Something for this week!
Author: Janet Lee Carey
Release date: 5th of January 2012
Series: Wade Island Chronicles #2
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Historical, Romance, Fantasy
Published by: Speak
Pages: 416 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle
On Wilde Island, there is no peace between dragons, fairies, and humans.
Wilde Island is in an uproar over the recent death of its king. As the uneasy pact between dragons, fairies, and humans begins to fray, the royal witch hunter with a hidden agenda begins a vengeful quest to burn girls suspected of witchcraft before a new king is crowned..
Strong-willed Tess, a blacksmith’s daughter from a tiny hamlet, wants more for herself than a husband and a house to keep. But in times like these wanting more can be dangerous. Accused of witchery, Tess and her two friends are forced to flee the violent witch hunter. As their pursuer draws ever closer they find shelter with a huntsman in the outskirts of the forbidden Dragonswood sanctuary. But staying with the mysterious huntsman poses risks of its own: Tess does not know how to handle the attraction she feels for him—or resist the elusive call that draws her deeper onto the heart of Dragonswood.
This book started on a very somber note. You have domestic violence, children dying, people being burned, witch hunts, people being drowned, lions and tigers and bears, oh my. Ok, no animals, but still, this was a pretty heavy beginning. Luckily, it did get easier to bear along the way, but it doesn’t negate the fact that the whole atmosphere of the book was quite dark and gloomy. Despite this, however, I really enjoyed it!
Of course, there were some cons and aspects that weren’t as fully developed or were lacking. For example, there was no real main villain. There were several characters with questionable morals and ones in the gray area, but no one was really full black or at least no one who was directly introduced and wasn’t playing behind the scenes. I was full-gear ready to hate the witch huntress, but that was messed up as well to a degree, so there wasn’t anyone to “boooo!” over.
Something that annoyed me a lot, but it wasn’t a direct con, was the fact that Tess was forced to rat out the names of her friends during her quite detailed and horrible torture in the hands of the witch hunters. It wasn’t the most “noble” thing to do, far from it, but the attitude of her friends, Garth and Tess herself left me quite frustrated. They all blamed and made her feel even worse about herself. Come one! She was tortured, I’d like to see them come down from their high horse and think on what they would have done, the same I bet. It was an unfortunate situation, but trying to shed bad light on Tess’s character based on that was lame, I admired her more for that.
While the romance was slightly weak and the ending too neatly wrapped, I didn’t really mind in the least because these minor faults were masterfully hidden by the storytelling and world-building, the latter being superb. The world created was vivid, realistic and detailed. I also loved the note it ended on, which simply felt very conclusive and happy yet with a small possibility for more if there was a need.
I’m not really a fan of historical YA, fairy and dragon tropes, but for some reason here they worked and it was exciting to read about, I was completely sucked into the story. The topics were effortlessly interwoven and the result was a wonderful fantasy world with an exciting plot.
I thought Tess was a great heroine, she had spine and sensitivity both. She was thrown from one bad situation to worse and despite everything still remained honest, kind and brave. I liked that she wasn’t perfect visually, it made her character shine, although it’s a shame that almost no one appreciated that or even noticed. I couldn’t help but compare her to her friend Poppy who was also nice and all, but came across naïve and vain BUT, everyone loved Poppy because she was so beautiful and special apparently.
Garth we couldn’t really know much about except for what Tess saw, heard or believed. He was a good guy in a difficult position, but I felt I didn’t really get to know him as a character. There weren’t many opportunities for that and neither he or the romance were the highlight of the book (although the romance was one of the key factors in the general plot as it turned out).
I don’t even know why I took on this book because the theme and tropes aren’t my thing at all, but I’m really glad I did, because this is a well written book with top-notch fantasy elements and development.