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A Dragonbird in the Fern

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  500 ratings  ·  252 reviews
When an assassin kills Princess Jiara’s older sister Scilla, her vengeful ghost is doomed to walk their city of glittering canals, tormenting loved ones until the murderer is brought to justice. While the entire kingdom mourns, Scilla’s betrothed arrives and requests that seventeen-year-old Jiara take her sister’s place as his bride to confirm the alliance between their co ...more
Paperback, 392 pages
Published August 3rd 2021 by Flux
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Laura Rueckert This is a standalone - no other books are planned at the moment, but if I decide to write more books in this world, they would be companion books focu…moreThis is a standalone - no other books are planned at the moment, but if I decide to write more books in this world, they would be companion books focusing on other characters.(less)
Laura Rueckert Hi! The recommended reading age is 14+. Content warnings: grief, violence and blood, death of a family member (off the page), death of a character (on…moreHi! The recommended reading age is 14+. Content warnings: grief, violence and blood, death of a family member (off the page), death of a character (on the page). If anyone believes a content warning should be added, they can contact me at laura (at) laurarueckert (dot) com.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  500 ratings  ·  252 reviews

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Feb 02, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021, arc, fantasy, romance, ya
2.5 stars

This book was fun to read and I couldn’t put it down. I don’t know if it’s a standalone but the last chapter wrapped up the story. There’s still much to explore in the world Rueckert created. I can easily imagine another story told from a different character’s pov. Rounded up my rating to 3 stars because this seems to be a debut. Needs lots of work but not the worst start.

After her sister was murdered, princess Jiara decides to do anything to catch her killer. Because you see, ghosts wh
Jacqueline Firkins
A lovely and unique take on the Stranger in a Strange Land story. While Rueckert employs a number of familiar fantasy tropes--an arranged marriage, a chosen one story, a key political betrayal, a vengeful spirit--the novel has a distinct focus on the nuances of language. As a young princess weds the king of another land, she must rely on translators to help her navigate her new home. But how does she know if a translation is accurate until she learns the language, herself? And what if her dyslex ...more
Dana Swift
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I just finished this book yesterday and it was so good! I love what Laura Rueckert did with learning language and dyslexia –so unique. The stakes of this book were so high I read this in two days.
A longer review to come!
Laura Rueckert
Dec 05, 2020 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I'm thrilled to announce that A DRAGONBIRD IN THE FERN is a GOLD MEDALIST for FA Fantasy in the 2022 IPPY Awards! Check out that fancy gold seal on the cover! <3

A DRAGONBIRD IN THE FERN is out in the world! Thank you so much to everyone out there taking the time to read and review. It means so much to me! And extra <3 <3 <3 to everyone who crossposts their review to a retail site like amazon or Barnes & Noble - it’s a great way to help us authors. 😊

If you’re looking for signed
Shannon I The Reel Bookery
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Princes Jiara is a family-oriented 17 year-old looking to find her sister’s murderer. After figuring out the killer’s tattoo, she agrees to marry King Raffar, to find the Farnskag killer. However, as she is falling in love with her Raffar, who was her late sister’s fiancé, she realIzes how hard this transition into new territory will be for herself and her learning disability.

This is not my typical genre of choice. I gravitate towards romance, but fantasy and science fiction have never grabbed m
Lori Kaufmann
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sneak Preview. It's AMAZING!! ...more
Christi M
Jul 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen-ya, netgalley
Back in 2020, I became ill for a good portion of the year. As much as I didn't want to, I had to stop reading books and writing reviews. Unfortunately, this book got caught up in that time of my life. So here I am, writing a review for a book I read two years ago and wondering what to say. But I have learned that if there is any benefit to my experience, it is this: books that have something to say will leave a lasting impression. A Dragonbird in the Fern is one of those books.

In some regards, t
Mary Ann Fraser
Feb 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing read that held my interest throughout. Jiara's struggle with dyslexia and the language barrier was something I have not seen before and was well-executed. The ghost story, romance, fantasy, and intrigue elements were all woven together beautifully. Highly recommend! ...more
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

This is.... a thing that exists,

It's not a bad book, per se. I would more say that it's a very mediocre book with the bones of what could have been an interesting story buried in there. Many of the concepts sound - and could have been - very interesting, given the right execution.

