Review: Exile of the Seas by Jeffe Kennedy

Reviewed by Jen

When I tackled the first installment of this trilogy, I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about it. All of the other books I’d read from Jeffe Kennedy were fantasy romance and Prisoner of the Crown was… not. It chronicled the Princess Jenna’s early life and descent into an hellacious marriage to a sadist who reveled in abusing her. Then it followed her as she made her escape and sailed away from the only life she ever knew. It was the first act of her story and it was very difficult to read.

This second act is something different altogether. It is Jenna’s journey as she reinvents herself and becomes stronger. It was extremely well-done and perhaps the best thing I have ever read by this author.

The book picks up right where the last one stopped, with Jenna on the ship, a bundle of fear and ignorance. Women in Dasnaria are purposely uneducated about the world, forced to stay in the little boxes where they’re kept. But then Jenna meets Kaja, a priestess of Danu, who changes everything. She teaches Jenna the most basic skills… how to understand the Common Tongue, how to count, and how to hold a knife. And she helps her adopt a new identity, a priestess with a new name –Iveriel— with vows of both silence and celibacy.

Fans of the 12 Kingdoms will recognize Kaja’s name and the name of her daughter… and the character is a pivotal one, even if she doesn’t stay through the entire book. She does, though, set Jenna’s course to find a new home, a new family, and a new hope.

I don’t want to spoil too much, but I will say that this book uplifted me every bit as much as its predecessor disturbed me. Though she definitely has help, Jenna changes her life with her own determination and grit. It’s a hard path, but she puts her faith in the possibilities and that is just lovely.

I’m also happy to report that there is a man who gently and thoroughly falls in love with her. Ochieng is everything her husband was not and hats off to Kennedy for making me believe in their connection, even as Jenna never said a word. –Oh and when she finally speaks…. My heart was in my throat.

Thankfully, this romance is whatever you consider slower than a slow burn. And that is so necessary after what Jenna’s been through, but as this installment draws to a close, I’m left believing Jenna has every chance for a full and happy future, despite the horrors of her past.

Worth the trials of book one to get the good feels here. Can’t want to see Jenna get her happy ending.

Rating: A

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Exile of the Seas
by Jeffe Kennedy
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Rebel Base Books

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