Cover Image: The Edge of the Blade

The Edge of the Blade

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Member Reviews

The Twelve Kingdoms series was amazing and when I came to know there would be a spin- off series, I was super excited! And it definitely did not let me down. Pages of the Mind was amazing with the Golden Dynasty vibes and this book was equally amazing! We get to finally learn more about Dasnaria and Harlan's family. Jepp was an amazing, independent woman. I loved seeing her as the protagonist of this book and learning more about her! She's so different from the other protagonists of the series! 
And Kraal! Well his reactions were so funny at times! He was brought up in a society where women are sheltered and controlled, it's such a surprise for him to see a fiery, carefree woman like Jepp. I loved watching their interactions with each other and as you can guess they definitely do not get along well with each other in the beginning. I loved seeing the relationship between the two!
There are so many surprises that await both us and Jepp in Dasnaria and the author takes us along for quite a ride. I love the direction in which this series is going! Can't wait to see more!
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Jepp...oh Jepp. Man have I loved her since she was first introduced. She’s a totally kick butt, do what she wants warrior who isn’t afraid of her sexuality or just being who she is. I was really excited to read her book and then life got in the way. Finally though I got to sit down and read it and I couldn’t put it down. I loved Jepp and Kral, they were hot together and I loved their banter. Sometimes I wanted to punch him in the face, but for the most part he wasn’t too bad. It’s not his fault he grew up in a misogynistic society.

This book happens concurrently with Pages of the Mind and starts pretty much right after they leave Dafne on the island. It’s interesting to see Jepp step into the role of ambassador when she is definitely has no idea what she’s doing. She usually lets her blades do the talking, or her fists. She’s definitely not much for diplomacy, especially when dealing with the Dasnarians, who see women as objects.

I loved the way this book tied together some threads from the previous books. I loved the story it told about Kral and Jepp, their backstories and who they really were and what they really wanted. I liked the introduction of Karyn, even though I wasn’t sure I would. This book had a few slower moments, but overall it was really enjoyable. Dasnaria was definitely cringeworthy and I really hope that the Emperor gets his at some point. I look forward to reading the rest of the series and maybe picking up the spin-off that features Kral and Harlan’s sister.
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An improvement over the last installment in the series. An interesting introduction into a new land, unfortunately this story wasn't enough to keep me on edge.
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Exciting read, loads of action, and as is the author's style, a moving character arc for both the main character and side characters. Kennedy's work is always a joy to read.
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Review goes live on the blog on May 20 at 00.00 am GMT+2 and will show up on Goodreads sometime later.

In a Flutter: Snarky galore! xDDD
Fluttering Thoughts:
Worldbuilding: The world of the Uncharted Realms includes that of the Twelve Kingdoms, but comes with some really awesome additions like the Dasnarian Empire and its fascinating (and revolting) ways. I have always, and probably will always love Jeffe Kennedy’s worldbuilding. It’s a fun, diverse, imaginative fantastic world full of different cultures, and it’s always a joy to explore.
Characters: Jepp is…how to best describe her? Be still, my heart! She’s smart, quick on her feet, independent, brave, snark-alicious, and passionate. I loved everything about her, from her irreverent attitude and fierce fighter side to the generous heart and devoted nature. I could probably think of no better guide through such a world. I really loved everything about her, from her opinion of other characters (that I shared), to her core values and imperfect but essentially free heart. I think each MC of these series could be a facet of someone’s personality, in a way – and Jepp is our free, rebellious, intense nature. She wasn’t trying to please anyone except those she respected, she didn’t bend her values for anyone or anything, and while she appreciated help when given, she dealt with crap on her own – and jumped in to help others deal with theirs. And her skill in handling knives is art. I mean, basically, she’s the woman I wish I were (and I don’t think I ever said that about any character, ever).
Of course, part of the fun in that would be getting a serving of Kral :)) I’m not above admitting my crush on the guy. All alpha male, misogynistic as his culture prepared him to be, but smart, fun, brave, and thoroughly adept at banter. What I loved most about him was the fact that once he gained a different perspective on his empire, he didn’t close his eyes to the wrongness of it all and when the time came, he made the right decisions. Gotta love that!
The two of them had explosive chemistry and I enjoyed every freaking moment of it all. I mean, every discussion between them was almost like a round of good sex, you know what I mean? xD
Plot: The romance was a slow burn emotionally and fast, bright fire in terms of interactions, and I looooved every minute of it. The story outside of the romance was very interesting, like all stories in these sister-series. It had excitement, action, adventure, sweet moment, horrifying images (yep, referring to the Dasnarian court here).
Writing: First person, past tense narrative, Jepp’s POV. I looooooved her voice, adored her snarky sense of humor and the banter between her and Kral.
Curb Appeal: Awesome cover, hooking blurb – but it’s Jeffe Kennedy, so impulsive buy material anyways.

