Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey Book Review
Monday, August 6, 2012 7:36 PM
Release Date: January 5, 2012
Rating: 3 stars
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Wilde Island was once at peace. After the death of their Pendragon king, the king's regent holds the throne uneasily until the heir returns from the crusades while the younger prince searches the island for the stolen royal treasure. Tension rises between the three races of fey, dragon, and human who had lived in peace beforehand.
Tess finds herself drawn to the Dragonswood, the dead king's sanctuary for the dragons and fey, despite its danger. The forest offers her comfort and an escape from her father's abuse and an unwanted betrothal. When a witchhunter visits her town, Tess is nervous because she spends her time in Dragonswood and she sees visions of the past and future with her firesight. Tess and her two friends are caught in the witchhunter's sights, and they are forced to flee into the Dragonswood to escape trial and almost certain death. In order to survive in the wild, they have to rely on a mysterious huntsman. But Tess starts feeling something for this huntsman, and she is terrified of opening her heart to anyone when she has been abused by a man all her life.
First off, DO NOT read the synopsis on Goodreads. It has two HUGE spoilers that don't reveal themselves until later in the story! Sure, it was a predictable outcome, but if you intend to read this book, you probably don't want spoilers.
Secondly, I bought Dragonswood mainly for the cover. It is beautiful. I still can't get enough of it. The dress, the creepily floating woman, the beautiful background and title. I always judge a book by its cover. Later on, I might read reviews and hear about popular books, but the cover is really the hook, line, and sinker.
I was looking forward to this book, and I hate to say I was disappointed. Dragonswood lacked a certain spark or oomph. It had so much potential with its fast pace and wild imagination, but this book seemed to be suffering from multiple personality disorder. Or maybe it was pumped up on fantasy steroids. There was just so much going on, and I found myself lost as to what this book was really about. A blacksmith's daughter who is trying to escape her abusive father? A girl accused of witchcraft trying to outrun her pursuers? An impostor trying to steal the Pendragon throne? A wood full of dragons and fey? A girl doubting her faith in God? This book just went in so many directions, and I honestly felt dizzy trying to focus on the storyline. All the jumbled elements didn't fall into place until halfway through the book. Up until then, I felt the plot was a little sloppy. The setting was 12th century England, but the time didn't seem to fit with these girls wanting independence from their fathers and men, and then they end up falling in love anyways. Maybe they learned that all men aren't abusive and controlling? The message was liberating but also confusing. Plus, some historical elements were just thrown in at random, such as a reference to King Arthur, and they did nothing to enrich the story.
The back of the book says there is an epic romance. I thought the romance was sweet, but definitely not epic. I can understand that the author was trying to be subtle with the romance, but I thought it was almost too subtle. Of course the reader can guess that the huntsman is the love interest, but there wasn't enough chemistry between Tess and Garth for most of the book.
I did enjoy reading this book despite its hyperactivity. It entertained me, and I was never bored. Plus, I loved the description and the vivid detail given to Dragonswood, DunGarrow, and the fey. I also fell in love with the dragons and the Pendragon royalty that had dragon blood in their veins and dragon scales on their skin. And I loved the huntsman. He was such a compelling character, and he was so sweet and understanding with Tess.
As for the ending, it was a little abrupt. The book seemed to be building up the tension between the races, but everything was wrapped up a little too neatly and I wanted more of a climax. I heard there is a sequel in the works and maybe that will reveal more, but I am not sure if I will even read it.