The Dragonswood is off-limits, but Tess, who sees visions in firelight, is inexorably drawn there. Wrongly accused as witches, she and two friends escape into the forbidden heart of Wilde Island. There, Tess meets an intriguing huntsman named Garth and discovers she is destined to be more than a blacksmith’s daughter. In a nod to Robin Hood, the island’s rightful heir is off fighting in the Crusades, while a regent is doing his best to take over the throne. Humans, fairies, and dragons coexist in the lush setting (first introduced in Dragon’s Keep, 2007), which is so well drawn it practically serves as another character. As Franny Billingsley did in Chime (2011), Carey uses gorgeous, lyrical prose to illustrate a world of authentic period detail combined with fantastical elements. Although the supporting characters, especially the dragons, are well drawn, a first-person point of view keeps the focus squarely on Tess and her journey. This novel, a cross between fantasy and historical fiction, also has a touch of romance and will likely appeal to fans of many genres. Grades 8-12. --Charli Osborne
"Painful, cathartic and cautiously hopeful; a fairy tale for those who have given up on believing in them, but still yearn for happily ever after."
(Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
"A perfectly crafted combination of history, mythology, and fantasy...The political intrigue, mythology of Merlin, and romances that bloom are all uncovered with precise timing and will have readers racing toward the end and then going back to savor the events more slowly."
(School Library Journal (starred review))