I recommend The Edge of the Blade to fans of badass MCs who stand their ground, kick ass and do their thing; to fans of complex fantastic worlds and well-built intrigue; and to fans of hot-as-hell romance with explosive chemistry and damn near orgasmic banter. This baby is one of my favs from the series. I’m looking forward to reading the next novel!
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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated for 18+

Elite warrior, scout, and spy Jepp is lethal with her blades and her tongue so when she is selected for a diplomatic mission as an ambassador to a country where women are wives or sex slaves, she finds remaining docile and subservient more challenging than anything she's faced before. But she must gather information on how big of a threat this foreign king may be and return alive without starting a war. Oh, and she's sleeping with the king's son; Prince Kral... Who has a wife.

Jepp is a cool character. You get a great sense of who she is from the smart writing and enjoy the story from her perspective. She's smart, tough, and funny; you could see yourself chilling at the bar with her despite the fact she would drink you under the table.

While containing romantic and erotic elements, the way this book is structured made them feel like a legitimate part of the story instead of the plot grinding to a halt so the main characters can bone. There is genuine peril and intrigue with high stakes in a well written and constructed fantasy world. I haven't read the first book (it may have given me some deeper context into some character relationships but it's not necessary) but the story is so interesting, I'd be excited to follow to the next book. It's obvious Jepp and the Uncharted Realms world have plenty more stories to tell. 4.5 out of 5.
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A unique fantasy that I found to be truly refreshing in the genre.

Full review to come at www.coffeeandcharacters.com/blog
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My Review: The first book in the Uncharted Realms series (Pages of the Mind) was my favorite book of 2016 so I was so excited to read this book. Unfortunately I was rather disappointed. This series is a branch off the original Mark of the Tala trilogy and while it wasn't necessary to read those books before Pages of the Mind, it was really needed for this book. There is a lot mentioned about the world, the characters and the backstory from those first three books, that if you hadn't read them (like me) you will end up completely lost and grasping for threads. The villain in this book is I guess the same that they fought all through the first trilogy so there is a lot of history there that you don't have if you hadn't read those books. With that said, there was plenty adventure and action for Jepp and the back and forth between her and Kral was rather entertaining. I would have liked the tension to have been built up a bit more before jumping into bed though. I do love a strong female character that stands by her values but Jepp was almost a little too headstrong for my liking, after reading Daphne's story and her looking at things from both sides, it was an abrupt change. Kral's view of women was so infuriating and I honestly don't think he developed an understanding in that aspect either by the end of the book. If you have read the first trilogy then you may enjoy this book so much better than I did and if you are looking forward to this one, I strongly suggest making sure you read them first otherwise you may end up confused and disappointed.

