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The Chronicles of Dasnaria #1

Prisoner of the Crown

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She was raised to be beautiful, nothing more. And then the rules changed . . .
In icy Dasnaria, rival realm to the Twelve Kingdoms, a woman’s role is to give pleasure, produce heirs, and question nothing. But a plot to overthrow the emperor depends on the fate of his eldest daughter. And the treachery at its heart will change more than one carefully limited life . . .
Princess Jenna has been raised in supreme luxury—and ignorance. Within the sweet-scented, golden confines of the palace seraglio, she’s never seen the sun, or a man, or even learned her numbers. But she’s been schooled enough in the paths to a woman’s power. When her betrothal is announced, she’s ready to begin the machinations that her mother promises will take Jenna from ornament to queen.
But the man named as Jenna’s husband is no innocent to be cozened or prince to charm. He’s a monster in human form, and the horrors of life under his thumb are clear within moments of her wedding vows. If Jenna is to live, she must somehow break free—and for one born to a soft prison, the way to cold, hard freedom will be a dangerous path indeed…
Praise for The Mark of the Tala
“Magnificent…a richly detailed fantasy world.”
RT Book Reviews, 4½ stars, Top Pick
“Well written and swooningly romantic.”
Library Journal, starred review

160 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 12, 2018

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About the author

Jeffe Kennedy

89 books1,217 followers
I also write books under the name Jennifer Paris.

Represented by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 84 reviews
July 29, 2018

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I've read some of this author's erotica and enjoyed it, so when I saw what looked to be a smutty harem fantasy pop up on Netgalley, I immediately signed up for it. The blurb sounded reminiscent of Bertrice Small's works, particularly ADORA and THE KADIN, with a dash of the Kushiel series. Of course I had to read this!

The premise is simple enough. Jenna lives in a desert of ice, ensconced in a paradise-like seraglio where her every wish is granted as she is schooled in the art of pleasing men. The only shadow that hints at worse to come comes in the form of punishment that her cruel mother doles out to her while claiming that it's for her own good as a princess and future-bride.

Yeah, right. Thanks, Mom.

As it turns out, Jenna's been pledged to this sociopathic sadist who's been rumored to have killed his last four brides. Her mother knows this and doesn't care, and basically tells her "suck it up, buttercup." Jenna is utterly miserable and abused and wishes she'd taken up her friend's offer to help her escape, but luckily help comes in the form of her sympathetic younger brother, and as they get to talking, Jenna finds out more about some of the double-standards of their society as her brother tells her what his education is like (fun, with a bachelor party with a whole bunch of prostitutes to celebrate adulthood). Everything she thought she knew is wrong.

I really liked the premise but I think a) the book was too short and b) it came across as unfocused as a result. Did the author want to write a smutty, slightly exploitative fantasy romp with dark themes? Or was she going for a cautionary tale written in the vein of THE HANDMAID'S TALE, in which the dark themes are meant to showcase woman's suppression by and ultimate triumph over the patriarchy? You can do one or the other, but you can't really do both. Kennedy tried to do both.

The sequel sounds really interesting, but I'm not sure if I want to read it anymore. I'm thinking maybe I should just stick to this author's erotica since her fantasy seems so scattered.

Thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy!

2 to 2.5 stars
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,084 reviews1,508 followers
May 22, 2018
Prisoner of the Crown by Jeffe Kennedy is the first book of the The Chronicles of Dasnaria fantasy series. However, what I didn’t know when picking this one up is that this is a spin off of a bigger series by Jeffe Kennedy, The Twelve Kingdoms. Not having read the rest of the books I’m not sure how much is missing reading this series alone.

The story in Prisoner of a Crown starts with Princess Jenna as a child being raised in what seems to the children as paradise, that is until getting a little older. As the children of the Emperor’s many wives grow older the boys start to learn the ways of a man and the girls begin to be taught to become a wife.

When Princess Jenna is of age she is promised off in marriage having always been told that she would become the first wife of a powerful man. The man chosen for Jenna by her parents however has had quite a few wives before her all having died at a very young age and Jenna’s marriage quickly turns into one of nightmares.

