Tess of the Road

Tess of the Road

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, Te...

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Title:Tess of the Road
Author:Rachel Hartman
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Tess of the Road Reviews

  • E.K. Johnston

    YOU GUYS.

    What Hartman did here is something I have been wanting the fantasy genre to do FOR A WHILE NOW in that Tess is, in response to her direct situation, "unlikeable" and "unsympathetic" and therefore AMAZING. She's ungraceful, uncooperative, and unrepentant. I love her so much I might burst. It's all "Come for the fantasy quest adventure STAY FOR THE DISSECTION OF RAPE CULTRE" and it's absolutely on point throughout.

    One of the hallmarks of Hartman's work is her ability to kill your heart wi

    YOU GUYS.

    What Hartman did here is something I have been wanting the fantasy genre to do FOR A WHILE NOW in that Tess is, in response to her direct situation, "unlikeable" and "unsympathetic" and therefore AMAZING. She's ungraceful, uncooperative, and unrepentant. I love her so much I might burst. It's all "Come for the fantasy quest adventure STAY FOR THE DISSECTION OF RAPE CULTRE" and it's absolutely on point throughout.

    One of the hallmarks of Hartman's work is her ability to kill your heart with grammar. She did it in Shadow Scale, and she did it again

    in TotR. I JUST. I JUST. IT'S SO GOOD.

    SO ANYWAY. The pub date is a while off, but this book is worth the wait. And we've been waiting for a long time.

  • Tatiana

    A story after my own heart.

    Much less of a fantasy than it is a journey of self-discovery. Slow going? Maybe. But I didn't expect or want high-octane action, blood and romances. There is a million of those kind of fantasies already in the world.

    Instead, "Tess of the Road" is a careful, loving, empathetic, compassionate exploration of what it is to be a "bad" young woman, to make mistakes and meet your parents' worst expectations, to be confined and suffocated by social norms and religion. It's a

    A story after my own heart.

    Much less of a fantasy than it is a journey of self-discovery. Slow going? Maybe. But I didn't expect or want high-octane action, blood and romances. There is a million of those kind of fantasies already in the world.

    Instead, "Tess of the Road" is a careful, loving, empathetic, compassionate exploration of what it is to be a "bad" young woman, to make mistakes and meet your parents' worst expectations, to be confined and suffocated by social norms and religion. It's a tale of forgiveness, redemption and asserting and believing in your own best self.

    P.S. If it doesn't sound like your kind of fantasy, it probably isn't. The negative reviews are not exactly wrong. They just reflect different expectations from the genre.

  • Emily May

    4 1/2 stars.

    is a great example of how being “slow” and being “compelling” are not mutually exclusive. I was utterly sucked into this book, but be warned: the pacing is definitely languid.

    . It's slow. It's about people, relationships and a young woman's life. The magic is limited and if you took out the few fantastical elements - namely, the dragons and quigutl - then this could easily be Contemporary or Historical Fiction. But it doe

    4 1/2 stars.

    is a great example of how being “slow” and being “compelling” are not mutually exclusive. I was utterly sucked into this book, but be warned: the pacing is definitely languid.

    . It's slow. It's about people, relationships and a young woman's life. The magic is limited and if you took out the few fantastical elements - namely, the dragons and quigutl - then this could easily be Contemporary or Historical Fiction. But it doesn't suffer for it, in my opinion.

    I guess it depends what you like. One of my favourite fantasy series is Megan Whalen Turner's

    , which also focuses heavily on character dynamics. And, truth be told, I am so burned out on the same magic systems reworded to sound somewhat new, the same throne struggles, the same stock characters and romances. I felt like this was something fresh and new--

    .

    This book follows Tess's journey in alternating past and present narratives. Hartman uses a fantasy setting to explore issues of consent and ideas about womanhood, virginity and religion. Tess, always the rebellious one, breaks away from the path her family have chosen for her and seeks other options out on the road in this world of misogyny and devout faith. Her relationships with her twin sister, her mother (whose voice of judgment rings constantly in Tess’s head) Seraphina and Pathka, as well as others, are complex and are developed gradually over the course of the novel.

    And Tess. Oh, Tess. She is messed up and has something of a drinking problem. She pushes people away and, at times, actively screws up her own chances of happiness. But, so help me,

    . Her growth from a young girl into a woman - making mistakes, being selfish, etc. - feels so realistic and organic. This is not a book of mystery - honestly, most readers will guess the truth of Tess’s traumatic past - but I still sat rapt in horrified anticipation of what I knew must be coming.

