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Andi's journey of finding herself and accepting herself for who she really is was one of my favorite parts. 25 juin 2014
Par StinaMadsMN - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle

THE GIST: Princess Andromeda feels pretty un-extraordinary compared to her sisters, that is until she meets a strange man during her daily horse ride who claims that she belongs to him and is to be his queen. A deal was made and broken, and he is there to claim what is rightfully his - the daughter of the High King who bares the Mark of Tala - Andromeda. As war breaks out, Andi dreams of the stranger and she slowly begins to change. Can Andi stop the war between the Twelve Kingdoms and the Tala by claiming her rightful place as queen before it's too late?

WHAT I LIKED: One thing I liked what the mystery about who the Tala are and the truth about Andi's mother. There's little known about the Tala in the beginning, but as the story progresses their history is revealed and it's very interesting. And Andi's mother is a completely different mystery altogether. We learn a little about her in this first book, but there is still so much more to learn about her. I also really liked the chemistry between Andi and Rayfe. There is this wild and free element to it that really shows their animal side and that brings scorching passion to their relationship. Andi's journey of finding herself and accepting herself for who she really is was one of my favorite parts.

WHAT I DISLIKED: The only thing I didn't like was how Andi was always putting herself down, at least in the beginning. She feels invisible and inferior to her sisters - one who is the warrior heir to the throne and the other is the beautifully sweet one. But Andi is so much more than she realizes and that is why I loved her journey of self-discovery and acceptance.

Andromeda: Middle daughter of the High King. Feels invisible most of the time, compared to her sisters. Loves the wilderness and animals, especially her horse, Fiona. Bares the Mark of Tala, making her heir to being Queen of the Tala. Rayfe approaches her, saying that she is rightfully his according to the deal made by her father. Has abilities she doesn't understand. She can see vision of the future, and various other abilities. As she continues her journey she comes to learn about herself, her mother, and her people.

Rayfe: King of the Tala. Meets Andi on the border of the Wild Lands. Claims that she is to be his Queen in accordance with the deal made with her father. Has the ability to shift into a wolf and a large falcon. He seems hard and savage on the outside, but he's actually very loving and caring. He will do whatever necessary to protect his people from the threat of the High King.

Ursula: Eldest daughter of the High King. Heir to the throne. A seasoned and hardened warrior. Leads the High Kings armies into war. Loves her sisters and will do anything to protect them, even from themselves.

Amelia: Youngest daughter of the High King. Beautiful and sweet. Wife to Prince Hugh. Is very close to Andi and loves her dearly. She's distraught with the war going on and the Tala trying to take Andi away.

Hugh: Prince of Avonlidgh. Son of King Erich. Was originally meant to marry Ursula, but he fell in love with Amelia.

In THE MARK OF TALA, I would say the High King Uorsin is the villain. When he learns that Andi met with Rayfe of the Tala, he goes into full combat mode and declares war. He locks Andi up in the castle to keep her from being able to meet or be caught by any of the Tala. He becomes a cruel and evil man, bent of destroying the Tala. He shows clear distaste for Andi, and only wants to use her as a piece on his war board. He is a dangerous adversary, indeed.

Okay, this is one of my most favorite parts in the whole book, the romance between Andi and Rayfe. They meet on the border of the Wild Lands. Andi's horse, Fiona, throws her off, and Rayfe with his pack of wolfhounds is standing over her. They fight, banter, kiss, and then Andi stabs Rayfe in the shoulder. She escapes, but Rayfe promises that things aren't over between them and she hasn't escapes him. "I am your fate. I have a taste of your blood now. Run now if you're afraid, but I will come after you. I will always find you. You will be mine." And that is basically their first meeting.

When the meeting is discovered by her father, war is declared and she is pretty much made a prisoner in the castle and a pawn to be used against the Tala. But Rayfe never once gives up, even when Andi is taken secretly to Prince Hugh's land for protection.

