Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Key by Jennifer Anne Davis - Blog Tour and Review


Synopsis

Within these pages lie kingdoms with castles and princes who fall in love with fair maidens, but make no mistake−this is no fairytale.

His father’s kingdom is on the brink of upheaval and at the center of it all is an ordinary girl who could be the key to its undoing. When faced with the ultimate choice, will he choose the girl he’s falling in love with or the kingdom he has sworn to protect?

An ordinary girl with an extraordinary past. All she wants is to be free. What she doesn’t realize is that freedom comes with a price she can’t afford to pay. She’s forced to accept the proposal of a prince she despises, even though her heart belongs to someone else . . . his brother.

Seventeen-year-old Rema lives in a brutal kingdom where travel between regions is forbidden, people are starving, and looking at someone the wrong way can mean death. Nineteen-year-old Darmik is the king’s son and Commander of the King’s Army. He spends his days roving the island, doing his father’s bidding and trying to maintain control over the people.

When a chance encounter throws Rema and Darmik together, they share an instantaneous connection, but any sort of relationship between them is strictly forbidden. Darmik’s brother, the Crown Prince, notices Darmik’s interest in Rema and, in a calculated, political move, blackmails her. Faced with an impossible choice, Rema is forced to sacrifice her heart in order to save her family.

As Rema is taken to the palace with the Crown Prince, Darmik confronts the growing rumor that a legitimate blood heir to the throne exists and is trying to overthrow Darmik’s family. In Darmik’s quest to hunt down and kill the threat, he discovers that nothing is as it seems. Locked in the king’s castle, Rema finds herself a key player in a massive power struggle. When Darmik shows up, she’s not sure if she can trust him. The line between friends, enemies, and loyalty becomes blurred. As truths are unlocked, Rema understands that she just might be the key to finding the rightful heir and restoring peace to the kingdom… if she can manage to stay alive long enough.

My Review

Holy cliffhanger, Batman!  I generally do not start a review with the end of the book, but I stayed up late last night - much to my husband's dismay (thanks babe!) - to finish because I was so hooked on this story that I could not stop reading when I hit that 90% mark at bed time.  I was laying in bed with my Kindle screen set to a black background to try to minimize the lighting, hoping to prevent my husband from being kept awake, but all of that didn't matter once I read the last few lines of the story; which, by the way, you don't realize are the last few lines of the story until you read, "End of book 1" in big, bold letters!  Sneaky, sneaky!

I think, though, that it isn't really a huge cliffhanger, it just seems to be one in the throws of the last two chapters.  Without going into detail, because it would actually ruin the ENTIRE book if that slipped out, I don't think what happens on those last few lines can actually happen if the series is to continue... right, Jennifer?  RIGHT?!?!?!  I actually felt a bit hung over the next morning when I got up.

I am so ready for the next book, and the one after that, and if we're lucky there will be more after that. There are so many different scenarios that could happen in the continuation of the story that, while I have an idea of what is going to happen (hopefully that idea is not actually wishful thinking *coughpleaseletdarmiknotbeadoucheanymorecough*), it could really be anything.  Jennifer could just stab us in the heart, crush our dreams, and make us stop believing in a happily ever after. Please don't crush my dreams!

Ok, I'm done wallowing in self pity now.  Onto Rema.  Rema is our heroine and I adore her!  Her personality is amazing, and everything that I hope my daughter to be when she is 17-years-old.  I loved reading a YA novel with a strong female lead.  She knows what she wants, she has strong ties to her family (at least the people who raised her that she believes are her family...), she is independent, and she can take care of herself.  Mostly.

Then we have Darmik.  I quite love Darmik as well.  He grew up at a military school, basically, and even though his family are nothing but total a-holes, he turned out to be compassionate toward others.  Hard to believe that about the commander of the strongest army in the land - at least they think that they are the strongest... but as you get a bit into the book, you'll probably change your mind about that.

Lennek.  Ugh, his name makes me want to vomit.  He is, in my humble opinion, worse than his father; the man who slaughtered more than 40 people (men, women, children, and infants) to ensure that there were no living heirs to the kingdom he was overthrowing.  I hope that helps to sum up my feelings about Lennek. He's worse than a baby killer.  That is all.

Speaking of the slaughter of over 40 people, the prologue of this book was probably the best I have ever read.  Bravo for that, Jennifer.  No, really.  I generally don't even like prologues because they end up being useless as the stories in them are repeated over and over throughout the book anyway.  Not to mention the physical reaction I had to reading that section.  It got me in my guts, girlfriend.