    (uncomplicated strong heroine, blandly gorgeous love interest, fight to reclaim throne, some magic blah blah) which is probably why it won’t join the other trope-wielders on the bestseller list. But it was a breath of fresh air to me. Plus, the few fantasy elements it does include seemed new and exciting, such as the quigutl and their use of the ungendered pronoun "ko".

    There are different kinds of great writers. There are those who know how to craft a perfect sentence, enchant with it, capture with words something that the reader will place in a colourful graphic and share all over Pinterest. Then there are the storytellers. They are not so readily quotable— their strength not in an individual sentence but in the slow build, through paragraphs and chapters, of a complex story and characters. I think this book demonstrates the latter.

    If you enjoy this kind of slow-burn, complex fantasy, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Though this is set in the same universe as Hartman's previous books, I didn't finish

    and never read

    , so I would say it is perfectly fine to jump in right here.

    TW:

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  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    I loved the hell out of this book!!

    Some will love it and some will hate it. I could give a damn because I love it.

    This is what "They" call a character driven book. This book is about Tess and her journey. And she has some delightful friends along the way.

    This is the first book I have read from the author. Yeah, I know this is the same world as Seraphina and I might read that duology one day. And yes, there are some things with Seraphina in it but I don't give a rats @ss. This is Tess story, t

    I loved the hell out of this book!!

    Some will love it and some will hate it. I could give a damn because I love it.

    This is what "They" call a character driven book. This book is about Tess and her journey. And she has some delightful friends along the way.

    This is the first book I have read from the author. Yeah, I know this is the same world as Seraphina and I might read that duology one day. And yes, there are some things with Seraphina in it but I don't give a rats @ss. This is Tess story, the good the bad, the ugly and some nice things.

    I hope the next book is just as awesome and I hope to read more of Tess and another journey she is taking.

    Soooo, read the book for yourself and make your own damn decisions.

    Happy Reading!

    Mel 🖤

    MY BLOG:

    AMAZON:

  • C.G. Drews

    And, ok to be honest, it was the opposite of my expectations, but I also did like the story it gave, it just was this slow meandering introspective tale instead of a fantasy adventure story. So if you go in expecting a story about feminism and women empowerment and a soft quiet™ journey of a girl walking (literally) through her problems...you'll probably fair perfectly fine.

    Like I seriously can't underline enough:

    And, ok to be honest, it was the opposite of my expectations, but I also did like the story it gave, it just was this slow meandering introspective tale instead of a fantasy adventure story. So if you go in expecting a story about feminism and women empowerment and a soft quiet™ journey of a girl walking (literally) through her problems...you'll probably fair perfectly fine.

    Like I seriously can't underline enough:

    Which I APPRECIATE. Like hello here is a fantasy that's going to dismantle so much of the poisonous patriarchy?! (It also felt like a really solid critique on our society and how people treat women.) It obviously is set in a really super sexist world and women are raised to hate their bodies and do what men want at all times. It was so sad and hard to read at times, but I think the discussions were important.

    I also BROKE for Tess because she literally had her rambunctious and lively attitude

    as a child. Her mother was frikkin' abusive. I wish they'd underlined a bit more how absolutely disgustingly disgraceful it was how much her mother beat her. Like she was a "spank magnet" because anytime she wasn't ladylike, she'd get smacked as a kid. To the point where she once got spanked 203 times. I'm so irate. (And I honestly thought this should've been dismantled a bit more than Tess kind of shrugging it off later...it's horrific.) I have a HUGE list of characters in this book I want to throw down a well.

    And I love Tess! Her voice, her attitude, her vulnerabilities and her heartbreaking secrets. <3

    But. Also...I mean,

    • it's slow

    • it's. so. slow

    • there isn't really a plot, just a character arc, which is fine but didn't suit

    • it doesn't have dragons lmao...there is a lizard character and a serpent

    • it really had no plot omg

    • I also didn't remember enough of

    (which I read like 4 years ago) to actually understand all the Seraphina references whoooops

    It said some really important things and Tess was brilliant and the writing was great! It just...had no...*whispers* plot.

  • Farhina ↯↯ The Wanderer Of Inked Adventures

    I just can't with this fact. 🙄

    I was just so excited when I found this book and that cover.... I couldn't wait for release day as I added it to my want to read list.... Sigh! And than oh I got the book. And haay

    I just can't with this fact. 🙄

    I was just so excited when I found this book and that cover.... I couldn't wait for release day as I added it to my want to read list.... Sigh! And than oh I got the book. And haay excitement ends a few pages into the book! 🔥and honestly 1/3 of the way in it became a chore I had to finish!