Starting off this fantasy read I have pretty high hopes for the book so you may wonder where it all went wrong. Well, the truth is the entire book really consists of just what the blurb says it does and there isn’t much more to it which was rather disappointing. What we have is page after page of world building putting the story firmly into a time when women were property and men ruled the lands but in my opinion this could be done in say 10-20% if not much more than that and move the story forward after that. Instead this ends where the actual story seems to begin so in the end I was just rather frustrated. Now I question whether or not to continue onward with the next book if the pacing is going to continue to be as slow as this start but the writing definitely had it’s merits so it would be a shame to miss what could turn into a great read from here on out.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more review please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
Profile Image for Marta Cox.
2,544 reviews190 followers
June 12, 2018
This authors world building is absolutely jaw dropping and in this story we journey to Dasnaria which some readers might be familiar with. Brought up as the eldest Imperial Princess Jenna is the perfect puppet and unfortunately also a sacrifice. Ambition is everything in the gilded cage of the palace but Jenna looks forward to finally meeting her betrothed but he's not the man of any woman's dreams no Jenna is marrying a nightmare !
Don't get this expecting a romance though as its disturbing and really delves into the darker side of power and corruption. Perhaps there's less action than some of the authors works but you will hold your breath whilst clinging to the edge of your seat. If you love fantasy filled with heart and emotions then you won't be disappointed. The first in what's clearly going to be a heart breaking trilogy and I can't wait to follow her journey.
This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair.
Profile Image for Douglas Meeks.
859 reviews232 followers
June 11, 2018
This was a horrible story .... not a horrible book but the story I found horrifying since we have what amounts to an innocent thrown to the wolves except in this case given to a monster to wed for court strategy and intrigue. I usually go to bed around 10pm, I stayed up until almost 2 AM reading this horrible and addicting story .

The book moves very slowly for the first 50% or so which makes me hope it does not take the track of her "Sorcerous Moons" series which dragged the reader along at a snails pace and usually left them not much farther than they began. The thing here is that you have to know some of the intimate details of her life to understand why she is so clueless and ignorant of so many things, she was meant to be that way since women had but one purpose in this society, at least at the palace level.

Once we have the wedding the book becomes a horrifying tale and Jeffe Kennedy spares us the vast majority of the horrors with just enough info that we know this man is a monster and life with him will only end in a painful and macabre death.

So once we have the reader sucked into near tearful state wanting to see some redemption/justice for our heroine, we get a small breath of freedom plus a full view of the levels of treachery and betrayal involved in her whole life.

About the time we think we are going to get some actual positive scenes the book ends but by any logic I have to know that the next book somehow has to allow her to train and must get some education since she cannot even count, she has no education other than what a concubine/princess needs and she has zero fighting skills but she is VERY mentally toughened by her life so far but we seriously need Mr. Miyagi to help her step up her revenge game.

So I wait on the next book and hope to see our princess rise from the ashes and get some much needed revenge and justice but I have to assume this will be dragged out over at least 3 books and I hope not more since we are on book 4 in the "Sorcerous Moons" series and still have no idea where the end is or when.

4 Stars for what I hope will be an addictive series and the writing a bit less verbose.
Profile Image for Christa.
852 reviews67 followers
June 28, 2018
A good start to a fantasy series. Jenna has been raised in isolation, trained to become a first wife. She lives in isolation with her sisters and mother and her fathers wives and concubines. She quickly learns the world is a much different place than the confines of her palace.

There’s great growth, Jenna’s brother was amazing, and it’s a great foundation to the start of a new series.
Profile Image for Zuzana Hartmanová.
Author 8 books69 followers
March 3, 2022
3,5 * (chvíli jsem váhala, jestli to "nezaokrouhlit" spíš nahoru, ale nakonec jsem to dala na 3)

Vězeňkyně koruny působí spíš jako delší prolog než samostatný román. Nejde jen o to, že rozsahem jde víceméně o novelu (nenechte se zmást počtem stran – kdyby byl text trochu jinak naformátovaný, byl by na strany klidně o třetinu kratší), ale také obsahem.
Jeffe Kennedy nás poměrně barvitě seznamuje s životem v seragliu – ženské, přísně střežené části paláce, z níž není ženám dovoleno vycházet. Po krátkém úvodu věnujícímu se Jenninu dětství se vyprávění přesouvá k oslavě jejích osmnáctých narozenin a její svatbě. Mezitím jsme svědky každodenních činností císařských dcer a jejich přepychového života ve zlaté kleci plné ženských rituálů, tradic a pletich.

Navzdory věku hlavní hrdinky bych knihu ale nemohla s čistým svědomím označit za young adult. Text sám o sobě není kdovíjak složitý a ani záplava rozličných detailů z něj netvoří nijak komplikované čtivo. Záludné zápletky také nečekejte, děj je extrémně přímočarý. Chybí tu nicméně většina prvků charakteristických pro young adult literaturu, takže první lásky nebo hluboké hledání sebe sama (či snad záchrana světa) nejsou na pořadu dne. A i když tu až na pár čestných výjimek není kdovíjak explicitně popisován sex nebo násilí, Kennedy věci nazývá pravými jmény a nic nepřikrášluje ani nevynechává, přestože sem tam použije takříkajíc zatmívačku, aby nechala pracovat vaši představivost (což se například v případě mučení celkem daří).
Jennin život tak, jak je tu popisován, je vlastně sledem neustálé šikany a týrání. To, s jakým gustem Jeffe Kennedy popisuje roli žen v jejím chladném světě, dokáže vyvolat emoce. Spravedlivé rozhořčení na krutým údělem i lítost nad některými postavami.

