Dragonswood

( 32 )

Overview

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...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Denise Daley
Young Tess is accused of being a witch and she is tortured in an attempt to get her to confess to her powers. Tess does see visions in the fire, but she is not a witch. In her pain she reveals that she and her friends Meg and Poppy snuck into the dragon's sanctuary known as Dragonswood. Now she and her friends must quickly flee their homes in an effort to escape the irate townsfolk and the evil witch hunter. Their journey is barren, cold, and long. As the group is seeking shelter in a cave, they are discovered by a huntsman named Garth who offers to help them. Tess distrusts Garth but because she and her friends are desperate, she has no option but to accept Garth's assistance. While at the small cabin that Garth provides, Tess has more visions and a strong calling to travel north. She can no longer resist the urge. Will-o-wisps fly Tess towards a castle where she makes some shocking discoveries about her father, herself, and Garth. What's more, Tess plays a critical part in trying to protect Dragonswood and maintain the peaceful coexistence between humans, dragons, and fey folk. This fantasy adventure is extremely fast paced and well-written. Readers will be shocked to discover the true identity of several of the character's and will be surprised by the unsuspecting alliances that they form. Reviewer: Denise Daley
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Set on Wilde Island a generation after Dragon's Keep (Harcourt, 2007), this story continues with a perfectly crafted combination of history, mythology, and fantasy. King Pendragon has died, and while the island waits for his eldest son to return from the Crusades, the power-hungry Lord Sackmore is becoming more and more of a threat to the future king. When Lady Adela, the witch hunter, comes to their little town, Tess and her two friends stand accused. Through their wits and the unexpected assistance of a dragon, they escape and flee into Dragonswood, which, although forbidden, is safer than the certain death they face at home. The tenuous peace among the humans, dragons, and fairies on the island is being threatened, and Tess, Poppy, and Meg seem caught in the middle. Tess has been keeping her fire-sight visions secret and it turns out that she is not the only one with secrets to keep. When one of the king's woodwards takes them in and offers them shelter, Tess cannot deny her feelings for him, even as she fears him and suspects that he has secrets of his own. The political intrigue, mythology of Merlin, and romances that bloom are all uncovered with precise timing and will have readers racing toward the end and then going back to savor the events more slowly. The story is complexly satisfying on its own, but readers will want to go back for Dragon's Keep as well and will look forward to the future of Wilde Island.—Genevieve Gallagher, Charlottesville High School, VA
Kirkus Reviews
A dark fantasy illuminated by piercing flashes of hope builds upon the well-received Dragon's Keep (2007), while standing complete on its own. Tess has known little in her 17 years but brutality, grief and fear: the angry fists of her blacksmith father, the infant graves of her siblings and the ominous prophetic visions she sees in flames. As Wilde Island teeters toward political collapse and a vicious witch-hunter sets her sights on Tess, she and her friends flee into Dragonswood, the forbidden abode of dragons and the fey folk. Even as they find refuge with a secretive woodward, the fairies keep calling to Tess… as if they had a duty only she could fulfill. Despite the romantic cover and lush, poetic prose, this is no adventure for the squeamish. Tess does not shy away from graphic descriptions of beatings, torture and grisly violence--and subtler betrayals, manipulation and callous disregard--that leave her scarred in body and soul. Yet for all her mistrust, self-loathing and cringing expectation of blows, Tess reveals a surprising strength and unflinching loyalty. While she does not extend an unrealistic forgiveness, she finds the courage to work with her abusers towards a greater goal; her tentative, hesitant love for the one person who treats her with kindness and respect is both touching and achingly bittersweet. Painful, cathartic and cautiously hopeful; a fairy tale for those who have given up on believing in them, but still yearn for happily ever after. (Fantasy. 14 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803735040
  • Publisher: Dial
  • Publication date: 1/5/2012
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 252,207
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Janet Lee Carey (www.janetleecarey.com) is the author of several very well received young adult novels, including Dragon’s Keep, the companion novel to DragonswoodDragon’s Keep was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults in 2008 and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year.  Janet lives near Seattle with her husband and three sons where she writes and teaches writing workshops.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 32 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting tale with Dragons and Fairies

    When I read the synopsis for Dragonswood a few months back I really wanted to read this book! I thought fairies, dragons, and humans in a story set in for lack of a better word olden times sounded extremely interesting. Well my friends it was! I really liked this book I’m not going to say love or gush about it though. I didn’t feel a strong connection with Dragonswood like I have with some other books.

