Title: Tess of the Road
By: Rachel Hartman
Publication: February 27th 2018
By: Random House Books for Young Readers
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.
I want to thank Netgalley and Random House Children’s for providing me with this copy in exchange for an honest review
My expectations were quite high with this one, I think that actually sounds much better than it really is
This is a book that takes place in the same world as in Serafina, personally I haven’t read that book, but I think that if you have read it, you may enjoy more aspects of Tess of the Road
Tess is a very particular girl, in Goredd women must be ladies and men must perform the function of taking care of women, but Tess has other plans for her, she has always been rebel since she was little, always looking for adventures and getting into trouble. Until one day her parents decide to send her to a nunnery to correct her behavior for which she decides to escape pretending to be a boy, along the way she’ll meet a faithful friend, a dragon who will protect her in this adventure. But soon Tessa will realize that the past is a heavy burden to bear.
One of the things I enjoyed the most was the author’s writing style, I read that it has been one of the weak points for alot of people, but not for me. I feel that it’s obvious that she knows how to write in a very beautiful and lyrical way and although I really liked this aspect, it hasn’t been enough
I think that this book really doesn’t have a solid plot, the idea of reading about a character like Tess was unique to me because of the fact that I think she’s a character that is obviously very ahead of her time, she has very strong feminist thoughts and It doesn’t pigeonhole people according to their sex, which is brilliant for a character from the medieval era. Returning to the plot itself, I think the book has several moments where it seems that finally the plot reached its most important point but that actually never happens. It has brief moments where there is action but they’re cut very abruptly, which has prevented me from enjoying them 100%. Anyway, this is something very personal, maybe you enjoy this particular aspect, but I prefer when the plot is more solid and really is directed to something in particular.
The idea of the dragon is another of the things for which I wanted to read this book but it hasn’t been entirely convincing, I think that it lacks more development to this character and the promise has fallen short
I mentioned in my Goodreads Update that although the book is indicated as YA I have found that it leans more for the genre of MG, even though the ages of the characters are classic from YA, their behavior and the way in which the book is handle It seem pretty much MG.
Centralizing in Tess for a moment, I want to mention that although she’s a character who obviously has noble intentions, I think she has never fully matured. There are many moments where she simply ruins things for the other characters but never ends up recognizing that it was her fault, there are also moments where her rebel spirit reaches the limit turning into stupid, this makes me feel annoyed with her on several occasions. You know how important it’s for me the construction and development of the characters and I haven’t felt particularly atached with Tess, this obviously influences my rating a lot. So in summary I warn you about Tess I think she’s not an easy character to love
Sadly I’ve seen many people DNF this book, which is a shame, but in some way I get it, it’s built in a very messy way and I think it’s honestly too long when there is not much happening really