Řadu věcí, které by se zdály relativně nevěrohodné – jako například skutečnost, že Jenna a s ní spousta dalších žen ze seraglia nikdy neviděla venkovní svět, ale jen srdce paláce, v němž jsou celý život zavřené – autorka zvládla podat tak, že to působilo realisticky. Jak se říká, ďábel tkví v detailech, a toho si byla Jeffe Kennedy vědoma. To, jak se Jenna podivuje nad naprosto běžnými věcmi, jako jsou například střevíce – věc v jejím životě, potažmo kultuře jako takové nevídaná – bylo podáno přesvědčivě. Autorka také nezapomínala na to, že její hrdinka spoustu věcí nezná a nevyužívala její nevědomosti, jen když se to hodilo. Řada pro nás běžných situací tak dostala zcela novou perspektivu, což děj místy zajímavě ozvláštňovalo.

Náhled do kultury Dasnarie byl pestrý a autorce se ji podařilo náležitě barvitě vykreslit, ačkoliv ze života tamních žen člověku nebylo úplně dobře po těle (což byl nejspíš záměr). Ze stránek na čtenáře dýchala exotika inspirovaná Persií v kontrastu se severským chladem. Vězeňkyně koruny je svým rozsahem, jednoduchým slohem i po příběhové stránce spíš odpočinkovou jednohubkou, co dokáže čtenáře v některých momentech poměrně citelně zasáhnout, přestože většinu času spíš jen klouže po povrchu. Jsem zvědavá, co si Jeffe Kennedy pro Jennu připravila do dalších dílů, a doufám, že ve vyprávění využije víc potenciálu intrik a ženských zbraní, které její svět nabízí.
Profile Image for Melliane.
2,013 reviews340 followers
June 6, 2018
Mon avis en Français

My English review

Jeffe Kennedy is now offering us a new fantasy series and as I usually enjoy her stories, I could not wait to get into this one.

The author presents us with a world where women are only an incarnated object. Besides, they have pushed the vice to the point where, from birth, they are locked up in a place where they will not leave until the day when they are to be married. It is an extraordinary place where everything is done so that they are as content as possible, thus avoiding that they develop a critical spirit. Everything is done to make them beautiful and docile. They have never met a man other than their brothers or half-brothers when they were very young. Even their father is excluded. But here, Jenna is a little different from the others. She always wanted to go out and discover the world, see what all can not. Unfortunately for her, when she discovers her future husband, he is far from what she had hoped for. It could even be her worst nightmare.

I really liked this first novel. It’s very different from what we usually find. It’s a pretty dark story, quite difficult even if not everything is shown and that the author has kept the most violent scenes for her, leaving us to put words on what she does not say. We discover a heroine who changes, who evolves, who wants a freedom that she can not have. We hope, we cross our fingers very hard so that Jenna finds a solution, so that she gets out of this infernal cycle, that she realizes that there is a whole world to discover.

Yes, it was an interesting first volume and I can not wait to see what will happen to the young woman afterwards.

Profile Image for Melanie.
1,180 reviews135 followers
August 6, 2018
Review originally posted at BooksOfMyHeart.net.

4.5 stars

It is no secret, I’m a huge fan of Jeffe Kennedy’s The Twelve Kingdoms series. I’ve been reading it since I met her at RT15 in Dallas. Back then, I got a copy of the second book in the series, The Tears of the Rose. The third book, The Talon of the Hawk, wasn’t even out yet. Now, we have three The Twelve Kingdoms books, three more of The Uncharted Realms books (which follows the same characters in chronological time.

Now, we have The Chronicles of Dasnaria, which starts before any of these books. We actually see Kral (hero in The Edge of the Blade) and Harlan (hero in The Talon of the Hawk) as children back in their home realm of Dasnaria. We also get to meet their brothers and sisters and even mothers and father.

We learned early that Dasnaria isn’t a great place for women. Harlan had little good to say about it in book three. We even get to see some of it in Kral’s book. But that doesn’t prepare you for what you see in this book. Dasnaria, women really have little rights. We start with Jenna and all her brothers and sisters living in the seraglio, a paradise for the women deep within the palace. There are lagoons and the temperatures are always warm and comfortable. In the Imperial Palace seraglio, there are no windows (though some of the other castles do have them). Jenna has never seen the sky or the sun.

When her brothers come of age (I think it was around seven), they leave the seraglio and don’t return, as men aren’t allowed, only young boys and females of all ages. Jenna doesn’t see her brothers again until she is to attend an betrothal party where she is to meet her husband.

Jenna’s life was pretty pampered as a child. She was the first daughter of the first wife, which basically put her above everyone in the seraglio except her mother, the first wife. She could even push over the second and third wife. Once she’s married to her fiance, that all changes. She now has to answer to him. Plus she will have to leave the only home she’s ever known, to live with him in his kingdom that is part of her father’s empire.