    The story was written very well and the details were extremely good I could imagine the spider webs in the trees and see the scales on the dragons. I also found the story to be pretty predictable but that didn’t stop me from reading. I didn’t figure everything out. I really enjoyed the strength of the MC Tess in a world where women were considered second class citizens only worth what their looks could gain their father’s in money or power; she stood out as an individual who wanted her own life her own way. That did get her into trouble but it also made her grow as a person. The love interest known as Garth Huntsman was very charming and sweet I didn’t fall head over heels for him and swoon like I do for the boys in other books. Oh well can’t fall for them all right?

    My absolute favorite part of this story was the dragons! I wish there would have been more parts with them in the book! I loved their wisdom and their humor and how even they liked the humans they still saw them as hairless worms. Lord Kahlil the ancient dragon was definitely my favorite!

    To end I chose a scene that I thought was cute and funny, it’s where Tess is trying to figure out if she can trust Garth Huntsman or not and she has climbed a tree to think.

    “Tess?” Garth’s head was thrown back to peer up at me in the branches.”Why scurry up a tree? The stew will be ready soon. Won’t you come down?”

    I gripped my knife. Why had I trusted him? I knew better than to trust a man. “You’re angry with me.”

    “No, I’m not.”

    “Don’t lie; I know anger when I see it.” He looked so small standing far below. Like a grounded blackbird.

    Seagull trotted up to him and whinnied. Garth patted her neck. “Now see, you have Seagull worried.”

    “Tell her I am happy up here in the tree.”

    “She is happy up there in the tree, Seagull.”

    I smiled a little. “Tell her I am tired of sudden anger, of punching fists, black eyes, cuts, and bruises.”

    “She is tired of sudden anger, fists—“

    “Punching fists,” I corrected.

    “Of punching fists, black eyes, cuts, and bruises.”
    Seagull huffed and nodded. Garth and I laughed.

    “Will you come down now and have some dinner?”

    “You go ahead and eat. You must be famished.” I felt gnawing hunger but would not admit it. The man did not obey. Instead he climbed. My breath caught. What was he doing?

    Garth positioned himself on a thick branch across from me and slightly lower so his head was not quite as high as mine.

    “This is my tree,” I said.

    He poked a pinecone. “So you own it?”

    The rest of this scene had me cracking up!
    Dragonswood is out in stores now so if you want to read a good story with dragons and fairies I suggest you pick it up!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2012

    Loved it

    An easy 5.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2012

    medieval fantasy treat for historical readers, fey fans, dragon fans and fantasy lovers

    4.5 rounded up

    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!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2012

    Dragonswood. Lets see: - It’s from the young adult fa

    Dragonswood. Lets see:

    - It’s from the young adult fantasy genre
    - It can be read as a stand-alone novel

    This was what I was looking for after an exhausting stretch of dystopias and PNRs. But, unfortunately, I couldn’t love Dragonswood completely. It seems I don’t know what I want. This book gave me the crazy awesome of fantasy – like dragons and witch hunts and prisoners in the tower – but the romance aspect was so drab it had me missing the arrogant heroes I normally don’t give the time of day.

    Here comes the smoulder

    The characters had a good rapport with one another, but the actual ‘love’ seemed kind of arbitrary. The scenes with the two love interests weren’t boring, but I didn’t get any sense of heat when they were together, and the resolution to the romance was very rushed. The connection Tess has with Meg and Poppy was one of the most enjoyable aspects, but as the novel progressed and the love interest hit the scene, their particular story arc seemed to fizzle out.

