(BLOG TOUR: TBR AND BEYOND TOURS)
Today’s book review is on an e-book I received from Flux Books and TBR and Beyond Tours in exchange for an honest review!
I discovered this book on the tour signs ups for TBR and Beyond Tours, and was immediately intrigued by this book! Not only did it have a stunning cover, but it has one of my favorite tropes: arranged marriage!
When an assassin kills Princess Jiara’solder sister Scilla, her vengeful ghost is doomed to walk theircity of glittering canals, tormenting loved ones until the murderer is brought to justice. While theentire kingdom mourns, Scilla’s betrothed arrives and requests that seventeen-year-old Jiara takeher sister’s place as his bride to confirm the alliance between their countries.
Marrying the young king intended for her sister and traveling to his distant home is distressing enough, but with dyslexia and years of scholarly struggles, Jiara abandoned any hope of learning other languages long ago. She’s terrified of life in a foreign land where she’ll be unable to communicate.
Then Jiara discovers evidence that her sister’s assassin comes from the king’s own country. If she marries the king, Jiara can hunt the murderer and release her family from Scilla’s ghost, whose thirst for blood mounts every day. To save her family, Jiara must find her sister’s killer . . . before he murders her too.
About the Author:
Laura Rueckert is a card-carrying bookworm who manages projects by day. At night, fueled by European chocolate, she transforms into a writer of young adult science fiction and fantasy novels. Laura grew up in Michigan, USA, but a whirlwind romance after college brought her to Europe. Today, she lives in Germany with her husband, two kids, and one fluffy dog.
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-dragonbird-in-the-fern-laura-rueckert/1136068601
Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Dragonbird-Fern-Laura-Rueckert/9781635830651
Read: July 8 – July 20
“Those no longer here left so much behind. Expectations, reputations.”
A Dragonbird in the Fern follows Jiara, a seventeen-year-old princess from a beautiful oceanside kingdom who has just lost her older sister, Scilla. Jiara, who had her own quiet life carefully planned out for years, is now forced to live in the shadows of Scilla, taking on her roles and marrying the betrothed she left behind. This betrothed, Raffar, is a young king from a foreign land, with different weather, culture, and an entirely different language. As if this wasn’t enough of a challenge, Jiara must also try and solve the death of her sister, before her sister’s ghost murders their entire family out of spite. Can she handle her responsibility and avenge her sister before she runs out of time?
I am a sucker for the arranged marriage trope, so I signed up for this tour with no hesitation! Boy, was I in for a treat. The arranged marriage is one of my favorites I’ve read, and Jiara and Raffar are such sweethearts. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen dyslexia represented in a book other than the Percy Jackson series, so that was great to see as well.
The writing in A Dragonbird in the Fern is an atmospheric delight and learning about each kingdom and its customs, religions, culinary dishes, and geography was lovely. I also enjoyed that while this book is heavily about Jiara’s marriage and growing accustomed to a new country, the romance is not at all rushed, and actually not even the primary part of the story? This book touches on many different ways the word ‘family’ can be defined, on the pressures and responsibilities of trying to live up to familial expectations and reputations, and the challenges of learning a new language through immersion culture! As someone who learned American Sign Language through classes, social outings, and week-long immersion camps where we were not allowed to communicate in any other method than ASL, I found this incredibly relatable and realistic.
I am not the most avid reader of thrillers/mysteries, but the mystery aspect of the plot kept me on my toes throughout the entire plot, too! I kept making different guesses, and while I did at one point almost guess correctly, I quickly changed my suspicions to someone else.
I would absolutely try another book by Laura Rueckert as A Dragonbird in the Fern ended up being right up my alley!
In addition to my review, here are some of my FAVORITE QUOTES from the book (I tried to exclude any spoiler-y faves)!
“Those no longer here left so much behind. Expectations, reputations. Scilla, with her intelligence and ambition, lived in my heart too.”
“I groaned. He was telling me my language skills were getting better, and yet, I’d barely understood the sentence he’d used to say it.(I felt this so hard from experience HAHA!!)
“–how can I expect my people to follow the laws set by my family if I don’t have the strength myself?”
“A day away would be good. Fresh air, a soul bath in green.”
“But sometimes, a decision had to be made that wasn’t the way things had always been done. Sometimes the best decision wasn’t popular.”
“I’ve always liked coming here in the mornings. You’re all alone. No one needs anything from you and the world below is blanketed in clouds, safe and perfect.”
I’d love to hear what you thought of A Dragonbird in the Fern or what other books you’ve been loving lately!
Interesting in hearing more perspectives on Spark to Shadow? Check out the blog tour schedule here!