Mundie Moms

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

TESS OF THE ROAD by Rachel Hartman / Book Review

By: Rachel Hartman
Published by: Random House
Released on: February 27th, 2018
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 2 stars- not my cup of tea
Thank you to PRH for sending a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can't make a scene at your sister's wedding and break a relative's nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.

Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it's a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl--a subspecies of dragon--who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she's tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.

Check out that cover! I don't know what it is about this cover that I love. Maybe it's the lone girl, and the dragon. Or maybe it has to do with the images within the dragon that I love. There's definitely some symbolism from the story on this cover. Unfortunately for me, the cover is the best part of this book. 

This book was not the light, entertaining read I thought it would be. Instead it's a book that has a lot of dark martial, and felt emotionally heavy. It's a story that  is heavily weighted down by all that Tessa has experienced in her life. I definitely was not prepared to be immersed into this dark book. Had I been a little bit more prepared, I think I would have liked it a little bit more than I did. 

Having said that, there's no denying that Hartman can craft an intriguing fantasy world. What first drew me to her Seraphina series are the dragons and how well crafted the series world building is. I like the series. I like the complexity of the world building. I was looking forward to reading a new story set in a world I've come to love. Unlike that series characters, I wasn't a huge fan of Tess.

Tess was a very hard character for me to feel any sort of connection to. I appreciated that Tess isn't a fragile, perfect character. She is flawed. She deals with some horrible situations, but she is a fighter, and she keeps going. I admired her not giving up. She is a victim of a lot of wrong doings. Many are of her own fault, but some are at the hands of others. Those situations were hard to read about. Her journey had to do with her healing, and re-discovering who she is. 

The biggest complaint for me in not liking this book, was how this book and Tess were written. For a book that's over 500 pages, there was way too much 'telling' vs 'showing'. Telling readers what's happening, vs showing them, at least for me, makes it incredibly hard to really connect with the story or it's characters. I am a reader who needs some sort of character and story connection, especially when reading bigger books like this. I felt like I was kept from really getting into the story, and really feeling like I could connect to Tess, like I wanted. This is the kind of book that needed more showing vs telling, in order for me to like it as much as I had excepted to. 

Despite my love of fantasy and dragons, this book unfortunately was not my cup of tea. As I mentioned above, there is a lot of dark martial in this book that I wasn't prepared for, nor was Tess the relatable character I thought she would be. This book is definitely darker than the other books in the Seraphina series. I would definitely recommend checking those books out. 

* There is some strong sexual content in this book; including past sexual trauma and a brief description of rape. 

1 comment:

  1. Aaack, I am so sorry that you did not love this book sweetie :( Feeling so sad about it, haha. <3 I loved it so so much. Maybe because I re-read the Seraphina books right before this one? I'm not sure. But I loved Tess so much. She was a stunning girl and her past killed me. Ahh. I loved the writing. Ack. But I totally understand all of the reasons you had for not liking it too. <3 Hugs. Just wish you had loved it too, hih :) But your review is gorgeous sweetie. <3 And I do love that we can have so different opinions :D