By: Janet Lee Carey
Release Date: January 5, 2012
Wilde Island is not at peace. The kingdom mourns the dead Pendragon king and awaits the return of his heir; the uneasy pact between dragons, fairies, and humans is strained; and the regent is funding a bloodthirsty witch hunt, hoping to rid the island of half-fey maidens.
Tess, daughter of a blacksmith, has visions of the future, but she still doesn't expect to be accused of witchcraft, forced to flee with her two best friends, or offered shelter by the handsome and enigmatic Garth Huntsman, a warden for Dragonswood. But Garth is the younger prince in disguise and Tess soon learns that her true father was fey, making them the center of an exciting, romantic adventure, and an ancient prophecy that will bring about peace between all three races - dragon, human, and fairy. (from goodreads.com)
Let's just start by saying that this is a really fun read. The book started with a few really short scenes, just a paragraph or two each, that highlighted a few key moments in Tess's life. From those passages you knew everything you needed to about Tess, who she is, why she acts the way she does and it allows you to understand all the decisions she makes as we get into the meat of the story. It was a simple but really effective way to start the story. From there the book is broken into three section that break up the major parts of the journey Tess takes throughout the story.
I love fantasy stories and this was a great one. It has all of the things I really loved about fantasy stories as a kid, witches, dragons, faeries, magic and royalty vying for power. It all fit together seamlessly in this story- it was explained early how the world was set up and from there every interaction made sense. You never thought to yourself "Wait, there's fairy here? How'd that happen" or "Why would Dragons be talking to them?" etc, because it was all laid out from the word go. It made it a very easy read, which is sometimes a problem with made up worlds, and that ease made the book infinitely more enjoyable!
Tess is an awesome main character. She has everything I like in a girl. She's strong and independent and doesn't need anyone to help her (most of the time). She's also extremely loyal to her friends and it's that loyalty that initially gets them all in trouble, but in the end helps them all make it through. Garth is also a great character, he's not always what he seems but you can still tell that he's a stand up guy, even if he is keeping secrets. I do wish the summary hadn't given his true identity away, because I think I would have enjoyed the slow reveal off who he truly was more then reading the book with his real identity already in my mind. It didn't completely ruin their relationship, but it certainly dampened it quite a bit. That said, they do have a great relationship and I enjoyed their constant back and forth as they both struggled with whether or not to trust the other. I also like that this book was not all about the love story. I like a good love story as much as the next guy, but I really appreciate when a book is driven by the story and conflict and the love builds as a reaction to those events.
This was a quick, fun read that anyone who likes fantasy would enjoy. This is the second book in a series of stories, the first being Dragon's Keep, but I don't think that you have to necessarily read them in order. I didn't realize there was an earlier book in the series and I didn't feel like I missed out on anything. Carey does a great job setting the story up, so I was able to understand who everyone was and their relationships really easily. That said, I've already put a hold on Dragon's Keep at my library- I can't wait to read more about Wilde Island and all the people who live there!
Check out this great book trailer!