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Book Review: Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey

Dragonswood is a fantasy-heavy YA book that mixed fairies and dragons and all sorts of half-breeds.

Book Review: Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey

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dragonswood by janet lee carey

Title & Author: Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey

Genre: YA – Fantasy (Dragons/Fairies)

Release Date: January 5, 2012

Series: Stand-alone

Publisher: Dial

How I Got the Book: Bought


“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. Tess, daughter of a blacksmith, has visions of the future, but she still doesn’t expect to be accused of witchcraft.”

Stop and Go

Dragonswood started off strong – village girl Tess is tried for witchcraft because she was seen sneaking off into Dragonswood, something only “evil” people would do (because that means they’re drawn to dragons and fairies). After being found guilty, she and her friends flee into Dragonswood where more craziness and adventure ensues.

The second half of the book screeches to a halt for about 50-100 pages. All of a sudden, readers are thrown into court intrigue and manipulation tactics. I liked the shift, just not how abruptly it was made. The same happens with the romance, it’s building and developing, but then the couple is separated for so long that I began to lose interest in their relationship all together.

Because the beginning of the Dragonswood sets a fast pace, it’s tough to get through the second half of the book because it seems boring in comparison. I did enjoy seeing the new lands though and learning about Tess’ secret.

Slow and Steady Love

Dragonswood doesn’t fall victim to the dreaded instalove – instead it takes the opposite approach. Super slow and steady. Although the romance was fun to watch grow and change over time, it was a bit slow for my taste (or have I just gotten used to the break-neck speed of instalove?!?). Plus, I never really felt the connection between the characters – it seemed a little one-sided to me.

On the plus side, Dragonswood is true to its name – there are flipping awesome dragons in this book!. Having loved Eragon, I still have a soft spot in my heart for these popular beasts. There were also half-dragon people (royalty), fairies and half-fairies. I thought the creatures included in the book were well-represented and fit within the world Carey created.

One final note: There’s an epilogue in this book, and it’s honestly ridiculous. It goes into so much into the future, providing detail for characters we’re just introduced to and who didn’t interest me at all. It just seemed like a last-ditch effort to tie everything together in the end.


I just wanted more. I liked the adventures and fairies, but it all seem to hobbled together. The stop and go action of the book left me reeling and the romance was a mostly lackluster. Dragonswood disappointed me.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • rebecca edney

    Oh no, I have such high hopes for this one. I do like that you say that it is not an instalove relationship. Thanks for the honest review:)

  • Ems

    Oh dear. I saw this one at B&N a couple weeks ago and bought it. Now I’m a little hesitant! Ah well, I’ll give it a shot anyway. If I don’t love it, I can always give it away or donate it to the library. Dragons are a huge plus for me as well as the no insta-love. We shall see how this turns out.

  • I have to admit, it still seems pretty interesting. I like that the romance falls to the wayside. I’m so tired of romance in YA. That said, a title that disappointed me is MATCHED. I don’t feel bad saying that because she does have a lot of fans; it just wasn’t my thing.

  • Ugh, I was going to say it sounds like a bit of a disappointment, which is really too bad because it looked like it was going to be so good. I does sound like there were some redeeming qualities, and nice that it was not another YA novel full of instalove.

  • Oh great! I was afraid the name would just be that and no dragons. 🙂 So glad to hear they are here too. 🙂 Thank you for the wonderful review.