The political tension? A ghost waiting to be avenged and all the while slowly losing their grip on humani
✩ Yaz ✩
May 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
4 - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodbye for now, Scilla. We’ll find your killer, and you’ll have eternal peace. I promise.

A Dragonbird in the Fern I found to be a delightful read. It had almost everything I enjoy in a fantasy book, lush world-building, court politics, mystery intrigue, and a sweet romance blooming between a couple brought together by an arranged marriage. Princess Jiara of Azzaria and King Raffar of Farnskager.

It's a YA fantasy set between fantastical kingdom called Azzaria and Farnskager. While th
Feb 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I think it is a perfect YA fantasy book. If I were to pick up a book this is what I would be hoping for. I really love the cover too; it is so pretty. I love that Queen Jiara has a reading impediment that is not named but frequently referred to. It comes across as dyslexia. I think that this is a great representation of how to work toward something you want even if it is difficult
Sarah Glenn Marsh
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-blurbed
"An intoxicating blend of fairytale and ghost story, of romance and sisterhood, A DRAGONBIRD IN THE FERN is a breath of fresh air with clever worldbuilding and a compelling mystery. Don't miss this one!"

A stunning and unique fantasy. Beautiful writing and smart world building. I'm such a fan!
Julie - One Book More
May 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, ya, fantasy
When Princess Jiara’s sister is brutally murdered before she can marry the king of a neighboring land a solidify an alliance, Jiara agrees to marry in her sister’s place. Jiara’s sister Scilla, now an Earthwalker, won’t be at peace until her killer is found. As Jiara travels to an unknown land with her new husband and learns how to be a queen, Jiara is plagued by communication issues, brewing war, her sister’s impatient and violent spirit, and traitors in her midst.

This is such an immersive and
Jul 10, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
THIS REVIEW & MORE → Paws and Paperbacks

ARC provided by Flux through NetGalley.

2.5 stars ✨

The premise of A Dragonbird in the Fern sounds amazing and I was really looking forward to reading it. Unfortunately, a majority of the story fell flat and therefore it didn’t end up meeting my expectations.

The book has such an interesting plot: Princess Jiara must marry her deceased sister’s fiancé, the king of foreign country, meanwhile attempting to figure out who murdered her sister. Like, could that sy
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a great YA fantasy novel! I highly recomend it. I can't wait to read more from this author. ...more
Athena (OneReadingNurse)
Jul 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Thank you so much to North Star Editions via NetGalley for the digital early copy in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own!

A Dragonbird in the Fern is a debut YA fantasy, fast paced and full of magic. I think we can all agree that the cover is absolutely stunning as well. Check out the book and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!

The Plot&Story: the book blurb a great job of summarizing the book. Jiara is betrothed in her older sister’s place, and must overcome her dyslexi
May 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredible debut by YA author Laura Reuckert. A Dragonbird in the Fern checks all the delicious fantasy checkboxes: a fierce heroine - check, arranged marriage - check, chosen one - check, political intrigue - check, developed magic system - check. But everything was done with a unique twist.

Jiara was the second daughter. She was never supposed to be queen. Yet when her sister is murdered, Jiara has to make the marriage alliance with Farnskag by wedding the king Raffar, who she happe
Renaissance Kate
Feb 02, 2021 marked it as to-read
ARC received!

So many elements of this book sound so amazing that I can't decide which one I'm the most excited for!

Thank you to Flux/ North Star Editions via Netgalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Goblin Reaper
Jul 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
Those no longer here left so much behind. Expectations, reputations.

I was provided the opportunity to read and review this great book, thanks to NetGalley.
Princess Jiara Ginevoradaag of Azzaria is seventeen years old, with five months to go until she becomes eighteen. She is a bright and smart character, but she has doubts about her reading and writing skills. She feels she isn't good enough and that she isn't as clever as those around her since she is dyslexic without realizing it. Scilla, her
Mar 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
ARC received from Netgalley. The review is 100% honest.

I finished this book moments ago and still in awe. I love everything in it, for Jiara is my type of heroine. She didn't dwell in her incapability. She did what she could, one day at a time. I love the background setting! The Watchers and the rituals are both familiar and original. Readers can easily dive into the story and fell in love with the characters. I adore Jiara! Raffar is total sweetheart! I want bestie like Freyad!

