Formats available: ebook, audiobook
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Covenant of Thorns #2
Length: 280 pages
Publisher: Carina Press
Date Released: October 7, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
A human trapped in the world of Faerie, in possession of magic I could not control, I made a bargain for my life: to let the dangerously sensual fae noble known as Rogue sire my firstborn. And one does not break an oath with a fae. But no matter how greatly I desire him, I will not succumb. Not until I know what will happen to the child.
Though unable—or unwilling—to reveal the fate of human-fae offspring himself, Rogue accompanies me on my quest for answers. Along the way he agrees to teach me to harness my power, in exchange for a single kiss each day and sleeping by my side each night. Just as I am about to yield to temptation, I find myself in a deadly game of cat and mouse with an insane goddess. Now my search for the truth will lead me to the darkest of all Faerie secrets.
The world of Jeffe Kennedy’s Covenant of Thorns is absolutely built on the premise that one should be careful what one wishes for, because one will almost certainly get exactly that. However, magic wishes (and the fae who inhabit the world she has built) are incredibly slippery; one gets precisely what one wished, the letter of the wish, and not the spirit.
Magic wishes are dangerous currency, and all too frequently turn on the one wishing them. A lesson that Gwynn believes she has learned at a high price during the first book in this series, Rogue’s Pawn (reviewed here). However, Gwynn has crossed to the fae lands from our own world, and sometimes she is too stubborn to accept that the fae do not operate by the kind of logic that she is used to.
Sometimes the fae are too used to being all-powerful to accept that Gwynn does not operate by the rules that they are used to.
Even though every interchange for every conceivable situation (and some that Gwynn finds inconceivable) is handled through bargaining and negotiation, Gwynn continues to find ways to maintain an increasingly tenuous hold on herself as still mostly-human. A task that gets more difficult every day.
Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Gwynn must use her power to protect herself and those she has come to care for from the Queen who has ruled uncontested for eternity.
But Gwynn has to maneuver through a landscape where the other players withhold knowledge from her at every turn. She is flying blind by the seat of her pants.
Rogue, the fae who brought her to Faerie, keeps vital knowledge from her in order to protect her, until his protection is taken away. Then Gwynn takes on a quest of discovery to determine what bargains Rogue has made on her behalf, what he has broken, and what he has kept.
Because bargains are the coin of this realm. And he may have committed one or both of them to something that will kill or enslave Gwynn if he cannot be found. And because in spite of all the secrets he has kept, and in spite of all the times he has left her in ignorance, once he disappears Gwynn realizes that he truly was bound by negotiations made with others that he could not control.
And that in spite of her best intentions, she cares more than she expected. She might even love him. But she’ll never know what secrets he is keeping from her if she doesn’t rescue him. Even if it kills her.
Escape Rating B+: What makes this series work for me, at least so far, is following Gwynn’s perspective. Not just because she is an extreme case of the fish-out-of-water type, but because she handles it so intelligently. She not only doesn’t understand but she adapts to each situation. I like being in her head.
However, because the reader’s perspective is so closely tied to Gwynn’s, her darkness is our darkness; we only know what she knows. I think I’m identifying with her a little too much, because the way that everyone around her is keeping her deliberately uninformed is driving me mad. It keeps me turning pages, but I’m astounded that she hasn’t made a lot more things explode. Also that so few of the fae who surround her and supposedly want her best interests at heart do not see her agency. They see her magic potential but not her intelligence, or something.
Rogue’s “courtship” of Gwynn is fascinating, because the reader is never quite sure what his game is, and neither is Gwynn. It is very sensual and extremely hot and sometimes sweet as well, but he always has a purpose and it isn’t true love. Gwynn’s right about that. Which doesn’t preclude them needing each other for something deeply important including and beyond great sex. Eventually.
The fae culture of bargaining, negotiation and oaths has layers within layers. Gwynn is still learning, and watching her navigate is one of the tough but compelling parts of her journey.
Even though I’m certain that Rogue’s Possession is the second book in a trilogy, it absolutely does not suffer from “middle-book syndrome”. It comes to a satisfying conclusion, and ends the story in a reasonably good place. It just has some loose ends that I can’t wait to see tied up. Possibly with green ribbon. (Read and you’ll understand)