 

 

My Rating: Unfortunately, I am so disappointed in this book, I had really high hopes after reading Pages of the Mind but with out the backstory knowledge that was needed and little connection to the characters it was a real struggle for me.  I give it a rating of Two Paws.
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Once again absolutely amazing read! I love this series, I love this author.... The characters are everything you need them to be. This book does not disappoint except that it ends. I wasn't really sure the first couple of chapters but as always I was reeled in and hooked
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In this tale, we follow Jepp, Queen Ursula’s best scout. Their story started in The Pages of the Mind, where the queen sent them on a diplomatic mission to Dasnaria. In the first book of this spinoff series, they made a stop in which Dafne, the original ambassador stayed behind in Nahanau. That put Jepp in the position of ambassador, a role she was never meant to play. Jepp doesn’t have a diplomatic bone in her body. She is a spy, a scout and sometimes, even an assassin. This story overlaps chronologically with Dafne’s story. We know a little bit more than Jepp does about what is going on with Dafne. This does fuel some anger in Jepp. She doesn’t know what is going on with Dafne, and since she was supposed to be Dafne’s bodyguard, you can see why she is concerned. Not to mention, she knows this is a role she is not good at.

There is also a huge difference in culture between Jepp and Kral. In Dasnaria, women are meek, they are not noticed by the men and are seen as lesser individuals. You can imagine how that would go over with a woman who has been own her own for most of her life. She has come from a world where women can rule and can be seen as warriors. She also lives in a world where women have sex with who they want. After one night of sex, Kral now sees Jepp has his. He is upset when she sees it only as a one night stand. This is a bone between them for a while.

Once they actually reach Dasnaria, things are real eye opening for Jepp. The world for women there is much worse than she expected I think. She doesn’t do well with the king of this realm, who is seen as a divine entity to the people of Dasnaria.

The relationship between Kral and Jepp is not an easy one. They come from two completely different worlds and have a hard time seeing things from the other side of things. It is difficult for both sides to budge in their beliefs, but there is also a strong pull between them.

The ending of this story really surprised me. I won’t go into details, but I will say that I’ve very interested in seeing what happens in the next story. It’s not a cliffhanger, but there is definitely more of this story to tell. I think it will also be very interesting to see the next couple, which is revealed at the end of this story.

The part I loved most about this story was learning more about Jepp. We get a fairly detailed backstory about Jepp. It is told in several different ways including Jepp’s memories and while she is talking to Kral. Jepp is a very interesting character. She has been strong her entire life. I’ve liked her since the first time I met her in the Twelve Kingdoms series. I was so glad to learn more about her.

If you haven’t tried this series, it is one that I will highly recommend. I would also recommend that you start with at least the first book in The Uncharted Realms series, The Pages of the Mind. I would also highly recommend that you try The Twelve Kingdoms series. I don’t think I would it is a requirement for this series, but it does give you more backstory about this world. Not to mention, that it is a great series, too.

Another area of skill I sadly lacked, comforting a weeping woman. I’d never been the hold her hand while she cried kind of friend–I was more there for the phase of “let me help dispose of the body.”
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Jeffe Kennedy has become one of my new favorite authors to read.  I enjoyed this book, but Mark of the Tala is still my favorite book in the series.  I liked Jepp better because of this book- she was always the funniest to read about.  I highly recommend this series; it's definitely a romping good time!
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The Edge of the Blade by Jeffe Kennedy

The Edge of the Blade by Jeffe Kennedy is book two in her new Uncharted Realms series, the fifth dealing with the world of the Twelve Kingdoms. Jepp has always been fearless, whether she was taking a new lover to bed or facing down an enemy with her knives. But when she finds herself replacing the ambassador to Danaria after a disastrous negotiation with an island king, she feels her first inkling of being out of her depth. Fortunately, Prince Kral of Dasnaria is happy to help in any way he can, especially since alone time with Jepp is one of his very favorite activities. 

Continuing the story surrounding the jewel known as the Star of Annfwn, this tale of adventure and romance is sure to please fans of this series.

Memorable moment: Jepp doing some sexual teasing during an argument with Kral.

“I seem to recall,” I echoed him, pursing my lips as in in thought, “that you had me on more than my back. You had me any number of ways – on my stomach, on all fours, on your back. . . Tell me, lover, which was your favorite?”

