Friday, January 6, 2012
Book review: Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey
The year is 1192 and seventeen-year-old Tess is a blacksmith's daughter on Wilde Island, which is a fictional island, although I think that based on the story, it's intended to be set near England. Wilde Island is the home to many humans, but also to dragons and fairies, who live in Dragonswood, a forest that is supposed to be their sanctuary. Although it is forbidden, Tess has often gone into Dragonswood - to get away from her horrible father, who physically abuses both Tess and her mother, but also because she feels drawn there. Tess fears being forced to marry, because she assumes most men will be like her abusive father. Tess also has a secret - she sees visions in fires. She must keep her power a secret, because the villagers fear witches and would burn her alive.
When Tess is accused of witchcraft despite carefully hiding her secret, and under torture names her two best friends, the three girls must escape their village and run for their lives. They are offered sanctuary by Garth, a young man who guards Dragonswood, and who Tess previously saw in her visions. Tess feels attracted to Garth, but doesn't believe he returns her feelings. She also thinks he is hiding something. Then Tess discovers a surprising truth about her own heritage, and the part she might play in a fairy prophecy.
I really liked the premise of Dragonswood. I love anything set in the Medieval era and I also love fantasy but I'm sick of all the modern paranormal books out there. So I think ther historical setting Dragonswood really makes it stand from the endless sea of young adult paranormal books. I really liked the character of Tess, who was very brave and strong despite her difficult life. I think the author was true to the way of life in the Medieval era, despite this being a fantasy novel. My only real complaint was that the ending seemed a bit abrupt (there is an epilogue, but the conclusion to the main story seemed like it was over a bit too fast), and I wish the romance had been developed a bit more. But overall I enjoyed the story a lot and I recommend it to readers who enjoy historical fantasy or who are sick of all the typical young adult paranormal novels and want to read something different.
Disclosure: Review copy provided by author.