    What I Loved:
    The writing was quite good, and the central storyline was an interesting one. Overall, it was an enjoyable YA fantasy despite my few gripes.

    Also, the author mentions the main character having her period, which I find strangely endearing. I’m always glad when that aspect of being a woman is included – it feels like a slap of reality. YA novels that do mention it are usually from the fantasy/historical genre, or gritty contemporary fiction. I think it’s a bit silly how such a universal recurrence is so absent from teen lit, especially in cases where it would seem logical that the subject would at least cross the character’s mind.

    What Was Lacking:
    There was no explanation of one rather important factor – or if there was an explanation, it has slipped by me. It is a pivotal point that the royal family have dragon blood – suggesting a dragon somewhere in their heritage. I don’t understand how a dragon would make its way into the human gene pool – through mating? It seemed bizarre, like Dragonswood was suddenly being confused with a dragon/human erotica of the same name.
    However, I found out after reading this that there is a companion novel published a few years before, which I haven’t read, and it might have been explained therein. Still, it seems strange not to rehash it clearly in Dragonswood.

    Also, the resolution to the story left a lot to be desired, not in terms of loose ends, but just unsatisfying endings for characters I cared about, and who I thought the heroine cared about too.

    [Spoilers: skip over if you don't want to know some characters' fates
    I was upset that Tess was fairly apathetic towards her mother remaining with her abusive husband and having another child. If you had been beaten so severely by your father that your ear was deafened and permanently deformed, would you resign your mother and brother to a life of the same treatment? I was very let down by the characters self-interest when it came to that particular development.]

    Quote:
    “Even from behind, I knew the seated man was Garth. I'd seen him in chair, saddle, and by a campfire. I'd known him running with his hounds, grooming his horses, leaning back to look at the stars from the branches of a pine tree, hunched with concentration whittling a doll, carrying Alice through a storm, and even sparring with a dragon. A woman will know a man from all sides after that.”

    I won’t say don’t read this, but I will say that if you are a bit pickier with your fantasy you might prefer to wait for Seraphina in July 2012. Rachel Hartman takes similar ideas and just knocks it right out of the park.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    religious-wood

    Though not preachy, has a lot of references to God. And not like fairytale Gods & Goddesses; the Christian God (she mentions the Virgin Mary). Not that I'm against it but it gets in the way of the story. I'd categorize this novel more under young teens than young adult because of the maturity of the writing and content.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2012

    Dragonswood

    I really liked this book. It was a little predictable in that she lists all she wants in a guy, and, shockingly, she finds a guy like that, but I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It has just the right amount of adventure.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    4.5 STARS

    4.5 STARS
    Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey is a wondrously compelling and enchanted tale of magical realms, dragons, and life's unforeseen destiny. A journey (through pages) I did not regret!
    I was taken aback when I realized that Dragonswood was written in a medieval/historical scene. I'm so use to reading the paranormal, urban fantasy and dystopian genres that are coming out these days that it was kind of nice to take a break. It usually takes a lot of convincing for me to enjoy fantasy/medieval era books, but I can say that this read was quite pleasant. I enjoyed connecting with Tess, trying to understand how hard it was in those times - to step out of the roles of a 'women'. Tess is a very likable character and impulsively voices out her opinions, but later paying for doing so with cuts and bruises. She is forced to do what is expected of her. And when a woman is seen to WANT or TRY to be an individual she is titled a witch and is sent to burn at the stake. The story can be predictable at times but the adventure was still entertaining. There wasn't really that much romance going on, which again was okay for me because I needed a break from the lovey dovey. The characters are well developed even the minor ones. I really liked how Janet wrote a tale that mingles human and fey with human and dragon - it's very creative! I kept thinking about The Season of The Witch mixed with Dragon Heart with a dash of classic fairy-tales. It's kind of hard to describe - Dragonswood is a great whimsical sit down and chill, perfect for a rainy day kind of read! *ready the popcorn*
    The ending is adorable! It sounds like there will be a sequel, and that there will be more action. I'll be looking forward to seeing more of Jackrun!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 15, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I really liked it. I would defiantly recommend it for anyone who loves Dragons, fairies, humans, romance, princes, fantasy and mystery¿ And it's ALL IN ONE!!!!

