I have to admit that I was a little nervous to begin Jeffe Kennedy’s Rogue’s Pawn. It is listed as fantasy, but a sizable portion of her other novels are erotica, which I’m not really into. I decided to give it a shot, however, and I’m glad I did.
The story begins a scientist named Jennifer who is at a plateau in her life. She is in a loveless relationship, is completely bored with her job, and is harassed by a black dog in her nightmares. Her breaking point is a dinner event for her fiancee’s work–she’s just flat out had enough, so she impulsively decides to walk out on him. She just leaves, starts driving, and ends up at a bed and breakfast. In the morning, Jennifer decides to visit a local landmark that apparently serves as a gate to Faery, as well. When she performs an innocent “I’m moving on with my life” ritual, Jennifer unknowingly opens the gate and wakes up in another world.
Faery is beautiful–Jennifer frequently refers to it as Disney–but it is also dangerous. Jennifer is almost immediately attacked by the black dog. When she wakes, on the brink of death, she finds herself chained to a bed in a strange room. This is when things start to get a bit weird. It turns out that Jennifer is a powerful sorceress and everyone wants her dead. But, even though he doesn’t like her, the lord of the house, Rogue, has saved her from the black dog and provided a Healer to return her to even better health than she was in before she was attacked. Once Jennifer is healed, she is still held captive, but she is also clearly very important somehow because she practically gets her own staff of fae to attend to her. Her name also suddenly changes to Gwynn.
As Gwynn tries to acclimate herself to this strange land and its customs, Rogue drops the bombshell that she will attend a formal dinner and ball. After she eats, she will have to bargain for her life. The resulting deal ends up requiring that Gwynn allow Rogue to sire her firstborn child and let him keep is. The rest of the deal takes Gwynn from Rogue’s home and into the hands of fae whose job is to break her down and turn her into a slave. Once their job is done, Gwynn is sent off to use her sorcery skills in battle at the frontlines of her new master’s war. When Gwynn realizes that Rogue knew what would happen to her once she left his house, she develops a deep hatred for him that battles with her intense attraction to him. She decides she wants revenge against him and anticipates the end of her seven years at war so she can return to Rogue and give him what he deserves. As long as she can keep her hands off of him…
The Faery world that Kennedy has created sounds gorgeous and is described vividly. But, while her world-building is excellent, Kennedy has left out details that would explain why certain things happen, like how Jennifer winds up as a sorceress, the reason her name had to change, or what gives her such high stature in the fae society.
Despite the lack of detail behind some of those points, I really enjoyed Rogue’s Pawn. It’s more sexy than erotic. Gwynn’s magic is based on her sexual desires, so there is a lot of wanting and tension, but little actual action. As I mentioned, I’m not a big erotica fan, so this was the perfect mix for me. There is a reason this is listed as an adult fantasy novel, though, and it is not appropriate for teens.
I also liked that Kennedy’s fae are the beautiful-but-dangerous kind–real fae, in other words. No people suddenly figuring out they’re not really human or anything too played out. Even though Gwynn suddenly lands in Faery, she is human throughout and the fae reference that, too.
It appears that Rogue’s Pawn is the first novel in the Covenant of Thorns series and I look forward to its sequel.
If you’re looking for a story with great world-building and a sexy twist on the Fair Folk, check out Rogue’s Pawn.
About Rogue’s Pawn
Haunted by nightmares of a black dog, sick to death of my mind-numbing career and heart-numbing fiancé, I impulsively walked out of my life—and fell into Faerie. Terrified, fascinated, I discover I possess a power I can’t control: my wishes come true. After an all-too-real attack by the animal from my dreams, I wake to find myself the captive of the seductive and ruthless fae lord Rogue. In return for my rescue, he demands an extravagant price—my firstborn child, which he intends to sire himself…
With no hope of escaping this world, I must learn to harness my magic and build a new life despite the perils—including my own inexplicable and debilitating desire for Rogue. I swear I will never submit to his demands, no matter what erotic torment he subjects me to…
Find Rogue’s Pawn
About the Author
Jeffe Kennedy took the crooked road to writing, stopping off at neurobiology, religious studies and environmental consulting before her creative writing began appearing in places like Redbook, Puerto del Sol, Wyoming Wildlife, Under the Sun and Aeon. An erotic novella, Petals and Thorns, came out under her pen name of Jennifer Paris in 2010, heralding yet another branch of her path, into erotica and romantic fantasy fiction. Since then, an erotic short, Feeding the Vampire, and another erotic novella, Sapphire, have hit the shelves.
Her contemporary fantasy novel, Rogue’s Pawn, book one in A Covenant of Thorns, will be published in July 2012. Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and frequently serves as a guinea pig for an acupuncturist-in-training. Find her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Author.Jeffe.Kennedy) and Twitter (@jeffekennedy) or visit her at her website http://jeffekennedy.com/.