Six months ago, when her long-hidden heritage came to light, Tab Bennett reluctantly let go of her past and embraced her future as an Elvish princess on the cusp of her gifts and the edge of her destiny. She never wanted a fairy tale life, but as the daughter of the Dark King and the Light Queen, that’s exactly what she got.
Raised in exile away from the kingdom of the Inbetween, Tab has never even met the parents who ruined her life. Her mother is dead, but Tab’s father, Daniel, is alive and well, the mad ruler of the kingdom of the Underneath. He’s made it clear he wants to meet her and now that she knows all the sadness and heartache in her life can be traced directly to the Dark king’s door, Tab wants to meet him too. After all, it’s because of him that the first twenty-five years of her life were a lie. It’s his fault she gave her heart to Robbin when she should have been saving it for Alex, the prince who is destined to be her Homecoming. But, most importantly, King Daniel is the one responsible for her mother’s suicide and her sisters’ murders.
Now Tab wants justice – but she’ll settle for revenge and Finnegan Blackthorn, an Elvish warrior with secrets of his own, is going to help her get it. Together, they’ll embark on the dangerous journey to her father’s stronghold in the kingdom Underneath. Once she’s there, far away from the Light in which she was raised, Tab will be forced to confront the seductive nature of Darkness and her own potential to truly become her father’s daughter
**A review copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.**
**This review will have slight spoilers if you haven’t read the first book in the series.**
With UNDERNEATH, author Jes Young brings us back to the world of Tab Bennett, the Princess of Twilight and Dawn, and it’s a much, much darker world than I expected.
In the first book, TAB BENNETT AND THE INBETWEEN, we were introduced to Tab, a 25 year-old bank teller, sheltered and protected by a large family of sisters and cousins. Tab has a lot of growing up to do, especially when she discovers who she really is, where she really comes from, and who her family truly is to her. Tab makes these huge discoveries, falls in love, fights for her life, and finally accepts a destiny she never knew was hers. In UNDERNEATH, we are brought forward about a year after the events of Inbetween and Tab is coming into her new role, trying to master her powers, and ready to take her relationship with her fiancè to the next level.
Did I have a plan? No. Did I have a weapon? Technically, but my knife was like a toothpick in comparison to his sword. I flew at him anyway.
I liked Tab in this book even more than I did in the first one. She has definitely matured. She’s learning to navigate that line between the old Tab and the new. She takes decisive action and is not afraid to command when needed. What I also appreciated is the fact that she very realistically embodies the two worlds she straddles – the light and the dark. Tab struggles with a need for revenge, a need that sets the ball rolling for the events that take place in this book. Tab wants to travel to the Underneath to confront Daniel, the Dark King, and she is hell-bent on exacting that revenge. When you are so focused on one, very emotional goal, rational thought isn’t very close behind. However, I do think that it was a bit hard to believe there wasn’t really a plan. You see, she does go to the Underneath with several trusted friends but they seemingly go without any real plan in place. I found that slightly unrealistic especially when considering good friends are risking their lives for her. But that doesn’t really matter because once they got there, I was swept into the story and didn’t look back.
The Light Elvish magic may have moved from my mother to me when she died, technically making me the keeper of all things pure, bright, and good, but I wouldn’t exactly call myself those things.
Once in the Underneath, Tab is seduced by the dark; she recognizes the beauty that can be had in it and she gives into some of her dark desires for revenge. There are two scenes, one abbreviated, that really are spectacular in their darkness. I appreciate that Young “went there.” It showed Tab’s battle between light and dark and is realistic in that, if given the choice in a similar situation, many of us really wouldn’t turn the other cheek. And while being in the Underneath enhanced her dark feelings, the core of those feelings, that dark need for revenge, existed way before she traveled to the Underneath. I love that conflict in Tab.
I waved my hand, silencing them. The Gift of Light and Air is great, but the ability to quiet a room full of agitated men is priceless.
I also love Tab’s voice. She’s smart and full of snark. There were lines here that made me laugh out loud. I also enjoy the fact that Tab addresses the reader from time to time. This was a device used in the first book and I think Young uses it just as effectively here. It draws the reader in and makes you feel like Tab is speaking only to you. It also makes me wonder from what point in the future she’s telling this story because there’s an element of “looking back” that works very well here.
The romance develops but a new possibility enters the picture in the form of Finnegan Blackthorn. I, on the other hand, still have hopes for Robben. So he’s lied to her, betrayed her trust, maybe was even part of a plot to harm her. We all make mistakes, no?
There is more action here than in the first book which is great. I like good action sequences in my UF. However, I felt like they tended to be a bit short and lacking in detail but the emphasis was on character interaction which I appreciate.
And let’s not even talk about the ending. Young treats her characters with little sentimentality in the end. I love that in an author. It was heartbreaking, shocking, devastating. And at the same time…exciting. I want to see what Tab does next. I want to know how she can accomplish what she sets out to do. With the odds against her, can she make it happen? And if you want to know what “it” is, you have to read UNDERNEATH to figure it out.
This was a great entry in a wonderful new trilogy. I’ve officially decided I will read anything Jes Young writes.