The Mark of the Tala

Jeffe Kennedy
The Mark of the Tala
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Release Date
May 2014
Book 1 of The Twelve Kingdoms
Fantasy Romance

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. . .

Book Review by Victoria Lane (reviewer)
Jun 07, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
155 people found the following review helpful
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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Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Jul 07, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
162 people found the following review helpful
THE MARK OF THE TALA is a fantastic, mesmerizing tale of magic and self-discovery and romance.

Princess Andi, the middle child, has always felt invisible to her family, but out in the woods one day, she met a stranger who sees her clearly. This stranger is Rayfe, King of the Tala, and it seems her father has violated some agreement, and as recompense, he is asking for Andi.

Rayfe wants her to come to him, also because she has the mark, but she doesn't understand what it means, and how could she do it when it means betraying her people and her father? Soon, she grew to understand that while Rayfe would wait for her willing acceptance, he could not wait long, for the balance of their worlds is in peril and war is imminent…

From their first meeting, I really feel for Rayfe. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he has got a knife embedded in his shoulder, courtesy of Andi. Or it was the desperation in his voice, that Andi is needed to save Annfwn. Because the story is written from Andi's point of view, we're given limited scenes about Rayfe and what he might be thinking, but seeing him through Andi's eyes, we also start to fall for him as Andi does. Though, yes, I do wish we could've seen things from Rayfe's point of view as well.

Andi takes a little while to warm up to, but we can see her confusion and her ambivalence. But once she makes up her mind to go with Rayfe, she puts her whole heart and soul behind it, doing all she can to be accepted by the Tala and to save Annfwn.

The romance between Andi and Rayfe was understated, making me wish for more. I hope the sequels will feature them in cameo roles, as it will be a treat to see them further in their relationship. Several threads are left hanging, which I'm sure will be resolved in the succeeding books.

THE MARK OF THE TALA is an amazing adventure of discovering new worlds, with unforgettable characters that don't let you go even when you reached the end. I love the worldbuilding done thus far, and I can't wait to see what else would be revealed in the succeeding books. This book surely goes into my keeper shelf!
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