    This book is about Tess and how she is very unconventional to the societies mold of what a women should be like.

    She is a troublemaker and ends up in a lot of trouble through out the years of her life. And one day before she is going to be sent to the nuns she decides to leave home and go on an adventure on the road.

    She is a flawed character. With lot of angst and baggage. When we first meet her in her childhood years she is such a mischievous troublemaker. But in her later year we meet this guilty in a shell Tess. I don't know if I liked her. Her arc was nice and well earned but her as a whole I just didn't like her.

    But guys it's misleading. Nothing adventurous happens Or remotely exiting. People and character move around from place to place and meet new people. But it's just a BIG DRAG AND A SNOOZE FEST TO BE HONEST. I didn't find this any bit of adventurous or fun.

    This was about forgiveness. This was about being okay with your own self and just turning away from self hatred and moving on. So yeah the whole

    It takes on and on about this medieval thoughts that surrounded ideals about how a women should be. And how Tess defys them. It's was just there were like two extremes in this book. One like very pious and one that is atmost whore-ish (words used in book). Their are several line or passages from words of saints and religion about how pious and domestic a women should be. And how much hey should not sin. It was a big fat discussion thought out. Periods are discussed through out the book. Having sex, rape, finding contraceptives, pleasuring one own self and meeting a whore (used in book) were just some of the things done in terms of finding/discussing womenhood and ideals of what's right and what not. Sometimes this book was a bit to adult not ya!

    None what so ever.

    Their is a sub specie who is Tess's friend from childhood but it's a weird lizard type animal with four hands and all! NOT A DRAGON.

    Other

    are also huh? Tess sister is ugh! The special snowflake syndrome is the matter with her and is the character of the story who is such a special rose and doesn't do any wrong and has no backbone and is just annoying. Tess's parents are infuriating. The quigtul (the sub dragon lizard things) are just huh and very peculiar and lots of biting each other ah?!?!

    Other than just putting on boots walking and walking and having cathartic ideas?!?!?! The whole world serpent thing was idk what? We never found much about it. I was all the waaaay confused about it all?!?! What was? what? who was Anathuthia?!?!?! And well I didn't end up solving my confusion even till the end..... It was just so inconclusive and over the place. And slooooow!

    The

    even though has a nice prose and style. I just found it way too complicated and if a person hasn't read the Seraphaina duology they will be pretty much lost half the time. Also it felt like we had to work for information. The past of Tess the oh so scandalous thing that happened to her was revealed in 50454848550 short snippets. And we don't really know all of it will like the 70 pages are left in the book. I mean wow so much dangling.

    The

    is just not done and left to the person's knowledge of Seraphina which is very weird since these are two separate series one should not require to read another series to understand this one.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Look i was so excited about this one but all the dnf's and 2 star reviews that are now up by people are scaring me! I WANT TO LIKE AND ENJOY YOU PLs.... Why does this happen to me ugh?! :(

    THIS BOOK : THIS COVER : THIS EVERYTHINGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NEEEEED IN MY LIFE RIGHT NOOOOW!!

  • Bentley ★ Bookbastion.net

    The prose is undeniably well written, but unfortunately the story left a lot to be desired.

    Things happen, and characters move around a bit, but nothing exciting ever really happens. There's lots of small moments with heavy-handed moralistic messages to be had, but I just couldn't get into the way it was delivered.

    I've never read any of the Seraphina books, and unfortunately, this book has retroactively put my interest off Rachel Hartman's earlier series.

    For those of you drawn to this book bec

    The prose is undeniably well written, but unfortunately the story left a lot to be desired.

    Things happen, and characters move around a bit, but nothing exciting ever really happens. There's lots of small moments with heavy-handed moralistic messages to be had, but I just couldn't get into the way it was delivered.

    I've never read any of the Seraphina books, and unfortunately, this book has retroactively put my interest off Rachel Hartman's earlier series.

    For those of you drawn to this book because of the prospect of dragons - as I was - look elsewhere, as that is a promise left totally unfulfilled.

    I may or may not write a longer review in January, closer to this book's review date. But as it stands I'm ready to move on to better and brighter horizons.

  • Simona Bartolotta

    *I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

    Buddy read with

    , whose review you can find

    !

