Honestly, I’m surprised I’m the one doing a review for this book, mostly because it screams “Caitlin”. I mean, it’s fantasy — not high fantasy, but there is a fictional world involved. It just happens to be attached to our historical world. And there’s also magic and dragons and a very strong and opinionated heroine. So I find myself wondering first, why she hasn’t read it yet, and second, why you haven’t read it yet either.

Because you should.

…Have I mentioned there are dragons?

Wilde Island is in an uproar after the recent death of its king. The uneasy pact between dragons, fairies, and humans is fraying, and a bloodthirsty witch hunter with a hidden agenda whips villages into frenzies with wild accusations. Tess, a blacksmith’s daughter from a tiny hamlet near the mysterious Dragonswood, finds herself caught in the crosshairs of fate when she is accused of witchery and has to flee for her life along with her two best friends.

Not even Tess’s power to see the future can help the girls as they set off on their desperate journey, but she keeps having visions of a man wielding a sword. And when she finally meets him, Tess has no idea how to handle the magnetic attraction she feels for him, or the elusive call she hears from the heart of the Dragonswood.

In this epic romance, an ancient prophecy comes true in a way neither dragon, fairy, nor human would have predicted.

First off, you should know, this book is a standalone. Yes! A standalone! With a conclusion and a brief glimpse into the future and the only waiting you have to deal with is the amount of time it takes you to get to the last page. Standalones make me happy. Don’t get me wrong; I love the series books too, but sometimes you want to sit down to read a book and then when it ends, you can think back on it fondly without stressing about what’s going to happen next. You can have that peace of mind with Dragonswood.

Second, the dragons and the fae! Real, fire-breathing, ‘they will kill you if you offend them’ dragons. I loved the dragon parts. Also quite liked the fae parts, as short as they were. Janet portrays the fae the way I’ve always imagined them. They are not to be trifled with and if you get too caught up in them, they’ll steal your life away. Also, never eat or drink anything they offer you. That’s fae-relations 101 right there.

Third, Tess is awesome. The life she had to lead before being accused of witchcraft, the things she does for her friends, the way she stands for them, wary and ready to attack at the first sign of trouble — the girl’s a badass. She’s not afraid to cut you if you deserve it. She’s also not afraid to give her direct and honest opinion to anyone who asks, in an age where obedience in women was expected and if not given, beaten out of them. When she meets ‘the man wielding the sword’, things start to change for her, but she never completely loses her guard or her edge. You forget that she’s just a girl, only 17 years old, and has never been on her own before. She’s making most of this up on the fly. There were times I worried about her, about who she could trust, and what she was doing, but she’s a survivor. She’s a great heroine.

Now I know I was all about the standalone aspect of this book earlier, but I’d love it if Janet carried on in this world, maybe following someone else’s adventure. Say, a second generation book? I don’t often ask for those. I even quit some series when it starts second generation because I just don’t care to continue on when it comes to some people’s kids, so you know it’s a big deal when I do ask for it. There’s a reason for it, though, and I really want to see what comes of that.

Overall, the fantasy and history in this book combine to create a wondrous tale of a girl who finds out she’s more than she thought and her journey to becoming exactly who she needs to be. It reminded me of Anne McCaffrey’s early work, especially when you factor in the dragons. (And if you haven’t read Anne McCaffrey, we can’t be friends until you do. Sorry.)

By the way, DON’T READ THE GOODREADS SUMMARY. It basically spoils everything. Seriously, it’s so much better if you aren’t spoiled going into the book.

Dragonswood is currently out in bookstores, online, or at your local and wonderful library.

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