Tess Of The Road left me uncertain about how I would review it and uncertain if I liked it. I had to spend a little time digesting my feelings before diving into the review.
I will start with a few disclaimers:
- I did not read the prior books so the world and characters were new to me.
- The book was not what I was expecting.
- I received an advanced reader copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
- The end of this review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.
What I loved about this book:
* Fantasy rich. This book really took me to fantasy place, planted me among dragons and took me under the earth with serpents I didn’t fully understand.
* Excellent sibling elements. I loved the evolving relationship between Tess, her twin, and Serafina. It was emotional, real and heartbreaking to follow at times.
* Emotion packed. There are some very hard painful things that Tess has to come to deal with. If you stick with her to the end your heart will be full of emotion and understanding.
* I enjoyed watching Tess grow and find her way.
*I found her relationship with the creatures interesting.
What I didn’t love about this book:
I won’t say I hated these things but they bothered me enough to mention them. At times, I considered not finishing this book for these reasons and it was why I was torn about how high or low to rate this book.
* Tess is unloveable and annoying at times. I cared enough about her that I stuck it out and I am glad I did.but there were moments of doubt.
* I didn’t fully connect with all of her physical journey and some elements of the fantasy confused me.
* There were a lot of characters introduced in her journey. They ranged from mildly entertaining to boring.
* I REALLY REALLY disliked Tess’s mother, and father and her brothers.
Spoiler Alert & Why I Rated this book 4 stars even though I was tempted to stop reading:
Next up, I am going to talk about a part of the book that is a spoiler. I will try not to give it all away but this is your chance to stop reading if you don’t like spoilers. I normally do not include them in reviews but for this one, I must. Why? This is something that redeemed the book and is the reason I gave it four stars. It is the main reason I am glad I stuck with the book through the parts that did not work for me.
Tess has experienced an intimate trauma and she hasn’t accepted the trauma for what it was. The book hints at it and shares it in small bites that eventually lead up the revelation of the root of her pain to the reader and to herself. I confess I cried along with her as she dealt with her past and began moving past it.
This book had an emotional impact on me because of this. Tess dealing with her past connected the story from beginning to end. I felt like all the layers of this story came together perfectly when I finally grasped the root of what happened to Tess.
Who Should Read This Book:
Overall, this book is not for everyone but it is the perfect book for those who have deep wounds or enjoy characters who struggle with deep wounds. Readers who love fantasy worlds, dragons, and characters on a journey. If you enjoyed the prior books by Rachel Hartman you might enjoy this one as well. This is a great read for those who relate to not so perfect families and are willing to stick with Tess on this rather long journey.