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Tess of the Road

(Tess of the Road #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  4,295 ratings  ·  1,235 reviews
Meet Tess, a brave new heroine from beloved epic fantasy author Rachel Hartman.

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) an
Hardcover, 544 pages
Published February 27th 2018 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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Rachel Hartman It's not strictly necessary, especially if you're the kind of reader who likes to hit the ground running (I am, so I know we exist!). My husband…moreIt's not strictly necessary, especially if you're the kind of reader who likes to hit the ground running (I am, so I know we exist!). My husband recommends reading SERAPHINA first, at least, to get an idea how the world works. (less)
Rachel Hartman It's not a retelling, although it's not as unrelated as I originally thought, either. I haven't read Hardy since I was a teen (so, uh, almost 30 years…moreIt's not a retelling, although it's not as unrelated as I originally thought, either. I haven't read Hardy since I was a teen (so, uh, almost 30 years ago) but recently I was reading a plot synopsis of Tess of the D'Urbervilles (because I knew I was going to get this question) and there's... a strong unconscious undercurrent, yes.(less)

Community Reviews

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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,295 ratings  ·  1,235 reviews

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Emily May
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Emily May by: Tatiana
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult, 2018
4 1/2 stars. Tess of the Road 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.

This is character-driven fantasy at its best. 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
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
E.K. Johnston
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing

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
Bentley ★
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
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
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who wanted more from "Graceling"
Shelves: 2018, fantasy, ya, starred-2018, 3
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
Simona Bartolotta
*I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Buddy read with Vippi, whose review you can find here!

DNF 50%

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 here (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
☙ percy ❧
Aug 31, 2017 marked it as to-read
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: (view spoiler)
Farhina ↯↯ The Wanderer Of Inked Adventures
My rating: 1.5

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
Trina (Between Chapters)
Jul 11, 2018 marked it as did-not-finish
DNF at 24%

I didn't realize that this book was a companion sequel to Seraphina, which I haven't read.

Obviously, these things might have turned around by the end of the book, but up to the point I read I was upset by the strong fat-hate and utterly bored by the 'Egads! She's not a virgin!' society. It's been done to death. I'm sure the point is to challenge that mindset because the main character opposes those ideas, but it went a little hard on the sex shaming up to where I read.

I decided to DN
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I can already tell this is going to be one of my top books of the year. It's extraordinary
Cait • A Page with a View
Nov 22, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2018-arcs
DNF at 30% so I won't leave a rating, but I generally give up if I can't get into a book after trying super hard for a few weeks. I couldn't connect with anything and the story didn't seem like it was going anywhere original anyways. It just drained all enjoyment for reading right out of me...
Sherwood Smith
Nov 21, 2017 added it
Shelves: fantasy
I don't like to read reviews before I've jotted down my own impressions of a book, though I usually cast my eyes rapidly down the Goodreads column, picking out words here and there. While doing that to this book, I got more whiplash than usual: superlatives in one chunk of text would be followed by "bored" "hated" "impossible" and the like.

I guess I can see that. My own impression of this book, which I finished a few days ago, and have been contemplating since, is "a glorious mess."

Things I like
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tessie was born a troublemaker. She is curious and outspoken, which often gets her in trouble. I had to chuckle when reading the intro to this story. Her sister calls her a "spank magnet.'' But it's definitely true....Tessie has a great talent for getting into trouble. After a bad scene at her twin sister's wedding where she punched a priest (he really did deserve it), she decides to set out on her own to avoid being sent to a convent. She disguises herself as a boy and leaves her home.

Tess of
My Rating: 2.5 Stars

Tess, the main character is proof that we are NOT cut from the same cloth, that we all dance to the beat of a different drum and that no matter how hard one tries, that square peg will never fit into that round hole of conformity. Unfortunately for Tess, in the medieval kingdom of Goredd, that is totally and completely unacceptable for a “lady.” Rebellious acts, even if justified have consequences and Tess has spent her life facing them, head on, but she is who she is, period
Dec 25, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: canadian-authors
Forgot to update this but I received my goodreads giveaway copy at the beginning of March I believe. Very happy to finally have it in my hands. Now I have the perfect excuse to listen to the audiobook of Seraphina from my library.

UPDATE FEB 5TH: Still no book.

Won a copy in a goodreads giveaway but havent received it yet and that was December 22nd.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much. It broke my heart and put it back together. Seraphina was one of my favourite books I read in 2016, and this one is absolutely going on my favourites shelf for 2018.

Tess is Seraphina's half sister, who by the age of 17 has (apparently) ruined all her prospects for a respectable marriage and so now puts her energy towards helping her twin sister acheive that goal instead. But when Jeanne secures a good husband, the only options given to Tess, to become a governess to he
Brooke — brooklynnnnereads
I'm trying to gather and organize my thoughts on this one but let me tell you, I'm having a hard time. This book is a hard one to review in the fact that it was in total opposition of what I expected.

Before I get into the review, I do want to recommend that before reading this book, read the prior two novels set in this world entitled, "Seraphina" and "Shadowscale". I have not read those novels and I think if I had it would have made everything more clear. This fantasy world is a difficult one t
You guys.
I loved Seraphina, don't get me wrong, but HOLY SHIT, DO I EVER LOVE TESS.

