Author: Jeffe Kennedy
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Published: January 25th, 2021 by Brightlynx Publishing
Links: Goodreads | Jeffe's Store | Amazon
A Legacy of HonorCrown Prince Astar has only ever wanted to do the right thing: be a credit to his late-father’s legacy, live up to his duties as heir to the High Throne of the Thirteen Kingdoms, and cleave to the principles of honor and integrity that give his life structure—and that contain the ferocious grizzly bear inside. Nowhere in those guiding principles is there room for the fierce-hearted, wildly free-spirited, and dizzyingly beautiful shapeshifter, Zephyr. Still, even though they’ve been friends most of their lives, Astar is able to keep Zephyr safely at arm’s length. He’s already received a list of potential princess brides who will make a suitable queen, and Zephyr is not on it.A Longtime ObsessionZeph has wanted the gorgeous, charming, and too-good-for-his-own-good Astar for as long as she can remember. Not that her longing for him—and his perfectly sculpted and muscular body—has stopped her from enjoying any number of lovers. Astar might be honorably (and foolishly) intent on remaining chaste until marriage, but Zeph is Tala and they have no such rules. Still, she loves Astar—as a friend—and she wants him to at least taste life before he chains himself to a wife he didn’t choose. There’s no harm in him having a bit of fun with her. But the man remains stubbornly elusive, staving off all of her advances with infuriatingly noble refusals.A Quest to Save the WorldBut things change when a new terror threatens the Thirteen Kingdoms. Following prophecy, Astar and Zeph—along with a mismatched group of shapeshifter, warrior, and sorceress friends—go on a quest to stop a magic rift before it grows beyond anyone’s ability to stop. Thrust together with Zephyr, Astar finds himself increasingly unable to resist her seductive invitations. And, in the face of life and death battles with lethal monsters, he begins to lose sight of why having her, just once, is such a terrible idea.
Happy Book Birthday to THE GOLDEN GRYPHON AND THE BEAR PRINCE!!! If this absolutely gorgeous cover doesn’t suck you in, then knowing it’s a continuation of the world Kennedy began with the Twelve Kingdoms series sure will!
As a fan of the Twelve Kingdoms I was beyond excited to see another installment come out. So get ready, dear reader, because Astar and Zeph’s story will take you on a ride! This is written as a stand alone, but within the first chapter you’re introduced to seven characters who are sent on a quest by the High Queen. But if you’re familiar with the Twelve Kingdoms’ sprawling books you’ll recognize the seven as the children of the previous heroes and heroines.
This book focuses on Astar and Zeph, so I’ll stick to them. Astar is the son of Amelia and Hugh and the heir to the High Kingdom. It was wonderful seeing Astar all grown up, he’s an honorable man who is kind to everyone and thinks before he speaks. He’s a glimpse of the man that his father was, even though we only saw him briefly in THE MARK OF THE TALA.
Zeph is delightful. She’s Zyr and Karyn’s daughter and she’s so much Zyr! I love Zeph’s confidence in knowing what she wants and who she is. Though she grows as a person through their journey, how can one not when faced with world-changing danger!
They don’t travel far before they find something wrong, possibly something Deyrr, a creature that can take the shape of whatever it finds interesting. Fissures of magic are spreading across the land and this being, that rips living things apart and sticks them back together in horrific shapes, is one of the results. Together they frighten it away, but in the melee Zeph, in her gríobhth form, is injured as she carries Astar to safety. She’s badly injured and can’t shift back, leaving Astar to freak out and he ends up promising her the one thing she can’t turn down: one night with him to do whatever she wants.
Zeph shifts but is still badly injured and needs healing. As soon as they’re able, they continue onto the next kingdom, Castle Elderhorst, with its mysterious lake. Their cover for investigating this location is for Astar to meet potential brides and he’s introduced to a princess which Zeph immediately dislikes and has an animalistic desire to shred. But one perk of being guests at the palace, they share a room. This is where it gets steamy, in true Jeffe Kennedy fashion.
At this point, the two of them begin to evolve. Zeph realizes there’s more to life than simply enjoying the moment’s desire, that there’s honor and things greater than oneself. Of course when she decides to sacrifice her heart and end things with Astar he shows his growth as he acknowledges that there’s more to life than following the rules. And this is where the mysterious creature(s) plot gets good. They make it to the lake and Zeph goes through a portal where she faces—I can’t tell you because it’s awesome and would spoil the book!! But it's BIG!! Ahhhh!!
To sum up, there’s a new big bad to fight and Astar and Zeph are the first couple to take it head on. The seven friends aren’t out of danger and they’re not even close to winning, but it’ll sure be fun to watch them try!
THE GOLDEN GRYPHON AND THE BEAR PRINCE is another fantastic fantasy romance. Astar and Zeph are fun to watch as they mold to one another and grow and the overarching plot of danger is exciting enough to keep the pages flying. This book does read younger than The Twelve Kingdoms and their expanded series, more YA, perhaps because it's seven young friends embarking on a quest, but it suits them well.
If you’re in the mood for a new series, a fantasy romance, and epic world building, check this book out. Now, it’s time to toast this wonderful fantasy romance and kick off to a new series! Cheers!