Monday, December 24, 2012

The Kingdom Chronicles: Mark of the Princess

The feisty and determined faerie Princess Alannah is many things, but she never thought she would be the key to her people’s destruction.

Kidnapped for a power she does not yet possess, Alannah finds herself in the clutches of the most malevolent sorcerer of her time. Maligo. Alannah escapes her prison with help from the handsome and stalwart warrior faerie, Brennus.

Now she must cross mountains and forests fraught with rogue faeries, vicious Fae-hating trolls, dangerous shape-shifters, and more to reach the only ones that can help her control her incoming powers. The Elder Faeries.

With Brennus by her side, Alannah is determined to reach the Elder Faeries and save her people. Maligo is just as determined she never makes it that far.

"Made a friend, did you?" Brennus asked cynically  Alannah huffed at the remark. "Yes, I do no see you getting help out of here!"
Oh my flipping baby Jesus.  I'm sitting her stunned as my eyes finally pop back into place after protruding from reading the last few pages of Mark of the Princess.  Well done Barbie! That was one hell of a cliff hanger you left me with. Seriously WHAT-THE-EF!!! Why would you go and leave me feeling emotionally shredded with that hell of a whopper? I'm hating you right now but also loving you for it.  The ending of this installment couldn't have left me wanting more even if you threw in some take home faeries that would do all my household cleaning.  Well done! *applauds* :)
It took me awhile to get into the swing of how Barbie writes.  I'm not used to the swinging viewpoints, but after awhile the flow is easy to fall into.  This is the perfect example of a book that sneaks up on you and grabs you by the (figurative) balls. First, I started out thinking, "eh, its okay".  Then Barbie started romancing me into the story, wooing me with intricate and lovable (if sometimes hate-able) characters, to where I found myself rooting for them, encouraging them, and, at times, wanting to b*tch slap them. Then BAM! She throws you for a loop, and just as you're getting used to the new direction the stories going and you THINK you can foresee what is going to happen next, Barbie shakes her head and throws you for yet ANOTHER loop, leaving you breathless from the ride, and almost wanting to sneak a look behind you to make sure nothing else is going to creep up on you.  Before you know it, you're fully emerged in the story, and by the time the ending rolls around (with a flipping HUGE ass cliffhanger that will leave you wanting to strangle somebody) you'll be sitting there stunned, just like me, wondering how in the hell it crept up on you so unexpectedly.
Unlike a lot of female leads, Alannah is extremely self sufficient.  Yes, she has moments where she needs to be saved, but, for the most part, she is the one doing the saving and isn't falling in the category of "oh my god I need a man to take care of me", which I absolutely love in a female lead.  I found her completely relatable, and even though I'm not Fae (duh!) and haven't gone through the exact circumstances (would be kinda hard considering I don't live in a magic kingdom), her reactions and emotions are fitting, and very human, to where you end up feeling her turmoil for yourself.
She was shivering. She was cold and in pain. She was running from who know how many trolls into a mountainside that could eat them alive. She missed her family and her new friends. She thought of Evy and of Kaleb. Kaleb. Could Kaleb still be alive and be searching for her? Why was she taken in the first place? No, she was not alright.
"Yes, I am fine. Just a bit out of breath, and cold." There was no time to not be alright, they had to move on.
Now to the boys.  Kaleb and Brennus= YUM!.  You may be thinking "Oh gees not ANOTHER love triangle" because, lets face it, they get kinda old whenever you read one after another after another.  BUT what makes this triangle interesting and absolutely non eye-roll or puke worthy is that Alannah, though she may be torn, is actually focusing more on bettering herself, even while she's being emotionally thrown around between the boys.  So while she may be indecisive, you don't want to throw your book/eReader because of it.
Kaleb is your swoon worthy sweetheart and a heart breaker (he doesn't try to be, he just is).  Their attraction is automatic, and completely sweet.  On the other hand, Brennus is your hard shelled bad boy, with the soft gooey center that you just want to eat up.  He's arrogant, cocky, sarcastic, and sometimes a complete ass, but there's the vulnerability you see in him that makes you swing between wanting to slap him and wanting to kiss him senseless. Between the two I'm totally Team Brennus!
Now, on top of the love triangle, there's also a separate love story within the story, which makes the story line even more complex and interesting.  And on top of THAT love story, there's a dark shadow hanging over their heads which Barbie leads you to presume can cause MAJOR problems with their relationship (threat of turning evil and letting the darkness consume you? Yeah, major problems ahead).
So, to wrap this review up: lots of what-the-ef-ery; you'll love them, then you'll hate them, then you'll love them again; excellent moments of "oh my flipping baby Jesus!" and "where the hell did that come from!".  It will leave you cheering in your seats and holding on for the ride. So what are you waiting for?  It's time to start the journey :)
Until next time, Happy Reading!
To purchase Mark of the Princess for Kindle click HERE