This is no fairy tale…
Haunted by nightmares of a black dog, sick to death of my mind-numbing career and heart-numbing fiancé, I impulsively walked out of my life—and fell into Faerie. Terrified, fascinated, I discover I possess a power I can’t control: my wishes come true. After an all-too-real attack by the animal from my dreams, I wake to find myself the captive of the seductive and ruthless fae lord Rogue. In return for my rescue, he demands an extravagant price—my firstborn child, which he intends to sire himself…
With no hope of escaping this world, I must learn to harness my magic and build a new life despite the perils—including my own inexplicable and debilitating desire for Rogue. I swear I will never submit to his demands, no matter what erotic torment he subjects me to…
This blurb came from Goodreads.
Has: I was pleasantly surprised on how much I was sucked into this book and I didn’t expect it to be this dark whimsical and imaginative take on the fae. Jennifer who is bored and unhappy with her life and fiance finds herself in a strange world full of magic and dangerous and seductive fae. She is totally lost and unaware on how things work but she knows that one thing is never to fall into the trap of the attractive Lord Rogue who calls her Gwynn and although she is very attracted but knows is dangerous. She is told that she is a sorceress and holds great power but is untrained and because of the danger she is in, she is forced to bargain for her life to train to gain control over her powers. But it is a huge price to pay which may cost her sanity, soul and body.
It is really hard to explain the feel and tone of this book, because it has such a surreal and dreamy tone which I loved! Although the beginning of the book where Jennifer finds herself in the land of the fae which looks like a darker and crazier version of Wonderland, has to cope with a magical system that involves wishes and even ways of communicating. This felt so refreshing and unique and I’ve read a lot of fantasy based books and this was a great take on the fae myths. Although I did wish the fae world was explained a bit more and how its society structure worked because although the overall tone was dreamy – it did feel a bit choppy and jarring.
E: It has been a while since I have read a dark fantasy romance and I enjoyed diving into this one. The sharp contrast between Jennifer’s real world life and experiences and that of the fae world was really fascinating. She went from preferring work over anything including her fiancee to a world where her mind was her only true ally and yet also an enemy. Granted her introduction to her new world was extremely brutal and rough and she was forced to figure out the best way possible for her survival without very many hints or assistance. Unlike other fantasies I have read where the newcomer is welcomed and honored she was forced to bargain for her life without knowing the rules. I will admit I was rather confused about why she had to bargain with fae outside of Lord Rogue and the healer but I think that was probably due to whatever relationship Lord Rogue had with the other fae and maybe a debt he owed them. Like Has said earlier I wish I knew a bit more about their politics and governing structure along with the alliance structure.
Has: I also didn’t get why everyone kept her calling her Gwynn instead of Jennifer and she then accepted it and thought herself as Lady Gwynn. But I loved that she used her logical thinking because she was a scientist to solve magical problems or to outwit her opponents when she was in danger. Jennifer/Gwynn was very resourceful and intelligent and she did it with style! I also loved her witty commentary on the fae which I think helped to ground herself by using humour and pop culture to survive in this crazy world. She was definitely an engaging and witty character!
But I think one of the best aspects of this book was the romance, this wasn’t a hawt and heavy lets fall in bed and you are the love of my life thing. Gwynn/Jennifer was wary about Rogue’s feelings and intentions towards her and that was realistic and I liked how she fended him off with banter and her wits. That helped to create real tension although Rogue although I did get frustrated on why he was being so vague and mysterious but it did feel to me he had genuine feelings for Gwynn/Jennifer.
E: Oh the romance was certainly interesting. I can almost see why he called her Gwynn because it sounds like a more elegant version of her name but to “know” her as he said and continue to use a different name struck me as different. I also enjoyed her mental snarky comments regarding the fae and how she heard what they “meant” not what they said. That added a whole new layer of meaning to any conversation she had. I also liked how she managed to develop allies from unexpected areas, not to mention enemies, and how they helped her survive within the limits of their abilities.
One of my favorite things was how she managed to come up with magical means to carry out what Lord Falcon requested without giving him exactly what he had in mind. I also liked how she survived her extremely brutal training period by locking away her personality and enduring until she was set free again. Her extreme intelligence is what I think allowed her to survive and still be herself instead of a pet in reality that wouldn’t give Lord Rogue what he really wanted. Thinking back on this I wonder if Lord Falcon intended to basically ruin Lord Rogue with the implementation of his bargain with Jennifer/Gwynn. Again more questions about fae alliances and friendships.
Has: Oh yes!!! And this is why I really enjoyed the book so much because of it was so multi-layered and cerebral as well as dreamy. And in a lot of ways when Gwynn/Jennifer undertook that training which had overtones dominance and submission that touched on BDSM but she never really submitted and in fact made her stronger. I really liked the emphasis on the emotional and psychological aspects especially on how it touched on sex, and that wasn’t that heavy or overpowering which I liked because that can sometime overpower the story or characterisation.
Another aspect I loved in the book was the supporting characters like Darling the cat, who becomes Gwynn’s familiar, he really lived up to his name! What I really liked about the supporting characters is that they were such a rich tapestry of different types from the cooly deranged to charming and cute and they were all so fleshed out and memorable.
E: The supporting cast was good with their various personalities within their respective roles. They were extremely stratified but didn’t always stay within those confines. I will admit I felt bad for little Dragonfly but she did grow up in that world knowing the rules. She did provide a good example and allowed Tatiana in all of her merciless glory to emerge. I also hope she gets a chance to redeem herself and regain her wings. Ms Kennedy did pay attention to the psychological changes and effects that can occur in captivity, sensory deprivation and how adaptable the human brain really is. They didn’t come out as a dry lecture or infodump because of Jennifer’s profession and how she recognized the tactics as they were used on her.
Has: I did feel that although it was too vague at times and an abrupt beginning, this was a fantastic and engrossing read. The world-building such as the magical system was beautifully thought out and unique and it is hard to carry an overall tone which is dark and humourous but it worked! And even though there were a few things that didn’t make sense or I wished that it was explained more, I didn’t really care because I am still thinking of the characters and the story a few days after I’ve read the book and I am definitely lusting after the sequel on what happens between Lord Rogue and Gwynn and that is a great sign for me of a very good book. Rogue’s Pawn is a wonderful entry to a new trilogy with memorable characters in a dark seductive world filled with wit and passion and rich imagination.
I give Rogue’s Pawn an A-
E: After finishing Rogue’s Pawn I had to ask the author if there was going to be anything else in this particular world. To my happiness she said that she is working on book 2 now. I am looking forward to seeing what happens next with Jennifer/Gwynn and Rogue not to mention how Tatiana’s influence will continue to come into play. I did have some niggles about some aspects of the Fae and their world rules but I think that was due to first book in a series/world and I think more information will become known in future books.
I give Rogue’s Pawn a B+
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