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The Twelve Kingdoms: The Tears of the Rose Kindle Edition
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The writing is excellent and the world building is interesting, I just stumbled with even caring what happened to Ami. If you had asked me half way through the book I would have rated it as 1 star but by the end the author had brought the story to a more interesting point and developed the characters to be more likable.
As Tears of the Rose begins, Princess Amelia is a pregnant eighteen year old who has just lost her new, and much loved, husband. Up to this time she has been your basic teenager. Unusually beautiful, she has been spoiled and sheltered and encouraged to focus on balls, gowns, and the adoration of those around her. Ami has never thought of herself as separate from the beauty that garners all that adoration. She has enjoyed the fruits of her beauty with all the tunnel vision possessed by most teenagers (definitely including me).
Luckily, Ami is not stupid and quickly realizes that her father and the other kings hope to use her child as a pawn in their various ambitions. Her tunnel vision begins to open out bit by bit as she struggles to find her purpose in the world. Ami doesn't always make the right decisions and thankfully she blunders around a bit before coming into her own. I find books in which the heroine goes straight from point A to point Z pretty boring so I liked reading about the efforts of a very young woman to figure out a world she never really thought about before.
The other thing I really liked about this book is that Jeffe Kennedy did not make Ami's dead husband, Hugh, into a bad guy so Ami could fall in love again. Hugh had been brave, loyal, loving, beautiful, and kind and I was very sorry when he died in the first book. "I almost thought Hugh would approve of the woman I was becoming. The one he never had a chance to get to know. And I would never know what kind of man he would have become. That was the greatest tragedy." She never stops loving Hugh while realizing she has enough love for others. I like that Ami was allowed more than one true love and the rare (in romances) concept that there isn't "The One".
This book picks up right where Mark of the Tala left off and I'm guessing The Talon of the Hawk (Ursula's book) picks up right after this one ends. I love the plot arc of these books and how it's filtered through the three sisters.