I think most fans of The Twelve Kingdoms World (including The Uncharted Realms)will enjoy this new series. However, there are some that may not. The Twelve Kingdoms is fantasy romance. There is a couple that will get their happily ever after in each book. That is not the case here. Knowing Jeffe Kennedy, there will be a happily ever after at some point for Jenna, but that doesn’t happen in this book. While The Twelve Kingdoms isn’t all hearts and flowers, there are some dark moments in the series, it does end happy for each couple. I think if people can deal with the dark side of this series, they will be greatly rewarded in the end. I also want to point out that Ms. Kennedy did a great job of showing us the darkness of this world without getting into the gruesome details. I think that will also help people who maybe wouldn’t enjoy the darker side of this series. I really hope that fans of The Twelve Kingdoms will give this series a try.

You can read this book if you haven’t read anything from The Twelve Kingdoms world. If you haven’t read Jeffe Kennedy, she writes really great fantasy stories. Her characters are great. You will find yourself really rooting for her characters.

**Book was provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley. This review is my opinion and was not requested or provoked in anyway.
Profile Image for Visionary Druid.
552 reviews13 followers
May 26, 2018
Imperial Princess Jenna is the firstborn daughter of Emperor Einarr Konyngrr and his first wife Hulda. She has spent the majority of her life sequestered behind a seraglio’s gilded walls. Jenna diligently prepares for the day she leaves the seraglio and marries the man her parents had chosen. However, her betrothed is not what she expected. Can Jenna endure her husband’s mistreatment long enough to escape? Or will he be her doom?

I have been curious about Jenna’s story since her part in THE EDGE OF THE BLADE, book two in THE UNCHARTED REALMS. She is such a remarkable heroine, who demonstrates such growth towards the end of the story. I adore how Jenna uses her abuse to counsel her impressionable younger brother to treat women better. But, what I admire the most about Jenna is the sacrifices she willingly makes to keep her sisters from sharing her fate.

PRISONER OF THE CROWN is book one in Jeffe Kennedy’s fantasy series, THE CHRONICLES OF DASNARIA, another spinoff from her THE TWELVE KINGDOM books. The story surprised me. I expected a fantasy romance like the author’s prior books; however, this story has absolutely no romance in it. It does touch on violent triggers, especially domestic abuse against women. I like how the author delves into Dasnaria patriarchy culture and seraglios’ politics.

I already fell in love with Harlan, the hero from THE TALON OF THE HAWK, book one in THE TWELVE KINGDOMS series. His steadfast determination to help Jenna made me love him even more. However, I wish I could say the same about Kral, the hero from THE EDGE OF THE BLADE, book two in THE UNCHARTED REALMS. I am glad that he changed from this story to his.

PRISONER OF THE CROWN is a heartrending tale of a princess’s harrowing journey to escape her sheltered and privileged existence. I like how the entire story is written in Jenna’s perspective. I cannot wait to read the continuation of her future journeys.
Profile Image for Dee/ bookworm.
1,332 reviews4 followers
April 26, 2018
#PrisonerOfTheCrown #NetGalley

This book was dark and depressing. I felt sorry for the main character and everything she went through. I am glad she worked on herself to get to where she could escape, but what a price to pay. And her family... well it is a very emotional read.

I received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Profile Image for Lexie.
2,067 reviews298 followers
April 22, 2018
Love love love it.

Let's start with our main character, Jenna. Raised to be sheltered, taught to be submissive and groomed to be obedient - she was her mother's crowning joy. Which was the problem in the end.

Empress Hulda did her job too well - yes Jenna had no knowledge of the outside world, but Hulda taught her the importance of POWER. Having it, using it, not sharing it. Hulda taught Jenna that one day she would have power - a woman's power, but it was far more remarkable than a man's.

Except Jenna learns there is little in her Mother that would induce her to be kind towards Jenna. Jenna is just another tool after all.

I loved Jenna. I loved how she didn't make her choices in a rush. She understood the gilded prison she was trapped in, but didn't want to rush into an unknown world that she could fail in. Knowledge was the true power and Jenna wanted it all.

I appreciated how we got to see how Jenna's life was - while the story is told in the past tense (by Jenna from some future point in her life), our narrator doesn't gloss over her naivete or senseless moments. She's brutally honest.

While the story does take some time to develop fully (by almost the 50% point Jenna had only just met her fiancee and learned some awful truths about what life would be like) it's better for it. I suspect understanding Jenna's position and thought process will be crucial going forward.

All in all I'm VERY excited for the next book.
Profile Image for Jen Davis.
Author 7 books695 followers
June 29, 2018
Let me start by saying what a huge fan I have been of the 12 Kingdoms series. When I heard the next book would feature a Dasnarian princess, I figured this was Jenna's story and I was pretty excited. What I didn't expect was a set-up for a trilogy on her story. (For fans of the series, remember, Jenna was the older sister who Harlan helped escape from an abusive husband. It was quite the mystery and now we are finally learning what happened.)

Here's the thing, though. This is not a romance. This is the story of Jenna's life leading up to the point in which her infamous escape took place. We have seen Dasnarian culture before. It is highly unfavorable to women and that is in full force here. Jenna, just like every other woman, is a commodity. She has no rights. She is not allowed any knowledge or opinions of her own. And when faced with unimaginable cruelty, there is nothing she can do but take it.