On to something a little less morbid, guess what else I loved about this book?  No love triangle!  I know, right?  NO LOVE TRIANGLE!

Jennifer, I'm going to need you to finish up the rest of this series, like, yesterday.  Please, and thank you!

P.S.  Isn't the cover gorgeous?

Excerpt

Prince Lennek slouched on the seat, putting his muddy boots up on the velvet bench across from them, appearing disinterested. Rema hated to admit it, but he was handsome. The side of his lips curled as his eyes sliced over to her. She’d been caught staring. Conceited, she thought. He was beautiful, and he knew it. Rema hated the idea of finding a murderer, someone so vile and repulsive, attractive. It sickened her. She focused her attention outside the carriage and remembered Bren, beaten and bloody from orders given by the prince.

“When we reach the city,” Lennek said, “I’ll introduce you to the people. Then I’ll propose, you’ll accept, and a huge party will be given in our honor. We’ll be married in a few weeks.”

“Why wait so long?” she asked, the hatred seeping through. “What if you get tired of me and change your mind?”

“Hmm,” he smiled, as if contemplating how much to reveal. “You needn’t worry. Everything is going according to plan.”

It was only a matter of time before Rema discovered what Lennek was up to.

Today the mountain range was closer—cold and unwelcoming, rising straight up into the sky. They were topped with snow and desolate of trees. No wonder nothing survived up there.

“I want to make sure you play the part,” Lennek said, recapturing her attention.

“And what would that be?” She glared at him. “Just so we’re absolutely clear.”

Prince Lennek chuckled softly. “Rema, darling, you are a feisty one.” Feisty? He had taken her away from her family. He had ordered Bren’s death. Rema was filled with rage.

Lennek’s countenance changed. His eyes turned shrewd, the lines of his face hardening. There was a ferocious quality to him that sent a chill over her body. “You will maintain your place.” He must have seen the confusion on her face. “You’re a horse merchant’s niece. Don’t you ever forget that.”

“How could I possibly?” she harshly said.

“Hmm,” he mused. “Then make sure you don’t forget that I am the Crown Prince, and as such, you are obedient to me.” His menacing eyes penetrated into hers.

Rema tried to control her emotions. There was no way Prince Lennek could know how afraid she was of him. “I understand, Your Highness,” she said, bowing her head, mocking the prince.

Lennek turned so his entire body faced hers. Rema tried to focus her attention outside the carriage, but he reached for her chin, forcing her to look at him. Their eyes locked. “You are going to be my wife,” Lennek said in a low, cold voice. “You will be royalty. Do you understand?”

“No. I don’t,” she answered as his nails dug into her chin. “Let go of me.” Rema knew she was out of line by making demands, but she wanted to know what she had to work with—how far she could push him until his temper exploded.

Lennek smiled wickedly at her. “You’re mine now. Get used to it. I’m giving you everything. Show some gratitude.”

He leaned closer. She could smell him—an odd mixture of rosemary and horse. Rema refused to close her eyes.

“And don’t forget, if you don’t play the part to my satisfaction, I know where your aunt and uncle live. I won’t just have them killed. They’ll be brought before you, tortured while you watch, and then slowly dismembered.”

He released Rema’s face, pushing her away from him like she was cow dung. Lennek slid back into his side of the carriage, no longer looking at her but at a sapphire ring on his finger—the ring of a prince.

About Jennifer Anne Davis

I graduated with Department Honors from the University of San Diego with a degree in English. While working to earn my teaching credential, I was a legal assistant for an attorney.That’s about the time I finally married my high school sweetheart. Once I received my credential from USD, I taught high school English until I had my first child.

Currently I am a stay-at-home mom. I have three kids, one large dog, a gecko, and a frog.

A couple of years ago, I entered a writing contest about motherhood and won. My essay “Caution: Warning Lable Not Included!” was published in the anthology Manual for Motherhood, reaching number one in the Parenting section of Amazon! This sparked my need to write on a daily basis, and I have been writing ever since!

My debut young adult novel The Voice was published by Lands Atlantic in January 2013. The Voice is nominated for three Novel Grounds Literary Awards: Best Indie, Favorite Five Star, and Best Book Boyfriend!

My second book,The Power to See, is a new adult novel and was released in October 2013.

My third book,The Key, is a young adult light fantasy novel, was released in November 2013.

I’ve always had a passion for reading and writing. Being transported into another world and experiencing things beyond my imagination – what could be better? Besides being an outlet and a love, I hope to write books that encourage all to read.

Stalk Jennifer

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