    This book sucked all my will right out of me. I'm an empty well. I don't even want to write a review. Vippi and I posted our thoughts

    (though the latter half are in Italian, I'm afraid) and what I'll do here below is copy and paste my comments on each block of chapters (translating, partly or entirely, those in Italian). They are complete with

    *I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

    Buddy read with

    , whose review you can find

    !

    This book sucked all my will right out of me. I'm an empty well. I don't even want to write a review. Vippi and I posted our thoughts

    (though the latter half are in Italian, I'm afraid) and what I'll do here below is copy and paste my comments on each block of chapters (translating, partly or entirely, those in Italian). They are complete with both the good and the bad;

    than proper review paragraphs, which means they are completely different from what you'd expect from a real review, and I apologise if that is annoying for you.

    ➤Day 1 -

    : I'm a bit

    about

    . E.K. Johnston in her comment on the book described her as "uncooperative", saying this is precisely (one of) the reason(s) why she adores her, but I'm not so sure. Take the disaster she causes at her sister's wedding, for instance. Tess is an extremely clever person, and I can't doubt she could have avoided all that fuss easily. It is also true that this is a pet peeve I have in general—

    —so this circumstance may not look as annoying to other readers.

    On the other hand,

    (and a YA heroine at that!)

    . I'm really looking forward to seeing Tess's development in this sense and I hope with all of myself her character development will include (possibly not marginally) the problem of dealing with her past, and I also hope (about this I have no worries, however) it will be done in a healthy, respectful way.

    is lush, rich, and in principle I like it, but I notice a certain

    a little bit. In this respect, the length of the book worries me. I hope it won't turn out to be one of those smoke-and-mirrors plot in which a million things happen but only one or two are actually relevant to the plot itself...

    ➤Day 2 -

    : I'm going to be blunt. My reaction to these chapters was to feel a bit awed and intrigued, a bigger bit sorry and mostly

    .

    Let's start with Feeling One.

    The

    still goes strong, and I wish, deeply wish, only for the sake of this thematic thread, I enjoyed the book more. Which explains my Feeling Two, sadness with shades of regret.

    And now, Feeling Three. I read these four chapters some three or four hours ago, and already I can't remember the details. I should have been able to infer this from the title, I guess, but I've got the feeling

    is going to develop on the lines of the picaresque genre (mind that I said "on the lines of", not "exactly as a picaresque novel") and I'm not sure I'm going to like that. But anyway, the problem with these chapters is not that they are not good in any way I can point out; their events are

    to make matters worse,

    . Tess is losing her edge, and I would like to have more show and less telling when it comes to her past—or so I thought until the scene with the first meeting between Tess and her dragon friend came. I didn't care one bit about that.

    On a side note,

    . It's not a big problem, but I guess I would have noticed more nuances in the narrative had I known those books, and I feel like I've missed some fundamental beginner's lesson. It would be nice not to have to grope in the dark so much.

    ➤Day 3 -

    : It seems to me that

    . In chapter 8 there is this childhood episode, and in the other two, well how about pretty much nothing? It is symptomatic that there's a moment when Pathka says, “Today we find the best one [cave entrance] and begin our journey toward Anathuthia,” to which Tess replies,“I thought we'd begun.” Exactly my thoughts.

    Even

    symptomatic, and I'm a bit ashamed to say it, but I haven't really understood what this “

    ” is supposed to be or do... in the text you find, “Anathuthia will hold a mirror to your heart, answer the unanswerable, plane the rough place,” and, “The World Serpent... will restore us to ourselves.” But these are just fluff that might mean just about anything, do you follow me? On the other hand,

    , so I could have accidentally missed the bit with the full explanation. If that's the case, please forgive me, and if you can shed light on this matter, please come forward.

    Long story short, as of now, the book, or more specifically I should say

    , just seems to me completely pointless and

    . I'm super disappointed.

    ➤ Day 4 -

    : Fluff, fluff, and some more fluff. How wonderful. [And here I drop down to my knees to beg Vippi to forgive me my weakness and shamefully

    make my exit.]

  • ☙ percy ❧

    AGH i'm not a fan of the girl-dresses-as-boy trope but i love rachel hartman so DUH i'll be reading this

    ((if you're interested in why i don't like it:

    AGH i'm not a fan of the girl-dresses-as-boy trope but i love rachel hartman so DUH i'll be reading this

    ((if you're interested in why i don't like it:

    ))

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