There is this wildness and even savageness (not in a bad way) to their relationship that hints to the animals within them. Their passion is something off the charts, and as they come to love one another, that love is very strong. They both are willing to sacrifice themselves for the other. They do fight quite a lot too as they get to know one another. And sometimes there's even a few silly moments. All in all, I just really loved these two as a couple. I can't wait to see more of them in the future.
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Good start to a new Fantasy series! 5 juin 2014
Par Amy (So Many Reads) - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
The Mark of the Tala by Jeffe Kennedy is the first book in the Twelve Kingdoms Series and I’m not quite sure what to say about it. I don’t have any “oh my gosh” moments to start out this review. But, in defense of The Mark of the Tala, I am coming off of the third book in another fantasy series by Jeffe (Rogue’s Paradise due out in October 2014) and because that was an Epic book for me, The Mark of the Tala sort of lives in it’s shadow. While I try NOT to compare books, it happens. That being said, I truly enjoyed The Mark of the Tala and I am looking forward to reading the other books in the series.

The first books in a series can be hard because there is a lot of foundation to lay to set up the series. In The Mark of the Tala, we learn a lot about Princess Andromeda (Andi) and Rayfe as well as Andi’s father and sisters. Because of that, the beginning was a little slow for me. I understood the need for it and was thankful for the knowledge by the end because it really showed the path Andi had to take to get to Annfwn. Things really took off about a third of the way in when Andi finally made her decision to not just sit around and wait for something to happen. After that, I couldn’t stop reading.

As with other characters in Jeffe’s stories, the heroine is always of strong mind. While Andi deals with insecurities and self-doubt as all of us women do, she is also a little stubborn and makes up her own mind about things. She does not blindly follow anyone, which I like that about her, as does the hero, Rayfe. I don’t think he realized what he was getting in Andi but she is more than he could ever imagine. My favorite parts of the story were by far the interactions between Rayfe and Andi. Not just the intimate scenes either. While those were fitting for the story and characters, I enjoyed watching Rayfe teach her things but also give Andi the freedom to learn on her own. He has a lot of faith in her. Their love story is not typical, but very satisfying to read.

I enjoyed several aspects of the fantasy in this story, one being the shape shifting. The shifting in The Mark of the Tala is different than in other books I have read. The reasons behind the shift and the animals the humans shift into is really clever and made it more exciting. The ending to The Mark of the Tala was quite interesting and not expected. The next book is set up perfectly and I really can’t wait to see what is in store for the rest of the series. If you enjoy fantasy romance, I recommend you give The Mark of the Tala a try.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Magical, Magnificent and Mesmerizing 7 juin 2014
Par The Romance Reviews - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
Reviewed by Victoria Lane

Magical, Magnificent and Mesmerizing. THE MARK OF THE TALA by Jeffe Kennedy will keep you glued to your seat until the end. I give it 5 stars and recommend to all.

In this character-rich novel that has the same spirit as the Game of Thrones series, Princess Andi (Andromeda) is the middle of three sisters born to the high king over the twelve kingdoms. She is used to blending in, being invisible, and feels most at ease while out riding her horse. One day while out riding, she meets a tall, dark and handsome man and his intimidating wolf-hounds. She thinks she is being attacked, but he claims to be taking her back where she belongs as his queen, according to the treaty. That one interaction turns Andi's world upside down, and she soon learns that nothing is as she was taught.

I absolutely loved this novel. The reader gets all the intrigue and plot twists as the Game of Thrones series, but the entire book is told from Andi's perspective, so it is easier to follow. I love the initial lesson offered by the novel, that history is a matter of perspective, and knowledge is useful in understanding all sides of the political dice.

I loved the characters, how unique they are, and especially the sisters, their interactions and love for each other despite their differing personalities. The world building is fantastic, easy to imagine and understand, and simply magnificent in its richness and complexity. The romance is understated and well done.

The pace and plotline were also well done. With plenty of characters to deepen the plot and plenty of action to keep the plot moving, the reader cannot help but want to read the book in one sitting to find out how it ends.

I cannot wait until the next book in the series and highly recommend THE MARK OF THE TALA to all readers.
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