The plot is intri
Nicole Lesperance
Apr 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully crafted fantasy with stellar worldbuilding and evocative writing. The main character, Jiara, faces some incredible challenges, moving unexpectedly to a faraway kingdom and learning a brand-new language, while also dealing with the aftermath of her sister's murder and fending off her vengeful ghost. I absolutely adore anything to do with ghosts or sisters, so this was my favorite part of the book. So unique and incredibly creepy. The pacing was excellent, and I sped right th ...more
mer reads
Jul 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Reading vlog: https://youtu.be/5V9m-_qkz9g

A Dragonbird in the Fern follows Princess Jiara as she steps in to marry her sister's betrothed after her murder. Jiara learns that Scilla's murderer may be from the King's country and wishes to avenge her death. Jiara must do more than investigate her sister's murderer in her new country, however; she must navigate romance, queendom, and learning a second language with dyslexia.

I absolutely love Jiara's character and the dyslexia representation in this
Di Maitland
I LOVED this book. It was incredibly sweet but had enough tension to keep me racing through to the end. It reminded me a little of The Goblin Emperor, with its gentle characters doing their best to love and to lead, despite the difficult circumstances.

The Premise
I thought the premise of the book worked nice. I've not read many books with dyslexic characters, and none where dyslexia plays such a key role in the story. I don't suffer from dyslexia myself, so found it interesting to read a little m
Apr 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
I really enjoyed this fantasy novel that features political scheming, vengeful ghosts and emphasises the importance of how we communicate. It’s a unique fantasy novel and I liked how refreshing it was. No epic fantasy battles, but plenty of tantalising romance, politics, betrayal, and a touch of magic.

Princess Jiara’s life is utterly changed when her older sister is murdered. Jiara knows they have just months to find her sister’s killer before her sister, left to wander the earth, becomes incre
Jun 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A Dragonbird in the Fern was such a fun lovely and engaging read. Our heroine Jiara life changes dramatically when her older sister is murdered. She is thrust into a political contract marriage in her sister's stead, for which she is ill prepared. Unlike her sister who has spent years studying the language and the customs of the neighboring country, she has to learn as much as she can quickly while her dyslexia makes mustering her own written language hard. The representation of disability is we ...more
Apr 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, 2021-releases
Thank you to NetGalley for giving me an arc in exchange for an honest review!

I would like to start this off by saying I do not have dyslexia so I personally cannot say how accurate the portrayal of it is in this book.

That being said we need more representation of neurodivergent and disabled people in ya books, especially fantasy. We need to acknowledge that they exist in any world, and adding magic doesn’t make them disappear. Do not take this as saying any other genres do not need them. Simply
Mar 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this, the world is unique and interesting and the fact that this is a standalone is great. It seems that the majority of new fantasy books are part of a series so this stands out. It was nice to have a complete story in one book. There weren't any slow parts and everything that happened felt important to the plot.

Jiara is smart, kind, and will do anything for her family and people, including marrying her late sister's fiancé. Jiara knows this move is paramount to her country's
Cary Morton
Mar 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book directly from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I adored A Dragonbird in the Fern by Laura Rueckert, though I'll admit, I had some misgivings from the cover. The cryptic title and the cover of the book did little to persuade me to read the book - it didn't look like any of the books I normally read, but the synopsis was intriguing, so when I picked up this book, I wasn't quite sure what I was about to be getting myself into. I couldn't have been
I loved the world-building in this fantasy debut! Rueckert created two different religious systems and blended them expertly into the cultures of the different countries newly queened Jiara must understand if she's to lead in peace, AND find out who murdered her sister Scilla, who is quickly becoming a pretty scary earthwalker, a ghost consumed by revenge to find her killer. There's a lot going on with high stakes but the pacing flows well so it never reads overwhelming.

Jiara is an awesome prot
Mar 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I didn't expect this book to compel me as quickly as it did. We are instantly entered into the struggle the main character is having with helping her sister move on to the afterlife, as disclosed in the blurb.

This book engrossed me in a wide variety of details about the fantasy lands it is set in, including Beautiful descriptions of birds, nature, people, and settlements.

I was captivated right from the start with the protagonist's journey and truly felt a connection with her. There was also the
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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.

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