It’s always a treat to visit Suzanne’s blog! She’s a wise and wonderful writer, who also asks great questions.
This month sees two releases for me – THE CROWN OF THE QUEEN, a novella that will be in a duology with Grace Draven, called FOR CROWN AND KINGDOM, and also a novel, THE PAGES OF THE MIND.
Because these two stories are related to each other and to The Twelve Kingdoms series, Suzanne asked me to give an overview of all the books and explain how these two fit into the overall arc.
So, The Twelve Kingdoms official trilogy begins with THE MARK OF THE TALA. That’s the story of Andromeda (Andi, for short) who is the middle princess, the second-born of the three daughters of the high king of the Twelve Kingdoms. Each princess is, naturally, more beautiful than the last. Andi discovers that, though she is not the warrior and heir that her elder sister is, nor the beauty like her younger sister, she’s also not quite as invisible as she’d imagined. She meets a wild, dark man in the forest—which sets off a chain of events that changes her life, and that of everyone in the Twelve Kingdoms.
In the second book, THE TEARS OF THE ROSE, the story moves to Amelia (Ami), whose life has been turned upside down from the events of the first book. Very young, spoiled and so extraordinarily beautiful that no one’s ever expected her to be more than that, Ami has to find a way to journey out of grief and take charge of her own destiny. That’s not easy as she makes a powerful political pawn and the moving forces of the twelve kingdoms would all like to use her for their own ends. Fortunately, she turns out to be more than just a pretty face.
Finishing the original trilogy, THE TALON OF THE HAWK takes up the overall thread by moving to the point of view of Ursula, heir to the high throne. By this time the Twelve Kingdoms are in an uproar, with war pending on several fronts, the high king spiraling into increasingly erratic behavior, including hiring foreign mercenaries, and Ursula struggling to do her best by everyone—particularly her sisters. She faces a grave and difficult task, and one that ties up the events triggered by Andi’s meeting in the forest in book one.
And spawns a whole new crop of problems.
When people asked me if I planned to write more books in this world, I’ve always said yes, because there’s so much more to tell. Inevitably they joke, “After all, you have nine kingdoms left, right?” At which point I’m forced to sheepishly admit that there are a whole lot more than that, because I keep discovering new ones.
Thus, what I think of as book four in the series, is actually called book one in The Uncharted Realms. Because, you know, all those new kingdoms that I found out about! In this story, which is the novel, THE PAGES OF THE MIND, the narrative moves to Dafne Mailloux, the librarian who accompanied Andi, Ami, and then Ursula on all their journeys. No more reading about and recording the adventures of others—Dafne goes on a quest to answer pressing questions for Ursula. Not everything goes as planned, however.
In between these two series, the novella, THE CROWN OF THE QUEEN, forms a kind of bridge. Told from Dafne’s point of view, this story picks up in the immediate aftermath of THE TALON OF THE HAWK and goes in time to shortly before the beginning of THE PAGES OF THE MIND.
Do you have to have read The Twelve Kingdoms to read The Uncharted Realms? I’ve seen a couple of reviews that say no. The Tome Tender Book Blog said: “Let me start by saying, this is the first book in this series I read and jumping in at book 4, I still loved it and want to go back and read the rest of this series. It was the perfect mix of fantasy, romance and adventure.” So, there’s the caveat—it sounds like it stands alone just fine (yay!), but you might then want to read the others. Passionate readers of the series also insist that the payoff is better if you read in order, which I can see, because the overall story really does build from book to book.
So what is the reading order, were you to read them all?
NEGOTIATION (This is a prequel short, that tells the story of how the high king and queen struck their original bargain.)
THE MARK OF THE TALA
THE TEARS OF THE ROSE
THE TALON OF THE HAWK
HEART’S BLOOD (This is a spinoff novella that stands alone but takes place in the Twelve Kingdoms. The characters in this make a cameo appearance in THE CROWN OF THE QUEEN.)
THE CROWN OF THE QUEEN
THE PAGES OF THE MIND
THE EDGE OF THE BLADE (out December 27, 2016)
So, there you have it! I’m happy to answer any questions in the comments.
*previously published on the blog of Suzanne Johnson in 2016*
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