The book is very well written, which is a good and a bad thing. Good, because I was completely engrossed in the story, but bad because I was horrified and it made my heart hurt. The abuse is horrific. And while the author does not go into gratuitous detail, what is on page is enough to make you want to look away. True enough, there were difficult portions in some of the other (12 Kingdoms) books, especially in Ursula's story. But this is an entirely different level.

As always, the world building is fantastic and immersive. It's just that the world is awful. I loved seeing young Harlan and young Kral. And, of course, the sisters we met in Kral's book. And the ending is like a warm light at the end of a very very dark tunnel.

It is a difficult journey, but an important one. The character development for Jenna was very well done. And, for sure, I will be back for the next book to see the next leg of her journey. Just be warned, there is a lot of darkness here. And again, I cannot stress this enough, no romance. Maybe, hopefully, somewhere in the trilogy, Jenna will meet a man that teaches her the other side of a relationship. One that is about caring and loving instead of causing pain and misery.

This one is worth reading, just know what you're getting into before you start.

Rating: B

*ARC provided by publisher
Profile Image for AlwaysV.
472 reviews
November 19, 2018
I couldn't possibly find adequate words to describe how this story broke my heart into pieces while reading about Imperial Princess Jenna's unbelievably painful life. I hadn't planned even to touch her story at all. Let alone read it. The author was honest from the get go, with her forewarning what it was about. I didn't think I could take it. But after having read what her baby brother had done to save her and knew that she was going to be kind of okay, in another novella, I decided to pick up this book and the next one. I went straight to the end of Book 2 first, though, to make sure it turned out well for Jenna. Then I began reading this book.

My hats off to the author. Her beautiful writing and compassionate tone through out, had helped me swallowed my tears and survived all of Jenna's hopeless and tortured ordeals with her. What even sadder than this fiction was that I knew for a fact that sexual abuse committed on so many females wasn't just fiction, but all factual in my real world too.

Some sad trivial information about Jenna's life . . . for the first eighteen years, she thought she had everything. Though she had never been outside, or seen the outside world. Never seen the sun, felt the breeze, looked at trees/forest, grown men, or an elephant. Then the monster came to drag her away with the full blessing from her parents.

"Do. You. Need. Rescue?" Jenna didn't even know she needed it. There was no happy ending in Book 1, yet I was so thankful for Jenna's baby brother, random strangers, like the blacksmith's family, or an honest Captain of the ship, who had helped her hold on until she could find her own strength and courage to rescue and save herself. This book was a celebration of the will to survive and maybe to triumph in the next two books.
Profile Image for Mefab✨.
363 reviews38 followers
September 9, 2021
Daughters learn from their own mothers. That’s the way of things

One of its kind book. I have never read a book without a prince charming and this experience was VERY DIFFERENT.

