Author: Janet Lee Carey
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: January 5th, 2012
Wilde Island is in an uproar after the recent death of its king. The uneasy pact between dragons, fairies, and humans is fraying, and a bloodthirsty witch hunter with a hidden agenda whips villages into frenzies with wild accusations. Tess, a blacksmith’s daughter from a tiny hamlet near the mysterious Dragonswood, finds herself caught in the crosshairs of fate when she is accused of witchery and has to flee for her life along with her two best friends.
Not even Tess’s power to see the future can help the girls as they set off on their desperate journey, but she keeps having visions of a man wielding a sword. And when she finally meets him, Tess has no idea how to handle the magnetic attraction she feels for him, or the elusive call she hears from the heart of the Dragonswood.
In this epic romance, an ancient prophecy comes true in a way neither dragon, fairy, nor human would have predicted.
Summary from Goodreads.com
My Review: I am a huge fan of dragons; this is a pretty well-known fact. So I saw this book and immediately had to have it. While the dragons are not the main focus of the story, they still play a large role in it and I loved seeing Janet’s take on how dragons would be in this world.
Dragonswood follows the life of Tess. She lives with her mother and abusive father and longs for something more. She is not quite sure what she is missing, but knows she is not happy with her life now. She also wants to meet a man that can love her without hitting her. Tess is an easy character to love, but she has a hard road ahead of her. One day she gets accused of witchcraft and is tortured for information about others like her. While under the cruelty of the witch hunter she inadvertently gives up the names of her two best friends and they will soon be hunted down as well. The three of them are forced to flee the city they have grown up in and seek shelter elsewhere. One of Tess’s most admirably qualities is her fierce loyalty. She did not mean to turn her friends in, but not that she has endangered them she will do everything she can to help them become safe again.
Her two friends, Poppy and Meg, were good to Tess and helped out when they could, but I did not love them as much as I might have been meant too. They were whiny at times and that is the one quality that bothers me the most. Poppy was also just downright rude to Tess at times. Her arrogance and cruel comments irked me and I just wanted to shout at her to be quiet. Meg was not mean, but she was very self-absorbed at times. I don’t know how Tess remained so humble and loyal with the kind of people she was surrounded with, but it made me love her all the more. She always thought of others before herself and it made her a great leading character.
As for the fantasy world, it was amazing! Janet painted a gorgeous picture of a world where dragons are spotted often and humans have been known to mingle with fairies. It was absolutely magical and I wanted to dive right into the pages so I could see it all for myself. There is another book set in this same world, Dragon’s Keep, but I have not read it yet. I know it came out before this one, but I was not at all confused reading them out of order. They are not part of a series, but some events that took place in Dragon’s Keep were mentioned in this book. I will be looking into that book now that I have read this one, but you can read them in any order without it making a difference.
The romance in this book was subtle and always in the background, but I liked it that way. The plot did not need the romance to be featured at all times to be addicting. The story and the events that took place in Dragonswood kept me glued to the pages and the sweet, slow building romance was just a bonus! The guy Tess is interested in, Garth, is an honorable man and takes Tess and her friends in when he could have easily turned them in to the witch hunter. He takes care of them and the subtle hints that he was starting to care for Tess were so cute. I loved watching their relationship grow and develop from being strangers to two people who cared very much.
Overall, I really enjoyed getting to know Tess and her world in Dragonswood. I soaked up every detail of this world and loved getting lost in it. The road was not easy and there were many moments where my heart ached for Tess and the challenges she faced, but I would not change on minute of it. This book is a must read for any fantasy lovers!
FTC: I received this ARC from the Early Reviews Program on LibraryThing