    Ok so i really liked this book. It was not what I was expecting but I got a lot more out of it then what I thought I might. It's a very appealing blend of fantasy and history, very rich in the fantasy part ;) There is some romance in it but you really don't see it coming until you are both farther in the book and kinda figure it out, but the way the relationship plays out between Tess and the huntsmen is carefully played and heart rendering :D And a lot more twist and turns then i thought! But they where one that you didn't see coming… Which is great :D Anyway great book I would defiantly recommend it for anyone who loves Dragons, fairies, humans, romance, princes, fantasy and mystery… And it's ALL IN ONE!!!! <3 <3

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  • Posted May 3, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    You will scream, cry, swoon, rub your eyes raw from the lack of

    You will scream, cry, swoon, rub your eyes raw from the lack of sleep and curse throughout this book. And you will never regret reading it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2012

    Wonderful!

    I've read many books this summer, but this book would have to be the best. You can tell the author of this book is very talented. She came up with a storyline from one of the best legends around, fairies and dragons. The author gave us amble detail with each passing scene. You can tell a good book when you can't put it down, and this book falls into that category. I recommened this book to anyone of this fairies or dragons or even magic for that matter.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2012

    Anonymous

    Totally amazing , five stars!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2012

    Love this book!!

    When i first got this book i didn't thing it had any thing to do with one of the other book that janet wrote so while i was reading it i kept finding similarities between the books. I love tess and here want for something more than a blacksmith's daugter's life and i also love how each dragon had clearly diffined attitudes. You should definatly read this book

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  • Posted June 20, 2012

    A riveting read! Tess is a blacksmith's daughter and all she's k

    A riveting read!
    Tess is a blacksmith's daughter and all she's known is her father's rages and abuse. Her mother loves her but fails to protect. When she is falsely accused of being a witch and incriminates her friends under torture, Tess flees. She warns her friends but her betrayal has changed all of their lives and they are forced to run with her.

    They find protection in Dragonswood the sanctuary set aside for Fey and Dragon. A place she's always been drawn to. A Woodsman, Garth, is charged with keeping the Sanctuary safe from human trespass. He takes them in and keeps them from the witch hunters.

    Together Tess and Garth try to right the wrongs done by her forced confession and to save the kingdom and sanctuary from destruction. In this journey Tess finds more about herself and a hope of things she never dared to think of before.

    This story has lost princes, dragons, and Fey. It is about friendship, self-worth, strength and love. I adored Tess- and cheered for her. The Author wrote the heroine in terms I could understand--even when Tess had to face her tortuerer again--I identified with the emotions so deeply imbedded and found it the most realistic I've ever read. There was no benign forgiveness of something so horrifically done to her--but a guarded anger and distrust--and a resolution to do what must be done to save those she loved.

    I look for books like this! This is one Author I am putting on my &quot;To Be Read&quot; anytime I see a book. Thank you for this story. I have to admit, I didn't realize this was part of series. I just bought the first one after reading this. I am looking forward to it. (This book, Dragonswood is a stand alone, it doesn't rely on the first book).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2012

    Surprisingly Good

    I actually liked this better than Dragon's Keep to tell the honest truth. I felt she dived into her new set of characters more than last time. I also liked how Tess took control and responsibility.

    There were parts that were very witty and made me laugh. Tess, overall, was a great character. Sure there were parts where you might be a little frustrated with her, but she really was a great character.

    You don't really have to read Dragon's Keep to fully understand this one, but you probably should, it would make the story a bit more enjoyable.

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    Posted January 21, 2012

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