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I Belong


Review: The Talon of the Hawk by Jeffe Kennedy

The Talon of the HawkTitle: The Talon of the Hawk

Author: Jeffe Kennedy

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Series: The Twelve Kingdoms (Book #3)

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

Format: Paperback, 438 Pages

ISBN-10: 0758294476 (Kensington)

ISBN-13: 978-0758294470 (Kensington)

Reviewed by: Kristie

Synopsis:

A HEAVY CROWN

Three daughters were born to High King Uorsin, in place of the son he wanted. The youngest, lovely and sweet. The middle, pretty and subtle, with an air of magic. And the eldest, the Heir. A girl grudgingly honed to leadership, not beauty, to bear the sword and honor of the king.

Ursula’s loyalty is as ingrained as her straight warrior’s spine. She protects the peace of the Twelve Kingdoms with sweat and blood, her sisters from threats far and near. And she protects her father to prove her worth. But she never imagined her loyalty would become an open question on palace grounds. That her father would receive her with a foreign witch at one side and a hireling captain at the other—that soldiers would look on her as a woman, not as a warrior. She also never expected to decide the destiny of her sisters, of her people, of the Twelve Kingdoms and the Thirteenth. Not with her father still on the throne and war in the air. But the choice is before her. And the Heir must lead…

Quick & Dirty: Dark, high fantasy with erotic romance. A little slow at times but for the most part was an engaging read that I thoroughly enjoyed!

Opening Sentence: The bright pennants of Ordnung, High King Uorsin’s rampant bear topping them all, snapped in the cool breezes from the high mountain peaks.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

The Talon of the Hawk is the last novel in the Twelve Kingdoms Trilogy. It does a nice job of wrapping up the series but it spends a lot of time in the country of Annfwn solving their problems than it does at Castle Ordnung and solving the problems of an evil king and dying empire. I would highly recommend reading the previous two novels of this series in order to know the characters and what is going on. The stories really do build off of one another. Each story in this series has been told from the point of view of one of the sisters. The Talon of the Hawk is Ursula’s story.

Princess Ursula returns home to Castle Ordnung without her sister, Amelia, and her heir much to the chagrin of her father, King Uorsin. Ursula finds that a lot has changed since she has left. A foreign army or mercenaries is now guarding the castle. Her father has a foreign witch at his beck and call and important people are missing. Uorsin believes Ursula a traitor now and abuses her and locks her up.

Ursula escapes with the help of the mercenary army because the leader, Harlan, is in love with her. He swears fealty to her without breaking his contract agreement with Uorsin. Ursula goes on the run to Annfwn hoping to find both of her sisters (Andromeda & Amelia) and Amelia’s daughter who was kidnapped.

Ursula is the older sister who has always been the heir to the throne. She has been trained as a warrior since she was five. She has speed and her trusty sword to aid her in battle. Ursula has also been a protector to her two younger sisters, keeping them away from their father’s wrath. She also has no interest in men so much so that her sisters think that she is gay and the bards sing songs about her sword being her partner. The King is the only master in her mind. She takes his word for law and she tries not to fail him, even though she hasn’t been doing a good job when it comes to her sisters and what he wants.

Harlan begins to undo all the safeguards and barriers that Ursula has put up for herself. She has a lot of issues – and let me tell you, one of them is really bad. Harlan is a mercenary with a heart of gold and has no ill will towards Ursula even though that is all she can think about. I loved Harlan’s loyalty and how he manages to break down Ursula’s walls.

The Talon of the Hawk is a dark, high fantasy with erotic romance. I really enjoyed the buildup tension between Ursula and Harlan’s relationship. The writing was quite descriptive. There were a few slow spots at times but for the most part there was so much going on that the story kept me engaged and wanting to read more. The only thing I was disappointed in was how quickly everything wrapped up. There has to be more to this story and I definitely want to know what happens afterwards.

Overall, this is a series that I would recommend for those who like high fantasy with heavy romantic scenes. This story alone has some really dark George R.R. Martin undertones. This story isn’t all sunshine and roses but it was still a very engaging read.

Notable Scene:

His words stung, far more than they should have. Danu! Such a viciously targeted strike. He’d opened the way to this wound, breaking the scar tissue with his questions, flattery, and attention. A weapon so finely honed I’d never felt it going in. I’d been fine, all of that squarely in the past. Now he’d made that old injury seep with blood and pus once more. With pain. I nearly staggered from the ache. Of course that scared me. I couldn’t keep bleeding like this.

“Fine. I am afraid. You called me fearless and you were wrong about that, also.”

“Also?”

“You thought you could cozen and seduce me. It will never happen.”

“Ah. I understand. I never figured you for a coward, Ursula.”

“Think what you like. I’m not interested in having the good opinion of a mercenary.” I hauled myself back, almost regretting that last attack. A clean slice, meant to hurt enough to end this dance between us once and for all.

He absorbed the strike silently, a warrior to the end.

“Be ready to ride out in the morning.” I said, and turned to go.

“Ursula,” he called after me.

Unwilling, I stopped, looked over my shoulder into the shadows. “What?”

“Do you realize that’s the first time you’ve used my name? And you did it to break my heart.”

I steeled mine. “Then you know I mean it.” With that, I strode off to take the first watch. He would get over it soon enough.

Better now than later.

The Twelve Kingdoms:

0.5 Negotiation

1. The Mark of the Tala

2. The Tears of the Rose

3. The Talon of the Hawk

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FTC Advisory: Jeffe Kennedy/Kensington provided me with a copy of The Talon of the Hawk. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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