Profile Image for Jodie "Bookish"  Cook.
1,717 reviews3 followers
June 17, 2018
Book Review
Title: Prisoner of the Crown
Author: Jeffe Kennedy
Genre: YA/Historical/Fantasy
Rating: *****
Review: The opening to Prisoner of the Crown was, we are introduced to Princess Jenna who is a princess of Dasnaria, along with her many brothers and sisters from the 3 main wives of the Emperor. We learn about her life and the firstborn from the first wife, and how she will be the one to return her ancestors to glory. She also begins to learn some painful lessons about the place of women in their society, but her mothers, is lying to her telling her she can be the most powerful women in the empire which might be right, but she fails to mention that she will always be beneath a man, but her mother begins teaching her the things she is going to have to know to succeed in the world but none of thing includes anything useful like politics or history.
We then jump forwards to when Jenna is fifteen and is set to find out who he future husband is going to but despite all her mother’s grooming Jenna has retained her kind heart and still cares for her siblings. As she is about to meet her brothers for the first time in years and meet her husband for the first time Jenna is understandably nervous. However, she is also aware of some ways of the world from her mother and understands the parade she is about to become a part in. As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel, she meets her father for the first time and her husband to be; Rodolf, ruler of the kingdom of Arynherk. Jenna soon learns that her husband to be is nothing like she imagined, he is well beyond her years and through her brothers she learns his nickname is Bloody Rodolf, as all four of his other wives died suspiciously in their twenties, but they know this won’t happen to Jenna as she is the firstborn daughter of the Emperor and Rodolf seems desperate for an heir, but I can sense that this marriage is going to be much harder for Jenna than her mother has made it seems.
As we approach the halfway mark in the novel, Jenna is beginning to become friends with Princess Ada and learns of the different ways of life for wives outside of her home, where wives share their husband’s beds during the nights and so many other things which seems infinitely strange to Jenna. What disturbs her the most is when Ada offers to rescue her from this marriage considering Rodolf’s history with wives and Jenna doesn’t understand what she is beginning offered or what she could be walking into, she only knows how to obey the will of her mother.
As we cross into the second half of the novel, not a lot has happened, but I have a feeling that this second half will be more interesting that the first. And it definitely did, it is on her wedding night that Jenna truly learns what it means to be a woman after suffering the brutality of her husband and not being able to do a thing about it and she only lasts for days of this treatment before she tries to run and ends up being delivered there bound and gagged. The only protect her father affords her is that her husband won’t mark her face, but he seems like a sadist to me getting off on basically beating his young, naïve wife.
As we approach the ¾ mark in the novel, Jenna is beginning to realise what Ada meant when she asks if she needed to be rescued and, in some sense, regrets not taking her up on the offer when it was presented. As she leaves her home for the prison she is going to, she leaves knowing she has freed her sisters, through careful and clever bargaining the Emperor agreed that the sisters can marry but only if they choose to but after seeing the way Jenna is treated they don’t want to and agree to stay at the palace and wait for Jenna to return and if she does they will free her of her prison. Jenna knows she will never be able to return and doesn’t plan to give Rodolf children either as she will lose her sons to her husband and she would rather kill her daughters than send them to the fate she is now being forced to endure. When her brother appears in her escort to her new home, she is worried that her husband will kill him if he suspects Harlan of causing trouble and Jenna begs him to return home, which he refuses until he has found a way to free her of the beast she is wed to.
As we cross into the final section of the novel, the long journey to Rodolf’s palace is taking its toll on Jenna especially with his cruel treatment but Harlan is working on a plan to free her and Petra is helping her keep the pain at bay with the use of drink and drugs to numb Jenna to the world. More than once Jenna contemplates getting Rodolf to kill her or killing herself rather than live her whole life like this and it is made even worse when she learns that most men aren’t like Rodolf and that she was the sacrifice for an alliance which Rodolf doesn’t plan to honour anyway but being a woman, she doesn’t have any sway in this world of men. The night they actually reach the palace Harlan has a plan for them to escape and they do but now the struggle is getting far enough away before they can be caught and killed. However, Jenna is injured, and bleeding and it needs to be taken care of before they can go any further as they can move quicker without stopping.
When they reach the ocean city they need to find a way to remove her wedding bracelets chained to her arm, but it is too risky, but they do cut her hair, so she doesn’t stand out as much, but getting aboard is going to be hard as women travelling aboard is rare and it might give Rodolf the hints he needs to capture Jenna once more. In the end, despite being caught by the imperial guards Jenna manages to get passage aboard to a place ruled by a Queen where she might be able to get some help and be able one day to return to her homeland free of the demon that haunts her. I will definitely be reading the sequel as soon as I can, and I highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Bambi Unbridled.
1,282 reviews138 followers
June 19, 2018

Prisoner of the Crown is the first book in a new fantasy series by Jeffe Kennedy, which is either titled Chronicle of Dasnaria or The Lost Princess Chronicles... I'm seeing it as both, so I'm not sure which it is. I kinda like the latter best and feel it fits our protagonist best. Jeffe is branching out as this is straight fantasy (vs. fantasy romance), though it is connected to her prior fantasy romance series. As obtuse as I am, I didn't realize exactly HOW connected it was until I had read about 2/3 of the book!

Our heroine of this series is Jenna, Imperial Princess of Dasnaria. Jenna is the half-sister to Harlan (The Talon of the Hawk) and Kral (The Edge of the Blade) and has lived her entire life in the seraglio below the Imperial Palace. The seraglio is like a harem, where the many wives of the emperor live and scheme, and raise their daughters to be pawns in political machinations. When Jenna is forced from her gilded cage, she is thrown into a harsh reality where she learns the cruel ways of men, her role as a pawn in a political game, and which family members she can trust.

This first installment is a coming of age, or coming to reality, for Jenna. While she learned harsh lessons that she thought prepared her for life beyond the seraglio, she quickly otherwise. Many of Jenna's lessons and experiences were hard to read, and may serve as a trigger for some people. However Jenna's plight forged a strong emotional connection with the reader, and drew me into the story. As I said above, I was so wrapped up in Jenna that I didn't realize exactly who she was until I was well into the book. I enjoyed following her path, and am very excited to see where the series goes from here. I have a feeling she is going to become a favorite heroine as the series progresses.

For those that have read The Twelve Kingdoms and Uncharted Realms series, this book takes place prior to those stories. It was interesting to peek into the early lives of Harlan and Kral... and once I realized who they were, I almost went back and started the story over from the beginning just so I could soak in the info with new eyes. I was a fan of both of these heroes in their own respective books... so I was caught off guard by how much I didn't like Kral in his formative years. Reading this story definitely made me nostalgic - I wish I had time to go back and re-read the brothers' books to see what new tidbits I could pick out.

If you are a fantasy fan, you can't go wrong with Jeffe Kennedy.
Profile Image for Liza.
1,295 reviews148 followers
June 17, 2018
Prisoner of the Crown is the first book in a new fantasy series by Jeffe Kennedy. While it is a spin-off of her Twelve Kingdom series, I had no trouble with the dynamics in this new series.

