Joint review with E_bookpusher and was originally posted on The Book Pushers.
E: So a while ago I read and absolutely loved the first Covenant of Thrones book, reviewed here with Has Rogue’s Pawn. I enjoyed it so much that I started pestering poor Kennedy about the sequel. Time passed and she notified us that she would be writing more in this series so I was really excited and then she made me wait. Happily Rogue’s Possession is now out and I have to say that once again Kennedy blew me away. I stayed up into the wee hours of a workday morning because I was so hooked. I am recommending that you read the first installment before you start this one because they are very closely entwined.
Has: I also had a very sleepless night finishing this book because the world that Jeffe Kennedy created was so rich and full of seductive and imaginative details that I just didn’t want the book to end. But I so totally agree about reading or rereading in my case the first book, Rogue’s Pawn because this installment really felt like the middle of the story and it was a true follow-up in the trilogy. And this is a series which has rich and vivid characters and an intricate plot, and I loved that the dreamy but dark overtones from the first book continues to be strong in Rogue’s Possession.
E: Gwynn has been struggling with the rules of the world she stumbled into, sometimes winning and sometimes losing. Agreements and interpretation of agreements are all subject to how much power you have, allegiances, and how well you are able to think around the obvious linear answer. Gwynn is at a severe disadvantage because of agreements made in the first book and her lack of knowledge about exactly what her magic can do. She serves Lord Falcon as his battle mage doing what he says while attempting to minimize loss of human life and therefore loss of herself. She also has an agreement with Lord Rogue that she will allow him to sire her firstborn child. He is very eager to make this happen in the fullest extent possible but she negotiated several years before she is required to comply. This also means Rogue has a vested interest in keeping her alive and in as good health as possible. As she starts more intimate magic lessons with Rogue she starts to question why he is so insistent on fathering a child with her only to discover that he can’t tell her. But he is willing to bend/workaround/play with the rules as much as possible to help her discover the answer.
Has: This is one of the reasons why I really adore this series, because Gwynn is an intelligent and engaging character and actually used her wits to get out of difficult situations. And like in the first book, her logic and scientific reasoning is a touchstone in a crazy world, where the fae do not play by logical rules, but I do love how flustered or puzzled they become when Gwynn manages to turn the tables on them. I have to say my favourite scenes are when she has to outsmart the fae, who are pretty wily and tricky to interact with, and it was fun to see all the negotiation and sidestepping questions to get information. But I think the best ones are when she deals with Rogue and the way they flirt with each other by exchanging favours but within the boundaries they set for each other. The tension between them which I thought was hot and sizzling in the first book, was an inferno for this one!
E: I enjoyed the transition from discovering an entirely new world to one of discovering more about its inhabitants, what drives them, and exactly how even the little things Gwynn does have a ripple effect that grows as time passes. Gwynn also came more into her own with both negotiation and finesse in her magic skills. However, nothing, especially in this world, is gained without paying a price and Gwynn continued to learn that lesson. She was forced to face one of her deepest fears, move beyond her experience to take control of the situation, and allow others the right to exercise their own free will. I was really impressed at how much Gwynn grew over the course of this installment from a bewildered person who was basically a puppet with power to someone who was willing to bend the world rules to achieve what she wanted. I also enjoyed her interactions with Rogue even more this time. The initial power imbalance was starting to level out and Rogue’s perception of Gwynn had changed from looking at an obligation who was making things harder to a desirable individual who could become a partner.
Has: Yes! I loved that her character grew so much from the scared and confused woman to a woman who is embracing her magic and using her wits and not taking prisoners. I definitely agree with you that she was more of an equal footing with Rogue, in fact I felt that he was catching up with her a lot of the times especially in the first half of the book. I also liked the hint of things to come with her abilities coming to the fore and that it provided an interesting contrast with Rogue and his own hidden abilities. I really loved the synchronicity of that especially on how it interlinks with their power dynamics. I also definitely agree and loved that Gwynn faced up to one of her major fears in this book, and again highlighted how much growth and changed she underwent, but at the same time she didn’t lose her sense of humanity and empathy.
I also adored the new characters that were introduced such as Athena who joins Gwynn’s ragtag crew of friends and servants. It was interesting to see the follow-on effects from when Gwynn initially changed Athena to her becoming more self aware and developing a more serious and kick ass personality that lived up to her namesake. And Walter the Wizard, who like Gwynn found himself in the land of the fae and is a sorcerer, and was part of several of the most humorous scenes in the book which had me chuckling away. They both added colour and humour to the cast of established characters who were alive and so very vibrant that they leaped off the pages for me. I have also fallen more in love with Gwynn’s pet familiar, Darling. He really shined in this book and was part of one of the best combat scenes and who added his own twist in a lot of levels in the David and Goliath myth – when you read this scene you would agree with what he asks of Gwynn later on!
E: I loved the variety of challenges that Kennedy threw in Gwynn’s path and I have strong hopes that the next book will allow the aspects of Rogue’s character that I caught glimpses of in this story to come to more prominence. Kennedy created and continued to expand a very visual lush different world. She kept the action, tension, and romantic elements nicely entwined as the story progressed. Kennedy also included a couple surprising twists towards the end, well they surprised me even though looking back I could see the trail of crumbs. This was another great installment that was well worth waiting for. Now I can’t wait for the next one!
I give Rogue’s Possession an A.
Has: Rogue’s Possession for me was a fantastic followup to the first book, and unlike other trilogies – this didn’t fall into the pitfalls of middle book syndrome but actually answered some questions and pushed the plot further as well as developing the characterization. I am also left on tenterhooks to see how things are played out because the ending brought many things into play, which I can’t wait to see what happens next. But overall, this installment was really highlights that this is one of the most imaginative, seductive and darkly sensual fantasy romances I’ve ever read. There is a real emphasis on the characters and the plot as well as the world-building which is explored in much more depth but retains the surreal and dreamy tone with great touches of humour as well as darkness. While the romance, which has a real sexual frission is more cerebral but leaves me wanting for the next book and I suppose the best things in life are worth waiting for! But overall I loved how this book ended which was beyond perfect and I cant wait to see what happens next with the eccentric and colourful characters that Jeffe Kennedy has created. This is definitely one of the most unique series I’ve read!
I also give Rogue’s Possession an A!