Review: The Mark of the Tala
Trivia 4: Jeffe’s worn contact lenses since she was ten years old.
The Mark of the Tala by Jeffe Kennedy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A high fantasy fairy tale with princesses, princes and a corrupt king is augmented with shifters and magic. What's not to love about this story? Ms. Kennedy wows me with her latest series. Our story begins with three princesses, each more beautiful than the previoius. These three sisters are loving and are adversarial in only a friendly sisterly manner. Andromeda aka Andi enjoys her isolated bubble as the middle child. She is neither the prettiest nor the strongest. She is the proverbial middle child. Except she is part of a larger picture which is hidden from her.
The plot of this story works well for me. I enjoyed how Andi fumbles and tries to do her best yet fails. Nothing comes easy to Andi. As Andi develops and quickly learns her past is told from a victor's point of view, it is as if she finally wakes up. It is understandable why Ms. Kennedy spent a good portion of the book focused on Andi's growth. For a tighter woven story, some editing and condenses would help. Because it would help the story pace move a bit smoother. There are times where the story movement felt stalled and this can be frustrating to a reader.
The characters in this story are well developed. Each sister is distinctive. It will be interesting to see when Andi's older and younger sister have their own story, if their uniqueness will disappear. What I like about Andi's character is her previous flaws now develop to become her strengths. This is a twist which is not often used. Andi's flaw of being overlooked and invisible becomes a strength when it is revealed her invisibility is a magical power. This is something I didn't see coming and I liked how it plays a part in the story.
I also like how Ms. Kennedy creates both male and female detractors for Andi. Andi also makes friends with both sexes. This balanced view is appreciated as many times a female lead will have no strong female friends. Or the lead female only relates to female friends. With Andi finding allies in both males and females, it strengthens her position when it comes time for her to protect her people and territory.
The world building in this story is off to a good start. There is more I'd like to learn about this world. I anticipate more reveals in the next book. This book definitely sets up for the next book quite well and right after reading this one, I added the next book into my to-be read list. We are just learning about Andi's mother's people. I want more! Andi's new world contains a bit of Tolkien elven city mixed with romanticization of Atlantis.
The interaction between Andi and her Prince Charming is fabulous. It's because Andi's her Prince Charming is more a Dark Knight out of nightmares. He's not the one sweeping her off her feet and away from danger. Although really, this is a matter of perception. Those who have the might will be the ones forcing their perception into reality. The question is, who is stronger in this story? The two opposing sides have no common ground. With Andi caught in middle, it is a dilemma. To make matters worse, being with her Prince Charming only makes her physically and emotionally feel better. Where does her alliance lay? Because she finally feels accepted and his teasing sexual manner awakens her sexual desire. The sexual tension between the two is well done.
This is a great start to a new series. I can not wait to read the next installment. This fantasy is recommended to those who enjoy erotic fairy tales with shifters, magic and princess who should be queen.
*provided by NetGalley
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