Friday, December 15, 2017

Review: Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Feeling thrilled to say that I loved this book so very much. I have been waiting years to read this story. And I finally had the chance to do so now. It did not disappoint. I have so much to share about this book. I don't know how I will get to it all. But I will try my best. This book was pretty much amazing. But also very heartbreaking.

Which makes me feel the need to mention that this book is full of subjects that can be hard to read about. Tess has been through a lot. And it's mentioned often. It's so heartbreaking and cruel, yet I handled it pretty well. I loved reading her story. But yes. It is very sad. And full of details at times. But also very, very worth reading.

I am giving this precious book five stars. Because I loved it like crazy. Tess of the Road is a companion book to Seraphina and Shadow Scale. Set in the same world, around five years after the end of the second book. And it's written from the point of view of Tess, whom is the human half-sister of Seraphina. I also need to mention that despite the very stunning dragon on the cover of this book, this story is not about dragons. Although there are dragons in this world, they are not really included in this book. And I didn't mind that at all. I would call this a soft-fantasy novel, if that's a thing. It focus almost entirely on Tess and her journey to kind of find herself. Still fantasy, but not that much of it. I did not mind, though. Because I loved Tess like crazy. I loved her story.

This book tells the story about Tess. She is sixteen years old for most of the book, though a lot of it focus on her past as well, with some flashbacks telling what she was up to as a child and such. And all of those scenes were wonderful to read about. I mean, some of them just about killed me with heartbreak, but they were written excellently. At first, Tess is very much an awful person. She gets drunk every day, she lashes out in anger towards everyone. But she has her reasons for this. And those reasons are good. And rude.

The way Tess was in the beginning of this book was a bit hard to read about. She was so broken. And she had such angry thoughts at times too, towards her family especially. I can't help but say that I really didn't like the way she saw Seraphina. Hmph. As she wasn't like that at all in her own books. But I guess that is how a siblings views someone, lol. And oh, their poor father. My heart is aching for him. But gosh, Tess's mother. I cannot with this woman. She deserves death. Cannot help but say so. She was horrible.

There is so much I wish to share about this book, and I'm probably going to share a bit too much, but not many spoilers. Just details that I wish to talk about. Like Tess and her family. She has a twin sister, whom I cannot decide how I felt about. She was kind and sweet at times, yet pretty blind too. And just not kind enough, not the way Tess needed her. And their mother. It kills me, how she made Tess be as broken as she was. And their father. Sigh. He simply was not there. I liked the glimpse of her grandmother, though.

Not going to talk much about the plot of this story, or what happens to make it so. Just a little bit. Tess and her family has been going through some hard years, because the truth of her dad and his earlier dragon relationship came out. Because of this, Tess has had to work hard for her or for her sister to marry well, to save their family. Tess ended up broken because of something to do with this. Her sister ends up married, and probably happy with that. And then Tess ended up running away after her sister's wedding, all alone.

This book is about Tess being on the road. Running from her family, running from her past life. She is pretty awful at the beginning of the book, yet I could always see her heart, and she wasn't that bad. But she changes a lot on this journey. It takes about a year, and so much happens in between. She meets a lot of people, and I loved that a lot. Always interesting and exciting. And there is so much to learn about Tess too. Getting to know her past, piece by piece, it just about killed me. Was so good, but so sad too.

I am not going to say what has happened to her. But know that it was bad. And it was not just one thing. There was a bunch of things. And I can't believe how strong Tess is, to manage to bear it all. Yeah, she handles it badly at times, but she's still so strong and so fierce. I loved her the most. She also travels with a childhood friend, Pathka, whom is a quigutl. I would describe him as a mix between animal and dragon. They are human sized, I think, and pretty ugly. But Tess understands his language, and he is her friend.

I'm not going to mention too much about everything that happens. As I don't have the words to describe everything, and I have already written way more than I should have, haha. But yeah. I loved this book a lot. And I enjoyed reading about Pathka too, though I must admit that he was all kinds of disgusting and awful at times. Yet a good friend most of the time, and fun to read about too. Though he was a horrible mother, just saying. But still. This book was full of interesting and awesome characters to get to know.

I almost forgot to mention something about this book that was very important. Glad that I remembered it just in time. These books is part history too, seems like they are set very far in the past. While this wasn't such a big thing in Seraphina, it was a huge deal in this book, and in the world of Tess. There is a lot of focus on women having to marry, being virgins, and such. It was pretty heartbreaking to read about, and some of it made me so angry too. But it was all very fascinating to read about as well. I enjoyed all of it.

I cannot help but mention that there are small parts of Seraphina in this book too. Not her point of view, sadly, but there are views of her. And I got to know a bunch of things that have happened with her, and I am beyond happy with it all. Eee. I mean, I want more, much more, of course. But so happy with these small things. A little bit confused about some of it, but it was amazing to get to know more details about Seraphina and her life. It made my heart so happy. Hoping that she will be a little bit in book two as well.

There is not a lot of romance in this book. And there is an important reason for that. And so I did not mind at all. Though there are much more hints of it near the end of the book, and oh, I really do ship Tess with this person. Yet I cannot help but feel like it will not happen by the end of this duology. Hmph. How rude. But either way, I'm super excited to know for sure how this series will end. I adore Tess. And cannot wait to read how her story ends. I'm sure it is going to be all kinds of epic and amazing. I am so excited for it.

I really think you should all read this book. Tess of the Road was everything I was hoping it would be and more. I loved every moment of this stunning book. Reading about Tess, learning her story, all of it was so incredible. I can't wait for the second and final book. I need to know more about this precious girl. Though I fear it might kill me a bit too. And I can't wait for it. This isn't a usual fantasy book, and I didn't mind that one bit. I'm hoping you will all give it a chance. Because it was truly wonderful. I loved this book so much.


  1. Glad to hear you enjoyed it in spite of the story being heartbreaking at times. I hope the romance happens in the next book! Wonderful review, Carina! :)

  2. Wonderful that you enjoyed this book so much. Great review!


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