The Mark of the Tala
Author: Jeffe Kennedy
Reviewer: Gikany and Una
The Mark of the Tala is the premier novel in the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms. Gikany and Una enjoy fantasy and this trilogy looked like it would be right up our alley. We liked The Mark of the Tala and are intrigued by the world and the very diverse sisters. Although it was a bit abrupt at the end, we eagerly look forward to the next novel.
Our introduction to this world is through the middle of three sisters, Andromeda, nicknamed, Andi. She is neither the most beautiful nor a great warrior. She is, in fact, the overlooked middle sister, but Andi is happy with her role in the family. Ursula is the eldest and the most like their father, the High King, Uorsine. The youngest sister, Amelia, is the most beautiful and said to be the personification of the goddess Glorianna. Andi is content to be the invisible supporting sister. However, the price she pays is feeling as if she is a disappointment to her family …most notably to her father. The one true pleasure for Andi is riding on her beloved horse, Fiona, in the countryside – her only true freedom. She is content until one day she rides farther than she should and she typically dares only to end up confronting a man who knows more about her than she does.
Rayfe is tall, dark and compelling. He tries to abduct Andi but she narrowly escapes. However, this one interaction sets off a chain reaction that leads to full on war. Part of the problem is that by meeting Rayfe, he awakens something that was long dormant in Andi. She feels herself changes and is afraid. Her fear of the unknown is understandable. The way she waffles a bit regarding Rayfe is also understandable. We enjoyed watching Andi grow and attempt to unearth truths long kept secret from her. It was suspenseful as we learned more about her mother, the people of Annfwn and her own abilities. Her connection to Rayfe is compelling as well. However, what is most enthralling about Rayfe is his trust in Andi – or more aptly, his faith in her. As the walls of Annfwn’s defense slowly crumble, watching Andi and Rayfe together was enchanting. It is not love at first sight, but a hit by the arrow of love that is the catalyst to a slow building foundation that we hope leads to love.
There is so much that is set up in The Mark of the Tala but not everything is resolved at the end. We were surprised by the final confrontation and the abrupt ending that followed. We are not sure that the book needed to end this way, but considering the focal character of the next novel, we know it most likely is the for the best. Although, we are really surprised by the agreement that Andi makes at the end. We were disappointed that we did not see more of the aftermath as Andi adjusts to the consequences of the final conflict.
The Mark of the Tala was an interesting read. The writing is crafted in such a way it was difficult to put down. However, we are left with so many questions and wondering about the “what happens next.” We are anxious to read The Tears of the Rose when it comes out later this year. If you are looking for a gripping fantasy trilogy, check out The Twelve Kingdoms and start reading The Mark of the Tala.
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…
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Series: The Twelve Kingdoms #1
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Format(s): Paperback (352 pages), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
The Mark of the Tala (The Twelve Kingdoms #1)