by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Publication: August 16, 2022
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A magical, ethereal fantasy from IndieBound bestselling author Emily Lloyd-Jones.
Once upon a time, the kingdoms of Wales were rife with magic and conflict, and eighteen-year-old Mererid “Mer” is well-acquainted with both. She is the last living water diviner and has spent years running from the prince who bound her into his service. Under the prince’s orders, she located the wells of his enemies, and he poisoned them without her knowledge, causing hundreds of deaths. After discovering what he had done, Mer went to great lengths to disappear from his reach. Then Mer’s old handler returns with a proposition: use her powers to bring down the very prince that abused them both.
The best way to do that is to destroy the magical well that keeps the prince’s lands safe. With a motley crew of allies, including a fae-cursed young man, the lady of thieves, and a corgi that may or may not be a spy, Mer may finally be able to steal precious freedom and peace for herself. After all, a person with a knife is one thing…but a person with a cause can topple kingdoms.
The Drowned Woods—set in the same world as The Bone Houses but with a whole new, unforgettable cast of characters—is part heist novel, part dark fairy tale.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emily Lloyd-Jones grew up on a vineyard in rural Oregon, where she played in evergreen forests and learned to fear sheep. She has a BA in English from Western Oregon University and a MA in publishing from Rosemont College. She currently resides in Northern California, where she enjoys wandering in redwood forests. Her young adult novels include Illusive, Deceptive, The Hearts We Sold, The Bone Houses, and the forthcoming The Drowned Woods. Her debut middle grade, Unseen Magic, will release in 2022.
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The Drowned Woods is a generally fast-paced standalone I devoured in a day. I usually prefer duologies or trilogies, because standalones often try to include too much into the plot, but this doesn’t happen here. The story stays focused on the heist although it does meander at times.
The past and present are interwoven together as characters recall critical moments in their lives. It enabled me to learn about the characters without feeling like it was veering too much from the present and the task at hand. While I liked these glimpses, I didn’t connect with the characters very much. Mer felt somewhat closed off to me. She had an interesting background, and I wanted to know more about her time under the spymaster’s mentorship. She often surprised me with her skills, which made me want to know more about how she acquired them. I understand her motivations for partaking in the heist, but I didn’t feel them. My favorite moments were probably those when Mer allowed her vulnerability to peek through.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. I’m not sure if it’s one I would read again, but it was a good introduction to Emily Lloyd-Jones. I would pick up something from her again.
**Thank you to TBR and Beyond tours for allowing me to be part of the tour. Remember to check out the schedule visit more posts. Also, thank you to the publisher and author for providing an ARC.**
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