Sep 7 2017 8:30am

The Shift of the Tide and the 4 Key Factors of Fantastic Fantasy

The Shift of the Tide by Jeffe Kennedy

A good fantasy romance relies on four key factors: A kickass hero and heroine, an intriguing world, a fantastic adventure and a fabulous romance. Jeffe Kennedy’s The Shift of the Tide is a novel which contains all four of those elements. The latest in her The Twelve Kingdoms/The Uncharted Realms series this is the story of Zynda, the powerful Tala shifter and Marskal, a lieutenant with the elite Hawks.  Zynda was with the original explorers who left the Twelve Kingdoms to investigate the Uncharted Realms when the magic barrier separating them from the rest of the world was expanded.  While her primary mission was to discover what lay beyond the boundaries of their lands, her secondary one has always been to find a way to help her dying people survive. Legends say that Final Form, shifting into a dragon, will bring with it both the blessing of immortality to the shifter and a bounty of fertility for those the dragon should choose to so bless. Zynda and her cohorts have found the dragon and freed it. Now it is to be hoped  Kiraka will teach her the mystery of Final Form.

In the meantime, Marskal, one of the queen’s own elite warriors, has the task of guarding her and Zynda realizes he’s begun to see her as more than just a job:

With some amusement, I realized he was determinedly averting his gaze, out of politeness or embarrassment. I didn’t think he was one of those who found the Tala revolting and thus avoided looking at me for that reason. More likely the wet silk clung to my body enough to leave little to the imagination, something the islander Nahanauns didn’t mind, but the men of the original twelve kingdoms sometimes did. The mischievous Tala trickster in me wanted to see if I could make him look.

Marskal’s timing is terrible though:

I’d once dallied with lovers, but once I’d vowed to take Final Form, I’d eschewed such intimate pleasures. It wouldn’t be fair to a lover who might become attached, then left behind when I abandoned human form.

Marskal is not one to take no for an answer, however. Slowly, he works his way past her defenses, showing her just how good they can be together:

His hand came up to thread through my hair and cup my head, his mouth capturing mine at the same moment. Startled, I didn’t think to push him away. The feel of his lips on mine turned me inside out in some odd way. He tasted of sunshine and exertion, different than any Tala man I’d kissed. Not quite definable. Harder. Edged. Perhaps a residual of that essential immutability. He was like a rock. No, like the earth. Solid and grounded. A stable point to hold onto. Experimentally I opened to him, allowing him in, and he made an incoherent sound, deepening the kiss, wrapping his other arm around my waist to pull me close. Arousal flooded me in a sweet wave and I felt singingly alive for the first time since I’d awakened, fascinated by those flowers and not understanding why. Heat pulsed through me, full of sweet and bright. Safe and loved. Human. I pulled back a little—not all the way—but enough to break the kiss and stare into his eyes. They’d darkened with desire, his mouth stern with it.

Zynda knows she shouldn’t give in to desire but she finds it hard to resist his sweet seduction:

“You’re a beautiful woman, and I want to be your lover.” Taken aback, I didn’t reply. The feel of his hands in my hair, the admiration in his eyes, it was like warm sun on my skin, making me want to purr and be petted. Marskal leaned in and brushed a kiss over my lips, sweeter than honey. “Say yes,” he murmured. “Maybe,” I replied, unable to resist teasing him, but I deepened the kiss, flicking my tongue against his, just to hear him groan.

All of this puts Zynda in an awkward position. Her people, their entire way of life, are at risk if she can not learn Final Form. And as the most powerful shifter of her generation, she is the person most likely to survive the trial. The threat from the Deyrr, an army of undead ruled by evil priests, grows ever stronger in the world while at the same time, the child bearing abilities of her people grows ever weaker. But Marskal is a man of honor, courage, and kindness – a combination she finds all but irresistible. He is willing to take her for whatever time she has left to give him before becoming a dragon. But the free spirited Zynda, who has always treated affairs lightly, finds herself unable to think of loving and leaving him without a heavy heart. Even as they battle their enemies from without, it is the enemy within – a loving heart longing for what it shouldn’t – that is the greatest threat of all.

This is a not to be missed addition to a fantastic series with a couple who will have you hoping and cheering for their HEA to the very end. 


Learn more about or order a copy of The Shift of the Tide by Jeffe Kennedy, available now:

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Maggie Boyd, blogger, reviewer, avid reader.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Kareni
I've been enjoying this series. This entry sounds good, too. Thanks for the review, Maggie.
Maggie Boyd
4. maggieboyd66
@PhoebeChase - I recommend starting at the beginning, with Mark of the Tala. You don't *have* to read these books in order but I think you get a much better sense of the story if you do.
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