Publication date: January 5th, 2012
Published by: Penguin Young Readers Group
Genre: YA Fantasy, Fairies, Dragons
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.
In addition to having an amazing cover, Dragonswood also happens to be an awesome book!
As I skimmed through information about Dragonswood, I found out that it is in fact the second book that takes place in the same world and not the first, which is Dragon's Keep. You don't have to read the first, however, if you want to read Dragonswood, it stands pretty well on its own.
There is a lot going on in Dragonswood. Witches, dragons, fairy kingdoms. There were a number of people who complained that the story was too dense. That, for me, is like saying that tomato soup has too much tomato in it. The genre is fantasy, right? It's in its job description to be dense and has a lot of supernatural elements in it and basically the wilder the author's imagination, the better. There is nothing "not-believable" or "far-fetched" when it comes to fantasy world building and the paranormal element. In a fantasy book, pretty much anything goes.Characters' relationship and everything mortal like is a whole other matter, though. Don't get these two mixed up! Fortunately, Dragonswood didn't have any problem in that arena, either.
I liked all the characters in Dragonswood. Tess is a rebel of sorts. She doesn't want what other girls her age want. She wants to escape her father's tyranny, ride away and never marry. Or rather she would marry if she found a man who would let her speak out of turn, ride, and basically be herself. She finds that man in Garth, even though initially she was really apprehensive when it came to him. What I would have wanted from Dragonswood character-wise, is a clear line between the good and the bad. There is a very mean and cruel character in the book who eventually gets a happy ending and it didn't quite sit well with me.
Overall, Dragonswood is beautifully written (love the medieval-like writing style), and its story wraps up in the end nicely, with no need for book 2,3,4…10. Those who enjoy a good love story wrapped around an epic adventure, you should definitely read Dragonswood!