We hadn’t closed any distance but it felt like we had, the heat thickening, the cool morning air. Oh, yeah, that got to him. He didn’t shift to adjust his arousal, but he wanted to. I let my eyes linger there and smirked. Then blew him a little kiss.
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Since meeting Jepp in The Twelve Kingdoms series, Gikany and Una have been eager to experience her happily ever after.  After The Pages of the Mind, we were intrigued to see how Jepp would handle going from bodyguard and warrior, to spy and diplomat.  Overall we liked her story even though it was more of a cerebral than an emotional journey.

Gikany and Una love this world, especially as the series has expanded to include other kingdoms and cultures.  Although we were given a glimpse of the Dasanarian culture in previous books, it is nothing like being immersed in it.  Considering the heavily male dominated culture, Jepp is completely and utterly the wrong choice for a diplomat.  Despite being an excessively skilled and talented scout and soldier, she is not subtle.  However, Ursula chose her for a reason (most likely guided by her Dasanarian consort, Harlan) and had quite possibly planned to use her as a backup if Daphne failed.  Jepp is a clever woman, and is able to complete her mission, even though it does not go as she anticipated.  As the novel closed, we were surprised by the turn of events are eager to see what happens next.

We did have trouble connecting with Kral, Jepp’s lover.  He is most definitely a product of his upbringing and culture.  Although, if his brother Harlan could change, we had hope he could as well.  Even though Ms. Kennedy redeems him by the end, we never felt the emotional connection between Jepp and Kral.  Although the emotional connection wasn’t there for us, seeing the cultural differences and watching a man realize the glaring flaws of his culture was gripping.  Despite loving Jepp because she was so different from the women of his culture, Kral still seemed to (until the VERY end) want to place her into a slot of his world.  This is something that would have made Jepp utterly miserable.

Although The Edge of the Blade started a tad slowly, it was a rocking roller coaster by the end.  The overall story, and the cultural and political storylines were gripping even if the emotional connection for the reader between Jepp and Kral was muted.  We continue to love this series and look forward to the next book.
Our Rating:  B, Liked It
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Since this was the first book I've read of the series I was at a bit of a disadvantage knowing the history of the characters and kingdoms. That said the book was amazing and I look forward to reading more of Jeffe Kennedy's work. Jepp was a strong, amazing character but not unrealistically so. The plot was quick paced and wasn't predictable leading to a fascinating read. The last chapter seemed a bit rushed and ended abruptly but that could have been intentional if the author is planning a sequel. Overall the book is definitely worth the read and led to me pulling an all-nighter to finish.
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The Edge of the Blade is another exciting tale in the wonderful fantasy romance Uncharted Realms series by Jeffe Kennedy. The book opens about midway through the action of the previous book, when Jepp must take over as the Dasnarian emissary. Trapped on a boat with the misogynistic, yet utterly sexy and entertaining Prince Kral, Jepp tries to learn the ways of Dasnaria as not to let down her queen. Trying to hold on to what makes Jepp all she is while figuring out how to maneuver the political waters of a foreign land leaves Jepp confused and frustrated. However, how she does work her way around is entertaining for the reader.

Overall, I enjoyed The Edge of the Blade; however, it took me a very long time to get into the story. I just didn't connect with the characters or the storyline for a while. The "backwards" way of the Dasnarians was part of the reason. Like Jepp, I was completely frustrated with the attitudes of both the Dasnarian men and women. However, I did like and enjoy that the author took the time to help Jepp understand why those raised in gilded cages don't see a way or understand a reason to leave. 

Jepp and Kral enjoyed playing games with one another, but their time on the ship was not my favorite part of the story. Once the pair were in the Emperor's palace, the book was more enjoyable. The tempo picked up; however it was the small nuances of working around the rules and restrictions that made the story intriguing. I loved seeing Jepp try to understand the Desnarian women while helping liberate them. 

