“The Talon of the Hawk” by Jeffe Kennedy

“The Talon of the Hawk” by Jeffe KennedyThe Talon of the Hawk by Jeffe Kennedy
Series: The Twelve Kingdoms #3
Published: 2015 by Kensington
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 438
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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The Talon of the Hawk is the third volume in Jeffe Kennedy’s series The Twelve Kingdoms, a collection of fantasy romance novels about three sisters and their struggles to find their place in the world.  Even though this is book three, The Talon and the Hawk can serve as a standalone, although it will spoil some events from previous books.

Princess Ursula was always her father’s favorite.  The problem?  Her father, High King Uorsin, is a megalomaniac.

Uorsin wanted Ursula to be a boy, and never really forgave her for not being one.  She’s still his heir, and she can match him in terms of strategy, but he doesn’t realize it or value her at all.  Ursula only sees the best in her father, and has wanted to follow in his footsteps since she was a child.  But she’s following an ideal that doesn’t exist, and a central theme throughout the book is her coming to terms with the fact that much of what she’s grown up believing about her father and the kingdom itself is a lie.

When Ursula returns to the capital city, she discovered that her father seems to have lost his mind, and is losing control of his kingdom.  She discovers hired mercenaries in the palace, including one young gentleman named Harlan.  When Harlan sees Ursula, he falls for her almost instantly.  Ursula, on the other hand, distrusts him, because her father taught her a rather warped version of loyalty, and she doesn’t believe that someone who fights for money can be a good person.  But when Uorsin’s madness goes a step too far, Ursula and Harlan have to work together in order to survive, and, of course, save the kingdom.

Jeffe Kennedy is one of the few romance writers whom I’ve grown to love, because her characters are smart and self-possessed.  Ursula and Harlan are no exception.

The Talon of the Hawk is significantly darker than the Jeffe Kennedy stories that I’ve read so far.  Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that Ursula has some pretty traumatic events in her past, and Harlan has to work hard to get her to open up, accept her own strength, and work past them.  It builds up their relationship in a deep way, and the challenges they face make you root for them as they return to the capital to set things right.

The Talon and the Hawk is a steamy romance filled with swords, daddy issues, and girl power.  Not as light of a read as I expected, but extremely satisfying.

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