The Mark of the Tala (The Twelve Kingdoms #1) by Jeffe Kennedy

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A quarter of the story I really thought it was a Young Adult Fantasy novel by the writing style until I realize it was a Fantasy Adult Romance novel. I am not sure whether it was significant to me knowing it but I think the book reminded me too much like Kristen Ashley’s Fantasyland series which further reduce my initial acceptance of the book because it is a fantasy novel with an emphasis on romance between characters that are too sparsely crafted to be enjoyable.

Princess Andromeda aka Andi was the middle child of a high-king who controlled several kingdom with a deep prejudice against the magical folks called the Tala who inhabit the neighbouring country beyond the mystical border. She was the invisible princess who was supposed to be a wallflower until the moment when she was assaulted by one shapeshifting Tala who turns out to be the King of Tala who tasted her blood by biting her lips and recognized her as his mate. Basically, half the story was about Andi arguing and hiding against the Tala and half of it was her embracing her lineage and becoming the focus of everyone’s attention because she’s the chosen one. You can assume the rest of the story at this point.

One of the things that really bothers me was the character inconsistencies and the insta-romance. I just don’t buy the ‘romance’ between Princess Andi and King Rayfe. The basic premise of this book around that plot was he assaulted her and she fought him and they tasted each other’s blood and immediately they think they’re meant for each other except that she knived him and he aggressively stalked her in her dreams and wanting to kidnap her afterwards and in her dreams, he continuously sexually assaulted her until she relented and basically gave herself up to him despite it being a bad idea for both of the kingdom and her family. That being said, I also don’t suddenly buy into this mysterious prophecy between two kingdom and her father irrational hate and her sisters treating her like an insect and actually describe her as a cross between butterfly and the crawling feels you get from a spider.

But I was remain interested with the worldbuilding and the whole irrational hate thing which never fully explain in this book because its a trilogy and despite the superficiality of the plot and characters in this book, I actually like Princess Ursula more and kinda wish the next book was about her (so I might read the third book instead of the next book). But if you like mostly romance or sex in a shallow confusing fantasy novel without character development whatsoever like Fantasyland, maybe you’ll enjoy this book more than I did. It wasn’t that bad but its too darn predictable for me.

The ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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