I'll have a full review up soon, but until then, I recommend I recommend I recommend I recommend.
Melissa Jacobson
Guysssssss. THIS. BOOK. This surpassed all expectations I had for this story. Tess is such a wonderfully flawed character and her healing journey broke my heart over and over again. I cam genuinely say she is one of my absolute favorite main characters in a book now.

This book tackles so many important and hard topics that I am deeply passionate about. Religion, slut-shaming, the glorification of virginity, and the dissection of rape culture. Not even to mention the poignant commentary on parent
Dani - Perspective of a Writer
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

In this medieval fantasy world of Seraphina fame, Tess is a stubborn troublemaker. She refuses the opportunities she does have to hare off into the world. When she runs into an old friend, a quigutl, she finds a purpose that hearkens back to the dreams of her youth.

The short review...

First I feel a need to explain my rating... the writing is top notch, clearly a 5 star... the storytelling though leaves a lot to be desired, a 1 star and perhaps e
Vicky Who Reads
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: drcs
update: WHEN IS THE NEXT BOOK COMING OUT SERIOUSLY. this book has stuck with me for a WHOLE YEAR and i'm just perpetually waiting for book 2??? I want it so badly idek why but like...I loved Tess.

4 stars

Tess has been a troublemaker at birth, ever since she shoved her way out of her mother's womb before her twin sister. She's now suffering consequences for some of her trouble-making ways, and instead of heading towards the nunnery her parents are looking into, Tess puts on her boots and journeys
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rachel Hartman's latest is nothing short of epic. While I whole-heartedly admit that this novel is a little too long for my liking--I would have benefited with many condensed scenes, particularly on Tess's travels--its core message is too important to ignore. Hartman does what some of the best writers in fantasy do: she creates a world that is wholly different from our own and yet, it parallels our universe in important ways that she exploits to make stronger statements about our society and the ...more
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Set against a fantastical backdrop of dragons, quigutl, and mighty world serpents, this companion book to Seraphina and Shadow Scale is a very important look at what it means to come of age for a young woman in a strictly ordered society. Consent, rape, and sexuality are all discussed very frankly, though not graphically or gratuitously. You instantly feel for Tess and support her on her journey, both to discover if the great serpents of legend are real, and to discover if she is a "good" person ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I enjoyed Tess of the Road more than I expected, but probably less than I had hoped. I wasn’t a big fan of Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina duology when I read it, but nevertheless felt optimistic about her new book because I have a love for “wanderlust” stories and the description of Tess as a “troublemaker” immediately piqued my interest.

To her credit, our protagonist was living up to that promise from the start. When she wa
R.F. Gammon
Jan 18, 2019 marked it as dnf
Life is short; this book is not. I’m all for a good character driven book and a beautiful cover, but because I felt absolutely no connection with the characters, I won’t be finishing this one.
Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.)
I want to thank Netgalley and Random House Children's for providing me with this copy in exchange for an honest review

My expectations were quite high with this one, I think that actually sounds much better than it really is


2.5/5 Stars

You can find this one and more of my reviews on my blog A Book. A Thought.

This is a book that takes place in the same world as in Serafina, personally I haven't read that book, but I think that if you have read it, you may enjoy more aspects of Tess of the Road

Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
*I received a free ARC copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

DNF at ~40% Sadly, this book is not for me. It greatly lacked the spark and magic of Seraphina.

I tried to like this. I really did.

Generally, with ARCs, I always try to push through until the end. But even my effort to try to push through until I about the halfway point was a bit of a struggle. Because all this book makes me feel is bored.

First off, let me start by saying the writing is not particularly bad. The book t
Melissa Stacy
The 2018 YA fantasy, "Tess of the Road," by Rachel Hartman, is a long, slow, and incredibly detailed read. This book is a YA retelling of Thomas Hardy's 1891 classic, "Tess of the d'Urbervilles," and, in many ways, is just as grim. The dragon on the cover of this book gives the reader an expectation that this book will star a dragon, but there are only sub-dragon "serpent" creatures in this story, and these animals have only brief, intermittent scenes throughout the story. The "real" dragons are ...more
May 03, 2018 marked it as dnf
DNF at 65%

I just... don't care about this and I cannot carry on.

The writing is fine, but that's really all it has going on.

Feb 26, 2018 marked it as dnf
Shelves: arc
ARC received from Random House Children’s via Netgalley for a fair review.
It is my policy to not give a star rating to a book that I DNF.

“We are adrift, and the thinnest breeze may blow us where it will.” +

As Tess was growing up it became exceedingly evident that she was the bad child in her family. After a series of situations that find her on the bad side her family decides to send her to a nunnery. Tess decides to take her future to the road instead.

The Story
I only made it to 32% before I d
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Rachel Hartman lives and writes in Vancouver, BC.

Her first YA fantasy novel, Seraphina, was published by Random House on July 10th, 2012. Here are some things that are already being said about Seraphina by some fabulous authors:

“A book worth hoarding, as glittering and silver-bright as dragon scales, with a heroine who insists on carving herself a place in your mind.” — Naomi Novik, New York Times
“Maybe the world isn't really different, but I am different, and I am in the world.” 19 likes
“She still held sorrows, but she was not made of them. Her life was not a tragedy. It was a history, and it was hers.” 17 likes
More quotes…