Review: The Tears of the Rose by Jeffe Kennedy

tears of the rose by jeffe kennedyFormat read: ebook provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: ebook, paperback
Genre: fantasy
Series: The Twelve Kingdoms, #2
Length: 337 pages
Publisher: Kensington Books
Date Released: November 25, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

Three sisters. Motherless daughters of the high king. The eldest is the warrior-woman heir;the middle child is shy and full of witchy intuition;and the youngest, Princess Amelia, she is as beautiful as the sun and just as generous.

Ami met her Prince Charming and went away to his castle on the stormy sea-cliffs—and that should have been her happily ever after. Instead, her husband lies dead and a war rages. Her middle sister has been taken into a demon land, turned into a stranger. The priests and her father are revealing secrets and telling lies. And a power is rising in Ami, too, a power she hardly recognizes, to wield her beauty as a weapon, and her charm as a tool to deceive…

Amelia has never had to be anything but good and sweet and kind and lovely. But the chess game for the Twelve Kingdoms has swept her up in it, and she must make a gambit of her own. Can the prettiest princess become a pawn—or a queen?

My Review:

The Twelve Kingdoms series is all about playing the chess game of power. In that chess game, Princess Amelia moves down the board as a pawn, and turns herself into a queen. It’s a long and hard journey, with pain, suffering, and eventually joy and purpose at the end.

But Amelia needs a lot of strengthening to get to that end. She started the series not just as the youngest daughter of High King Uorsin, but also as a fairy tale princess who is spoiled and protected and very much used to getting her own way.

It does not make her a nice person. It also doesn’t make her a bad person. But she is thoughtless and uncaring, and definitely believes that the world revolves around her and her beauty — until it doesn’t.

mark of the tala by jeffe kennedyHer fairy tale prince is killed at the end of the awesome first book in this series, The Mark of the Tala (enthusiastically reviewed here). Prince Hugh is seemingly killed at the hand of Amelia’s sister, Andromeda. Or at least that is what Amelia is told.

Amelia needs to learn not to accept everything she is told. What matters about Hugh’s death is that he was killed in an unjust war fomented by her oathbreaking father, whoever wielded the blade. His death shouldn’t have happened because nothing about the ongoing conflict between the Twelve Kingdoms and the Tala should have happened.

Amelia’s journey is to learn to separate truth from lies, and to embrace her stronger self and not let herself be a pawn at the hands of others, especially not her father or her father-in-law.

The rulers only want the child that she carries, the last child of the Prince of Avonlidgh. When the seers all predict the child is a boy, both her father and her father-in-law proclaim the child their heir, and start fighting over who will be the next High King, and where the seat of that High King should be.

It’s up to Amelia to become the queen that she can be, and not the pawn of the old men who have controlled her life so far.

But first she has to figure out what it means to be a grown woman, and to be a queen. And to be the daughter of the last Queen of the Tala. Because if either of the old men win, all it will mean is more war over a land that is dying and can’t support it any longer.

If Amelia can find her own way forward, she can be the Queen that Avonlidgh needs, and become the woman that her mother hoped she would be. She just has to believe that she has her own power within her, and learn to use it.

Escape Rating B+: I loved Princess Andromeda in The Mark of the Tala, and I think that oldest sister Ursula is a fantastic example of the warrior princess, but Amelia does not start this story (or even middle this story) as a sympathetic person.

While she is currently going through one hell of a trauma, she comes off as having always been a spoiled, pampered brat. Her transformation is stunning, but she starts out with a long way to go.

I really enjoy the worldbuilding in the Twelve Kingdoms, and we get a lot more information about how things in general are going wrong, and what will need to be done to stop it. Amelia seriously needs to step up.

talon of the hawk by jeffe kennedyThere are a lot of scenes with sister Ursula, and I can’t wait for her book, The Talon of the Hawk. Ursula reminds me a lot of the warrior woman Cassandra Pentaghast in Dragon Age Inquisition, and if the comparison holds, her story is going to be fantastic.

But Amelia is a pawn for much of Tears of the Rose, and she needs to learn not to be a pawn. She’s not sympathetic at the beginning, but she does learn to think and do for herself.

There is a love story in this one, in spite of Amelia’s Prince being dead at the beginning. Ash is an enigma of a character – we don’t find out who or what he is until Amelia does. What makes him so integral a part of Amelia’s story is that he makes her think, and helps her to eventually think for herself.

The Tears of the Rose Button Nov-Dec - 300 x 225

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