Review: Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey

Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey
Young Adult
Hardcover, 407 pgs.
Published Jan. 5th, 2012 by Penguin
Source: Purchased

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.

When I heard the description of this book I was immediately drawn to it.  But then I saw reviews saying it was mediocre.  This worried me a bit.  But I still bought the book.  And I’m so glad I did!  The book pulled me in immediately and it kept me entranced the entire way through.  And while parts of the middle were slower, they still held my attention and I was still eager to continue reading.   

I really liked Tess.  She felt real to me.  She was brave and and strong and extremely loyal, but she still made mistakes, still gave in under pressure (aka torture) and that just made her all the more real.  She never seemed predictable to me as I saw her struggling with her feelings for different things and I loved being surprised by some of her decisions.  

The romance-  I loved it for the most part.  I felt the connection between the two but yet there wasn’t any instant love.  They grew to care for each other as they got to know the other.  As she learned what a kind, gentle and loyal person he was.  As he watched her go through trial after trial but still work to repair her mistakes.  And I loved any and all interaction between them but I wanted more.  I wanted to see them together more and really feel that connection.  I felt like we only got a touch of what it could have been.  However it was still great!  

I loved the world created.  The medieval villages, the sanctuary filled with faeries, dragons and other mythical beings.  I loved the magic and the way everything worked.  The connections between the humans, the fae, the dragons, the royalty.  It was all fantastic!  The storyline was also amazing and while I was able to predict some things other things I never saw coming. 

Overall I really enjoyed everything but at the same time I kind of see what people mean about how it had potential to be totally epically amazingly awesome and how it didn’t quite reach that.  But I went into it expecting it to fall a bit flat and it didn’t really.  It’s mostly looking back I see where it could have been just a bit more, but really, I’m not disappointed.  This was a highly enjoyable read and I recommend it to all fantasy readers, especially those who enjoy fantasy but have a hard time with the lengthy descriptions and longer volumes.  This was most definitely a lighter epic fantasy. I also look forward to reading the authors previous work, Dragons Keep.

4/5 stars

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  1. I admit that this one is just beautiful! I’ve been eyeing it up. Since you hardly, wait!! You have never let me down with recommending a book!

    A lovely to the point review like always.

    Mentioning you in my next post 😉

  2. I couldn’t agree more with your review Candace! I really enjoyed this one, I loved Tess and felt for her when she struggled with the guilt over what happened in the beginning. The romance was sweet, but like you I wanted MORE. There was such great tension between them, I just wanted something a little extra to happen. So glad you loved this one too:)

  3. I fell in love with this one because of the AWESOME cover. I’m happy to hear the inside is just as good as the exterior. From your review, I’d say I’d probably like this one too – no insta love, magical creatures, yep right up my alley. Great review and glad you liked it so much.

  4. I saw this book in the New YA Releases at B&N and I loved how the cover just kind of jumped out at me. I’m glad you reviewed because I kept picking it up and putting it down, lol. Now I know…

    Truth is that while the story seems fun, I probably won’t get to it for a bit. My TBR is a bit crazy right now so I need to wrangle that a bit first.


  5. Thanks for the great review!

    I think how you go into a book (expectations) makes a big difference in how much you enjoy it – I’m glad you really liked this one. I’ve been on the fence about it, but I think I’ll pick it up now.

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  6. I happy to hear you gave this one a try though you heard about a few misgivings. It’s always a wonderful surprise to discover that you really liked a book that someone else might not have. It just shows how reading experiences are so different.

    The romance sounds like a slow building one, and I usually have not problem supporting those if they pick up a lot in the second book.

    The world building sounds awesome. The medieval time period was a wonder in itself, so adding mystical creatures to it only adds to the appeal.

  7. I just got this one this weekend from the Library for Erica’s 2012 fantasy challenge. I was hoping it would be epic but I guess it will still be a great read. I don’t read many fantasy novels though because I never know who to give a shot to. Guess this one will either impress me beyond belief or it will fall just short of that.

    Thanks for the great review, I’m sorry this one missed the EPIC mark for you. :)

  8. I love that you read this even after hearing mediocre reviews. And then enjoyed it! That’s a great reason for all of us to give books a chance. Everyone feels different about different books. I’ll give this one a shot!

  9. I have this one sitting on my bookshelf and I’ve been eager to read it but I’ve been hearing a lot that it slow in areas…like you just said. I’m an extremely impatient reader so I’m still a little worried. I’ll probably give it a try really soon. It’s good to hear that it’s not as bad as most are making it out to be.

    Nice review. This helps a lot.

    Magical Urban Fantasy Reads

  10. I wanted to read this book but I also read some reviews saying it wasn’t good so I decided to leave it. But now I read your review and I think I can enjoy it :)

  11. I had seen this cover and description before, but kind of thought, “meh.” But now, after reading your review, I’ve added it to the TBR list! Great review!

    Andrea (New Follower)

  12. Yay for no insta-love! Like you, the description immediately caught my attention, but than I got hesitant about picking this one up because I kept reading not so great reviews. I still think I’m going to hold off on buying it, but it’s still got a spot on my to-read list!

  13. I’m really glad it didn’t fall flat! I’ve been super curious about this too but got worried about the reviews, but now I think I’ll definitely have to give it a try! I’m too curious not to. 😉 Great review! I’m so glad you liked it and weren’t disappointed with it!

  14. Your review echos a lot of my feelings about Dragon’s Keep. I liked Dragon’s Keep and it held my attention even during the slower parts. But, like you say about this book, I wasn’t feeling the romance and everything felt like it was a little held back from what it could have been.

  15. When I first saw this one I really didn’t think I’d like it. Now that I’ve read your review, I might have to pick it up. I’m not a huge fantasy reader, but a lighter, less lengthy fantasy may be just what I need to love the genre. Fantastic review!

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