Thursday, December 29, 2011

Review: Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey

Book Description via Goodreads:

ARC, 403 pages
January 5, 2012, Penguin Young Readers Group

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.

Source: Janet Lee Carey (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Tess was the daughter of the blacksmith living in Harrowtown, a small town in Wilde Island. She lived with constant pain and bruises given to her by her father. Because of this, she learned how to dodge fists, developed fast reflexes and feared and looked out for signs of anger in men. I found her easy to like. Tess was a girl who wanted freedom, love, respect and security. She was capable, independent, loyal and considerate. She was also talented when it came to drawing. But as a girl, she could never be an artist by profession. It was not allowed. The society and the rules that came with it bound the women – they couldn’t completely express their thoughts and follow their dreams. I cheered Tess on as she struggled to survive away from her home, with a burden on her shoulders. I was intrigued by her gift, fire-sight, which allowed her to glimpse the future through flame.

Garth, the man that Tess kept seeing in her visions, was an intriguing character. He was a woodsman who lived and worked in Dragonswood. I found him compassionate and helpful when he offered Tess and her friends to stay at his lodge. But Garth was also mysterious. He kept secrets and was careful with his words. His relationship with Tess was an interesting one. Both of them were careful with their words, keeping secrets while falling for each other.

The characters were very realistic for me. Each and every one of them had a good side and a bad side. No one was perfect and all of them, including Tess, made mistakes at some point in the novel. What really made me like her was how she tried to make up for her mistakes. She faced the consequences, the anger and hatred of her friends and the sadness instead of running away and making sure that she was safe. I admired her perseverance and her loyalty.

Fey and dragons lived in Dragonswood, a sanctuary set up by Queen Rosalind to protect both races. But in Wilde Island, not everyone wanted Dragonswood to remain a sanctuary. The fey in this novel were the classic faeries. They didn’t have the same concept of love, commitment and attachment like humans did. There was also a hierarchy in terms of magic. A child fey had to go through everything to learn magic and obtain power. The dragons were fascinating. They were wise, loyal and majestic creatures. I loved reading about their history, especially the ones related to the Pendragon royal family.

Fey, dragon and man were all set to keep the sanctuary safe but some of them just wanted to fulfill the ancient prophecy. Tess was swept up in the middle of it all. Secret after secret unraveled and plan after plan was laid out before her. Would Tess do what she’s destined to do or would she choose her own fate?

Dragonswood was a well-thought and well-written novel. From the language to the culture to the fantasy, everything was perfect. The author dropped enough hints for the reader to get an idea of the story as a whole. The story was good, starting from Tess’ point of view of her world before fanning out to the magical world of fey and dragons. But I was a little surprised with the somewhat sudden ending.

Dragonswood is a fascinating and dramatic story with a strong heroine in a world of intrigue, danger and magic. It’s a medieval fantasy treat for historical readers, fey fans, dragon fans and fantasy lovers. I highly recommend this!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Oppression + Fever + The Prince Who Fell from the Sky!

Hi there! I missed posting last week so this week…I have three awesome books that I’m looking forward to!

Oppression by Jessica Therrien
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Published by: Zova Books

OPPRESSION tells the story of a young woman who discovers that she belongs to a secret society of individuals with extraordinarily long life spans and unusual abilities. Fearful of prophecies about their only daughter, her parents kept her hidden from the world – and the society – for as long as they could. But when their own untimely deaths leave her to fend for herself, the truth of her origins and the fateful prophecy find her at last. Joining the ranks of such widely popular works as the Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games, and the Mortal Instruments series, Mrs. Therrien's paranormal romance/adventure promises to be the next fan-favorite in its genre.

Why I Chose this:

I have this feeling in my gut. I feel that this will be mythologically awesome! I know mythologically is not a word. I just made it up for this occasion. And this is the first book of the series Children of the Gods. I have a feeling that this could be Greek/Roman mythology related.

Fever by Dee Shulman
Publication Date: April 5, 2012
Published by: Puffin Books

A fearless Roman gladiator. A reckless 21st century girl. A mysterious virus unites them . . .

152 AD. Sethos Leontis, a skilled and mesmerising fighter, is unexpectedly wounded and lies dangerously close to death.

2012 AD. Eva is brilliant - but troubled. Starting her new life at a school for the gifted, a single moment in the lab has terrifying results.

An extraordinary link brings Sethos and Eva together, but it could force them apart - because the fever that grips them cannot be cured and falling in love could be lethal . . . Can love survive when worlds collide and threaten time itself?

Why I Chose this:

Time travel! Okay, time travelish. I can’t wait for this one. I can’t imagine a ‘mysterious virus’ connecting the two! How can it be? The concept is…new to me. I’ve never encountered anything related to a virus in time travel books!

The Prince Who Fell from the Sky by John Claude Bemis
Publication Date: May 22, 2012
Published by: Random House

In Casseomae's world, the wolves rule the Forest, and the Forest is everywhere. The animals tell stories of the Skinless Ones, whose cities and roads once covered the earth, but the Skinless disappeared long ago.

Casseomae is content to live alone, apart from the other bears in her tribe, until one of the ancients' sky vehicles crashes to the ground, and from it emerges a Skinless One, a child. Rather than turn him over to the wolves, Casseomae chooses to protect this human cub, to find someplace safe for him to live. But where among the animals will a human child be safe? And is Casseomae threatening the safety of the Forest and all its tribes by protecting him?

Middle-grade fans of postapocalyptic fiction are in for a treat with this fanciful and engaging animal story by the author of the Clockwork Dark trilogy.

Why I Chose this:

Doesn’t it sound so cute and awesome? The story and the world of this novel sound extremely unique. I’ve no doubt that this will be good. I love post-apocalypctic novels and one with animals in them and a world where wolves rule is sure to be boundless in imagination.

What are you waiting for this Wednesday? 

YA Historical Fiction Challenge 2012

And because I’m starting to like Historical Fiction again, I’m signing up for YA Historical Fiction Challenge 2012 hosted by YA Bliss!

I’ll start with Level 1: 5 books, just to be sure. ;)

Here are the books I plan to read:

1.      Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
2.      Wood Angel by Erin Bow
3.      Cascade by Lisa Bergren
4.      Torrent by Lisa Bergren
5.      Fateful by Claudia Gray
6.      Alias Dragonfly by Jane Singer
7.      Entwined by Heather Dixon
8.      Legacy by Cayla Kluver

If you’re interested, here are the rules:
  • All Historical Fiction books must be YA or MG
  • Books don't have to be 2012 releases.
  • Anyone can join. Please link to a public (web) place the host can find you.
  • You can join at anytime. The challenge runs from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012
You can join here.

This is my second challenge for 2012!