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review 2018-03-15 17:43
No dragons despite cover.
Tess of the Road - Rachel Hartman

I got this book off of Netgalley as an eARC.

I have mixed feelings about this book.
It has a strong female protagonist as does Seraphina, however it has the whole rape backstory, which sucks.
So the whole premise is that Tess needs to get away from her mother as she's pretty much abusive and hates Tess for being raped and getting pregnant as the religion of her mom is St. Vitt which is an analog of Christianity.
Tess then gets the opportunity to run away from home and meets up with Pathka, her childhood quigtl friend.
We then find out that quigtl can change their sex so Pathka is now male instead of the female quigtl that Tess knew. This is important as quigtl have the gender neutral pronoun 'ko' which never gets used when talking about Pathka. This really bothered me because there is a correct pronoun and it's not being used.
There's also a homeless man that Tess is horribly cruel to, just so she can have a moment of redemption getting help for him.
After she meets Pathka then the whole book is about her going after ko goal of Anathuthia. After thus it's pretty much set in arcs of what happens. She gets to a place then thing happens, gets to another place and another thing happens. That may or may not be your thing, but to me it felt like it was padding.
Overall it felt as if there was a hatred of women as it was women that seemed to be the ones hurting Tess, even inadvertently, to where she'd run to the arms of a man to seek consoling. This is kind of painful to see for a book that wants strong women. They just don't seem to support each other as much as I'd like to see.

Overall it's not a bad book, but I really wish it wouldn't have done a lot of things it did.

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review 2018-01-21 18:50
Tess of the Road
Tess of the Road - Rachel Hartman

Tess of the Road

 

Rachel Hartman, 2018

 

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.

 

Disclaimer 1: This book is a spin-off of Hartman's Seraphina series... which I have not read. I think that reading Seraphina and Shadow Scale would probably be beneficial to do before reading this book, but mostly for world-building purposes. It is, however, not completely necessary - there is nothing in this book that failed to make sense and the world was easy enough to pick up after a few chapters.

 

Disclaimer 2: I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from NetGalley. I would like to thank the publisher for the opportunity to read this book. The expected publication date for Tess of the Road is February 27, 2018.

 

Disclaimer 3: I have seen some reviewers who were disappointed because they went into this book expecting to read about dragons. If you are looking for a book about dragons, this is not that book. Dragons are peripheral to the plot, but feature very little. I understand that the Seraphina books involve dragons much more heavily, however.

 

Okay, with those disclaimers out of the way, on to my review. 

 

I wasn't really sure what to expect with this book. It sounded interesting to me, so I requested a copy and started to read. Once I was a few pages in, however, I realized that I had missed the fact that this was a spin-off book. Oops. But I kept reading, and I'm glad I did. While there were details glossed over in the first few chapters that I wish I knew more about - Why was Tess seen as such a screw-up? There are half-dragons? And are all half-dragons Saints? What the heck is a quigutl? - I found that as I read most of those details didn't matter to the story (and the ones that did were explained as it went on). 

 

This is a hard book to qualify for me. It's a fantasy, but aside from the quigutl (which, by the way, is a sort of large chameleon-looking sentient animal with its own language that is really good at working with tools), we didn't encounter a whole lot of fantastical elements. (Well, there was one other, but it's a spoiler). It's honestly much more of a coming-of-age novel, where the main character starts out on a journey and encounters different people along the way and finds herself. Which is not a bad thing. But if you're expecting a high-action fantasy novel, you'll probably be disappointed. 

 

Really, I hope that this book is marketed well, but I fear that it won't be. My fear is that it will be marketed as an epic fantasy instead of a coming-of-age novel, and that does this novel a disservice. Because it's a really good young adult novel, and I think that a lot of different readers - not just fantasy readers - will like it. It had a great female protagonist with a lot of flaws who I think teenage girls could really like. I love that the author decided, after writing the Seraphina books, that she wanted to explore Tess a little more. I think she did a great job of fleshing out a character that you don't see a lot in this type of story.

 

Overall, I thought this was a well-written, interesting story. There's not a lot of action and a surprisingly little amount of fantasy elements for a fantasy novel, but it's a well-told story and I found Tess to be likable despite her flaws (and sometimes because of them). There is a little adult content in this book, so I can't recommend it to the younger crowd, but I definitely recommend it to young women who like a good story and who won't be put off by a slower pace and a slightly confusing fantasy world. 

 

[I also plan to read the Seraphina books at some point, so I'll be curious to see how this world is first introduced there.]

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text 2017-12-06 10:33
Reading progress update: I've read 45%.
Tess of the Road - Rachel Hartman

More on the road and more backstory.

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text 2017-11-18 16:17
Reading progress update: I've read 34%.
Tess of the Road - Rachel Hartman

So we get a lot of backstory about Pathka and the Quigtl which is nice to have and bit more about Tess's childhood.

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text 2016-11-06 12:11
My October 2016
Serafina: Das K├Ânigreich der Drachen - Rachel Hartman,Petra Koob-Pawis
Das Bildnis des Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
Throne of Glass 2 - Kriegerin im Schatten: Roman - Sarah J. Maas,Ilse Layer
Serafina: Das Königreich der Drachen - 5 stars
Das Bildnis des Dorian Gray - 3.5 stars
Throne of Glass 2 - Kriegerin im Schatten - 5 stars

 

Favorite book(s) of the month: Serafina, Throne of Glass 2 - Kriegerin im Schatten

 

Books started this month but haven't finished yet: Stopping the Noise in Your Head, Shopaholic, Alice hinter den Spiegeln, Here I am, Mister Lugosi und die verschwundenen Kinder, The Fearless Travelers' Guide to Wicked Places

 

Oh well, reading wise the last month really sucked. But oh well, I had a lot of soul searching and future planning to do (and that sucked even more). October is also the month that my knitting obsession started. I'm the proud owner of two loops and a regular scarf (this is going to be a present, tho) now and I'm currently working on the third loop, this one is also going to be a present. I swear to god, if the winter isn't really cold this year, I'm gonna stab someone with my knitting needles. Kidding. I think.

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