The love story was almost second fiddle to the overall storyline. It took me a while to feel connected to the pair. They are oil and vinegar; fire and ice. They truly are meant to be and a perfect fit, but their individual missions and goals prevented them from seeing anything longterm. Kral tried to fit Jepp into his world, something that took him forever to figure out would never work. Once they opened up, both on the ship and at the palace, I could feel their connection and liked it much more. I did like them as a couple, it just took too long for me to get the feels. 

Overall, The Edge of the Blade is another wonderful addition to an amazing series. The author excels at writing first person narrative and truly portraying her main character's innermost thoughts and desires thoroughly and consistently. I love the expanding world and look forward to whatever comes next.

My Rating: B
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In this latest installment of the Twelve Kingdoms spinoff, we are off to the Uncharted Realm of Dasnaria, where men are self-important and women are seen and not heard. I was very much looking forward to this book to see how Jeffe's strong-willed heroines fared in such a misogynistic society. This book takes place somewhat contemporaneously with The Pages of the Mind, and I do not recommend reading any of these as a standalone. Read them in order to the full continuing story arc.

Our heroine in this book is/was the Captain of Queen Ursula's Hawks and the Queen's best scout, Jesperanda (Jepp). She was an interesting choice to be paired with this particular hero, and to be undertaking this particular mission. Why? Because Jepp is arguably one of Jeffe's more tomboyish heroines, to the point of being androgynous in personality and behavior. She is a skilled soldier, prefers fighting leathers to feminine accouterments, is a bit oversexed and lusty, and enjoys the touch of a woman just as much as a man. She was unapologetically her own person and she wasn't going to change for anyone. I quite liked her. 

General Kral of Dasnaria and Imperial Prince of the Royal House of Konyngrr was attracted to Jepp's lethal beauty from the time they met (and slept together) in the earlier books of the series. Kral didn't quite know what to make of the women of the Twelve Kingdoms, who voiced their opinion instead of looking meekly down and doing what they were told. He loved sparring with Jepp, both verbally and physically, but her refusal to conform to the ways of a Dasnarian female also frustrated and infuriated him. He really was obtuse in his views on feminine ideas and behavior, but it was attributable to his upbringing in the male-dominated society of Dasnaria.

Dasnaria and it's political structure reminded me of the historical Ottoman/Byzantine empire, with a sheikh or sultan at the head and women kept as concubines in a huge harem. Jepp definitely stuck out like a sore thumb, but I was so glad that she did. I didn't want her to conform or try to meet the outdated Dasnarian ideals of feminine obedience and service. 

The relationship between Kral and Jepp was fun. I liked to watch them pick at one another as it was a clear case of opposites attracting. I also liked watching Kral realize that he preferred a brash outspoken woman to the meek and mild untouchable females in Dasnaria. I really wish that I wasn't reading this one over the holidays as I kept getting interrupted by family commitments and couldn't really devote the time to the book that I would have liked. That kept me from becoming fully involved in the story, but once I was back home yesterday with some quiet time, the last quarter of the book zipped by in a blink. Most of the action occurred in that last quarter, but I thought the build-up during the first part of the book was necessary, and it was entertaining as well.

I love fantasy romance and wholeheartedly recommend this series to other fans of the genre. The previous book, Pages of the Mind, made it onto my Top Reads of 2016 list. I just couldn't get enough of King Nakoa KauPo. Mmmmmm.  I am excited to see where Jeffe takes us next!

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the author and publisher.
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The Edge of the Blade opens with a rollicking, adventurous feel—the sparring between Jepp, formerly of the High Queen’s guard and Prince Kral of Dasnaria, brings to mind Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas in Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile. They have challenges on board Kral’s ship (I challenge readers not to shudder at the “carnivorous fish-birds) but when the pair reaches the kingdom of Dasnaria, Jeffe Kennedy’s newest entry in her Uncharted Realms series takes a decidedly dangerous and provocative turn.

Jepp had been responsible for the safety of her friend Dafne who now laid “prisoner in the clutches of the dragon king.” Instead of being imprisoned for her failure to protect her charge, Jepp is named ambassador to the Dasnarian court, even though she has sampled “the pleasures of their prince’s bed.” A less likely ambassador is hard to imagine. Jepp draws deep on the messages of her youth to keep her mind focused.

