This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.The Pages of the Mind (The Uncharted Realms #1; The Twelve Kingdoms #4) by Jeffe Kennedy
Series: The Uncharted Realms #1, The Twelve Kingdoms #4
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: May 31, 2016
Format: ARC, E-book
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble
An Orphan's Throne
Magic has broken free over the Twelve Kingdoms. The population is beset by shapeshifters and portents, landscapes that migrate, uncanny allies who are not quite human…and enemies eager to take advantage of the chaos.
Dafne Mailloux is no adventurer--she's a librarian. But the High Queen trusts Dafne's ability with languages, her way of winnowing the useful facts from a dusty scroll, and even more important, the subtlety and guile that three decades under the thumb of a tyrant taught her.
Dafne never thought to need those skills again. But she accepts her duty. Until her journey drops her into the arms of a barbarian king. He speaks no tongue she knows but that of power, yet he recognizes his captive as a valuable pawn. Dafne must submit to a wedding of alliance, becoming a prisoner-queen in a court she does not understand. If she is to save herself and her country, she will have to learn to read the heart of a wild stranger. And there are more secrets written there than even Dafne could suspect…
Praise for The Mark of the Tala
"Magnificent…a richly detailed fantasy world." --RT Book Reviews, 4½ stars, Top Pick
"Well written and swooningly romantic." --Library Journal, starred review
When reading this book you will find that it would be useful to have read the previous book in the Twelve Kingdoms series but it is not necessary as the author does a fair job of giving you enough details that you get the idea of the circumstances leading up to this book.
The story starts at the conclusion of a battle that was waged after the death of the previous ruler in order to become the new ruler of the twelve kingdoms. A circumstance from this battle is that a newly erected magical barrier has expanded past the intended geographic encasing. This expansion now encloses new kingdoms within the barrier and has also led to some kingdoms being cutoff from lands they had previously been able to travel to.
Solidifying the High Queens rule, Dafne Mailloux, has been penning sensitive declarations, creating lists of supplies, looking up laws new and old as well as keeping notes in all the meetings that were now taking place. Basically carrying out her duties as the Queen’s councilor, scribe and librarian.
“Since I’d returned to Castle Ordnung, to serve the new High Queen Ursula as her councilor in the wake of her father Uorsin’s death, it seemed I’d done nothing but record keeping.”
Although Dafne loves what she does, she yearns for more but has accepted that she will never be more because she is a spinster with zero prospects.
“I possessed neither magic, nor beauty, nor warrior skills, but I was a demon on documents.”
Dafne may see herself as nothing special but she is truly valued by her adoptive sister Queen Ursula. Ursula having just become the High Queen is still getting used to her new role when she receives news through her network of spies, known as the hawks, that there is a company of armed men coming to the castle. Unsure whether or not they come to lay claim to the throne or pay their respects, the Queen prepares all for both outcomes. Upon reaching the castle we come to find out that General Kral of Dasnaria, Imperial Prince of the Royal House of Konyngrr, leads the men and he has come to discuss a number of complaints. The main complaint is that reparations be paid for the magical attack on Nahanau, a kingdom under the protection of Dasnaria.
In order to keep peace and gather much needed intel, Queen Ursula decides to send Dafne on a diplomatic mission to meet with King Nakoa Kaupo and work things out with that kingdom, then Dafne is to go on to the Dasnaria and gather intel. Now Dafne is one of the Queen’s hawks as well as a librarian. Things are looking up for Dafne, she is going to have an adventure. Hmmm, such a nice plan…too bad that it doesn’t work out this way.
Dafne does indeed go on the diplomatic mission but once they land at the kingdom of Nahanau things do not go as planned. At first sight, King Nakoa wants Dafne like an emo kid wants eyeliner. He just gathers Dafne to himself with no apologies. Me likey! Unbeknownst to Dafne she takes a token from the King and as it turns out she accepted his marriage request. Ok, so seriously it seems that no one has taught her that you do not accept gifts from strangers, especially if you do-not-understand their language. This earned an eye-roll from me but I digress.
From this point on the story is mainly about Dafne and Nakoa and it is hilarious, well done, and includes lots of interesting story plots and twists. Dafne is so much more than she believes herself to be. She shows her spunk and proves that she should never be underestimated. Not only that, she proves one of my favorite quotes from the book which is:
“This is why it’s perilous to ignore a librarian.”
If I honestly tell you anymore then I am going to become a spoiler and I do try not to do that. So I will tell you that you will immensely enjoy reading this novel. Please start it in the morning on a day that you have nothing else to do otherwise you will neglect your life, possibly even including your children in lieu of putting this book down. You have been warned.
*Thank you to Kensington Books & NetGalley for this ARC of The Pages of the Mind*