I really had to take a bit of time to put my thoughts together after reading Prisoner of the Crown. Ms. Kennedy completely and totally pulled me into this story, even though it did start off a bit slow. I found myself enchanted by Jenna and her sisters and yet horrified by the way they really were kept in a gilded cage as they grew up. Yes they had all the luxuries of royals, but no freedom what so ever.

Each of the Imperial Princesses is being raised to marry to someone who will help her father's reign continue. Jenna is the oldest of the three sisters we meet in Prisoner of the Crown, and I think her mother did her best to prepare Jenna for what was coming. Not that her mother really had anything resembling maternal instincts. I swear the only reason Jenna was even marginally prepared for the man her father picked was because her mother had been so very horrible to her much of her childhood. Yes she taught her the power of a woman, but the way she did it was barbaric at times.

I honestly wasn't prepared for the brutality from Jenna's husband. I knew he wasn't a nice person, but I honestly didn't expect him to as much of a beast as he ended up being. I honestly couldn't believe her father would allow her to be given to such a man even for political gain. While I wasn't a fan of Jenna's mother, her training did give Jenna the knowledge she needed about power to help get her make the best decisions when it came to protecting herself and removing herself from her horrible situation.

Prisoner of the Crown was a good start to the new fantasy series. While incredibly hard to read at times, I found myself completely drawn into the story and couldn't stop reading. I can't wait to see where Ms. Kennedy takes us with this series of books.

Rating: 4 Stars (B)
Review copy provided by publisher
Profile Image for Cathy Geha.
3,592 reviews65 followers
June 12, 2018
Prisoner of the Crown by Jeffe Kennedy
The Chronicles of Dasnaria #1

Not a huge fan of Sci-Fi but thought this book might be worth a try. I like to start series with the first book when I can so this was a good first book for me to try by an author I have never read before. I had mixed feelings about the book as half of it told about Princess Jenna’s life as a child and young woman and how she was prepared in a seraglio to later become a well-trained obedient wife. The second half of the story was what happened after she married, spoke of her seeing the outside for the first time as she traveled to her horrible husband’s castle, incorporated a younger brother’s tenacity in keeping her safe and ended with her seeking her freedom from the chains that bound her to her husband and kingdom.

I liked Jenna but found her a bit clueless and do hope she wises up. I am on the fence about this book. I liked parts of it, wished there had been less in the first half and more in the second half and would like to see where the author plans to go with this series. I should also say I am not a fan of abrupt endings and this had a bit of that feel to it.

Did I like this book? Yes & No
Would I read another book by this author? Perhaps, to see what happens next.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books – Rebel Base Books for the ARC – This is my honest review.

3-4 Stars
Profile Image for Blodeuedd Finland.
3,385 reviews291 followers
July 11, 2018
I was warned before so I knew this was not a romance, not that I mind. I love straight up fantasy. I would still call this light even though dark things happen.

Jenna is an Imperial princess and grows up in a beautiful paradise where she plays and enjoys life. Though she does get an inkling that there is things she does not know (in truth she knows nothing. Not what snow looks like. Not what animals are...nothing. Cos she is told nothing). All she knows is her sheltered cage. I do feel sorry for her, because I know the real world will not be what she thinks.

An Imperial Princess must marry well and well means this utter monster. I curse her mother and the men in her family.

I liked her cage. She was so sheltered and it was done well. It was sad and tragic. I liked the look we got at her sisters, and I curse my brain cos I do not remembered what happened to them. As the Kingdom books takes place after this.

I also liked the look we got of her brothers. I curse Kral at the moment and I want to re-read his book cos at the moment I can not forgive him. I also want to re-read Harlan's book because omg that boy, how wonderful he was. He was not of that world. That cruel world where women are nothing, just something to be played with.

Jenna will go from naive to getting stronger. From sheltered to realizing that there is another world out there. I like her journey and when the book ended I wanted more. I need to know what happens to this poor woman.

A golden cage is a cage after all.
Profile Image for Stacy.
1,330 reviews63 followers
June 21, 2018
PRISONER OF THE CROWN surprised me. I wasn't 100% into it when I started reading, but it didn't take long to fall into the world and characters.

PRISONER OF THE CROWN is book one in the new The Chronicles of Dasnaria series, but book seven in The Twelve Kingdoms Complete Universe. I haven't read any of the books in this universe yet and I didn't feel lost one bit.

There is nothing romantic in PRISONER OF THE CROWN. In fact the relationship parts are very dark and emotionally hard to read. I was horrified at many points while reading, but there was no way I could have put the book down. I NEEDED to know what would happen after all was said and done.

The world was very strong. I felt like I was there seeing—and feeling— everything through Jenna's eyes. The pace in the beginning was very slow, but did pick up towards the middle of the book.

The ending gave me some hope that the next book might be so dark and horrifying. Jenna changed and grew a lot in PRISONER OF THE CROWN and I look forward to seeing what she does next. EXILE OF THE SEAS is set to release September 4, 2018.