I gripped the polished rail of the ship, keeping myself from looking back. Bryn never look back. More than a superstition, less than a magic spell, I’d heard that caution all my young life, told me first by my mother, and echoed by my grandmother, aunts, great-aunts, sisters, cousins, friends, and teachers.

Jepp’s upbringing and the world she inhabits is such a contrast to the patriarchal ways of Kral and his homeland. Kral awkwardly attempts to sooth Jepp’s guilt about her failure to protect Dafne.

“She’ll be all right—don’t fret yourself so much.”

Oh joy. Kral. Just the megalomaniac to make my morning perfect. “Is that an order, General Kral of Dasnaria and Imperial Prince of the Royal House of Konyngrr? Ooh—or perhaps you’re relating a vision from Danu herself!”

He growled in his throat and leaned his forearms on the rail next to me, bracing against the pitch of his ship as we crossed into the choppier open sea, away from the lee of the island. “In Dasnaria we do not heed your three goddesses. Perhaps the women do, to succor hearth and home, but such weakness would not be fitting for a warrior of our people, much less one of the royal line.”

I rolled my eyes, ostentatiously so he wouldn’t miss it, turning so I stood hipshot, daring him to take a good long look at what he’d never again lay a finger on. “Danu is the goddess of clear-eyed wisdom, the bright blade, unflinching justice, and self-discipline. I can see your point—not manly virtues at all.”

Jepp and Kral have testy conversations about everything under the sun but they most often return to the topic of the appropriate role of women in Dasnaria, a conversation that prickles with sexual overtones since they know each other thoroughly. Kral informs Jepp that if she wants to scratch her itch, so to speak, it can be only with him, on his ship.

“No,” I repeated. “I don’t want to hurt your fragile manly feelings, but really the fucking was quite forgettable. I thought maybe you’d improve with practice, but alas.”

Kral is not about to let that sweeping insult to his virility stand.

“I seem to recall otherwise.” His turn to look me over with hot eyes, taunting me. “Once I had you on your back, you squirmed like a kottyr, purring and helplessly happy to have her belly rubbed just so.”

The two are at an impasse. Their lust lights up the ship but neither will bend an inch. Kral says he “could break you in half without trying.” But Jepp has weapons too.

“You’d have to get past my blades first.”

Ah, those blades. Even “General Killjoy” is aware that Jepp’s prowess with her array of wicked armaments is extraordinary.  His ship is attacked by fearsome magical creatures, half bird/half fish with the ability to strip “flesh at an amazing rate” right off the bone, and Jepp and her blades spring into action. Even in retreat she is on the attack. When the birds follow two sailors below ship, Jepp slices and dices.

I caught one with a midair swipe with my left blade and threw my right knife, pinning the other to the wooden wall.

Both Dasnarians gaped at me.

“Nice move,” one of them noted, with a salute that smacked ever so slightly of irony.

Jepp and Kral are worthy adversaries and even better mates. In a believable, sensual, hot and humorous way, they wear each other down and build each other up. Laid up in his bed after a vicious attack by the murderous birds, Kral invites Jepp to keep him company.

“Stay,” he coaxed, in a much more enticing tone. “Talk to me. Don’t make me lie here alone to listen to fish-bird scratches. I hate having to lie abed with injuries.”

I could sympathize with that, especially having spent my own time recovering recently. “Conversation isn’t exactly our strong suit.”

“There.” He jutted his chin at the far wall. “In that cabinet you’ll find some mjed. We can share some to mute the pain.”

This is a fine place to leave them—as Jepp thinks to herself, “an afternoon bout of drinking with my friendly enemy to kill the boredom. What in Danu could go wrong?” It’s more than mjed that makes their heads swim when they’re together: they are truly an unforgettable couple—the blade-carrying scout turned ambassador and the enlightened prince of the kingdom of Dasnaria.
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