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.
This book was so freaking great to read! It was also so hard to read, because Tess has had a pretty horrible time in life. An over-religious mom, a dad that just wasn't there, and two sisters who cover all the roles except the problem child. Add in that between the way she was raised and a few mistakes she made (which in no way means that she deserved what happened to her) well, she had this big pit of doom and misery that talked to her in her mom's voice and was overwhelmingly harsh. Not fun!
First off, this is in the same world as Seraphina, and only a few years later after Shadow Scale. So we do have some updates on the royal family, and we also get to see so much more of this world! Like the fact that there's and uncle and grandmother Dombegh. And I'm glad that I read the 2.5 books of the Seraphina series because there's one or two obscure familiar faces!
Tess's story was told in alternating chapters of the present when she's on the road and the adventures she gets into along the way, and the past, telling the story of why it was planned that she was to be sent to a nunnery. Those past parts were the hardest to read, because we know they're a downward spiral, and it'll take a lot of effort to heal.
Some of the adventures that she gets into are pretty benign, like theft and creating a persona and rolling with it. Others, not so much, like the main reason she's going where she's going-the World Serpents. And that one priest guy. He was awful!
One thing about this book, is that there's hardly any dragons, and it's more like everyday life in this world without a war going on. Well, there's some minor political stuff, but nowhere near the scale of Shadow Scale. It's the smaller things, but they're important too.
In the preface, Rachel Hartman writes that this is a duology, even if Goodreads doesn't have it as such yet. I really hope this is true, because Tess is on the verge of a new adventure, and there's so much that could happen, and I just want more of her story!
Yeah, I really enjoyed reading this book, and it was just so fantastic!
Author: Rachel Hartman
Series: Tess of the Road #1
Read: November 22nd, 2018
Reason Why: Love her writing and the first series, and it's a Prequel & Sequel Challenge 2018 Book and a WoW Book!
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Expected Publication: February 27th 2018