* This book was provided free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Alexia Chantel.
Author 1 book39 followers
June 13, 2018
Kennedy's world of Dasnaria is rich and vibrant. This land across the sea has been spoken of in the Twelve Kingdoms series, and some Dasnarian's have become prominent characters in the lives of the Princeses and Tala. So it is incredibly interesting to read Jenna's story, and see her brother's, Harlan and Kral, as young men.

Jenna's story is dark. She survives a lot of physical and mental abuse at the hands of her husband. It's a story that will have you gripping the pages and sending encouragement to Jenna as she fights for her life and sanity. There is a glimmer of light at the end, but her journey isn't over.

If you've enjoyed the Twelve Kingdoms series, you will not want to miss this spin-off. If you haven't, you will be able to read this without problem since Kennedy is revealing an entirely new land. Read this if you enjoy fantasy. And join me in eagerly waiting for book two.

Reviewed at Reading Between the Wines Book Club:
Profile Image for Jessica Belmont.
1,482 reviews44 followers
September 29, 2018
This was a hard story to take in. Not because the book was bad, but because the plot was pretty devastating. Jeffe Kennedy spares us the very gorey details, but let’s us know enough to imagine the horrors our main character, Jenna, faces.

The world building in this book is absolutely breathtaking, but I will admit that it caused the first half of the book to be a bit slow in pace. I appreciate good world building, I just hope the second book consists of less and moves a bit quicker. It didn’t stop my enjoyment of this book though.

This first book sets us up for what feels like a fantastic fantasy series. Though most of this first novel did feel like a “set up,” I’m still excited to read the next book and see where the story leads.

*I received a copy of this book as part of a blog tour. All opinions are my own.*
Profile Image for Timitra.
1,257 reviews
June 12, 2018
Rated 4.5 Stars

Prisoner Of The Crown is part coming of age, part intrigue, part political, part treachery and a whole lot of awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed this book even though the dark moments had me up in arms ready to do some damage.

I loved the way the author set this one up, it has me so intrigued and eager to see how things shake out where the power struggle is concerned.

Even more than the power dynamics I'm excited to see what happens next with the main character, Jenna. I'm so ready for the next book in this series. I'm hoping Jenna comes more into her own and is a force to be reckoned with.

I definitely recommend this book.

ARC won in a contest
Profile Image for Nicole Luiken.
Author 21 books157 followers
June 29, 2018
Very much a book one and the miserable beginning for the character's long term journey. Jenna is horribly trapped, deliberately kept ignorant, betrayed and all sorts of other awful things. While I sympathized strongly, some chapters were hard to read. She only acquires agency at the very end of the story.

The best part for me was seeing Harlan as a 14-year-old boy. He is Jenna's brother and a total sweetheart--as I already knew from reading Talon of the Hawk where he is the hero.
Profile Image for Isabel.
401 reviews73 followers
July 31, 2018
I really liked this actually. I read it on the plane and waiting on the airport and it was a good read. I'd absolutely recommend this.
Profile Image for Renee.
210 reviews10 followers
July 31, 2019
DNF. Just wasn’t my thing. I tried but it was so deep fantasy that I just couldn’t continue.
Profile Image for Michaela.
1,342 reviews66 followers
April 12, 2022
Vlastne je to lepšie, ako som čakala. Krátka novela o princeznej, ktorá je vychovávaná v absolútnej izolácii a maximálnej poslušnosti. Jej malý útulný a chránený svet je v srdci paláca zamknutý na sedem zámkov, ale je neskutočne pohodlný, má všetok luxus. O tom, že svet žien, konkubín a manželiek a ich detí je len zlatá klietka, nemá ani potuchy. Stretávame sa s ňou ako s malým dievčatkom, kedy dostane prvú tvrdú lekciu o moci a vládnutí. Ňou začína príprava na jedinú úlohu - stať sa najkrajšou perlou koruny, poslušnou nevestou a manželkou a tak poslúžiť kráľovstvu. Pravidlá a tanec, šperky a hodváb, horúce kúpele a lahodné vône. Ale aj jedy, opiáty a intrigy. Z jej detstva sa prehupneme hneď k prípravám na svadbu, kedy dochádza k prvému stretnutiu so svetom vonku. Všetko je tak nové, až je to šokujúce. Napríklad muži... Páčilo sa mi, že to pokračovalo vlastne až do konca, jej prekvapenie z maličkostí, zo snehových vločiek a topánok, pohľad na slnko či les. Na určité podrobnosti nedôjde, veľa ostáva na predstavivosti čitateľa, ale prerod princeznej je neskutočne drsný a plný utrpenia. Opis týrania a znásilnení sa nekoná dopodrobna (našťastie), ale ešte desivejšie je, keď si to len čitateľ domýšľa z rán a následkov.
Je to síce krátky príbeh, vlastne len taký úvod k sérii, ale dám jej šancu, som zvedavá, ako bude pokračovať tento príbeh inšpirovaný exotickým orientom a drsným severom zároveň.
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