eARC Review: Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

eARC Review: Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Release day February 27, 2018!

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, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads. 

Book: Tess of the Road

Author: Rachel Hartman

Publication Date: February 27, 2018

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Page Count: 544

Format: eARC

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Cover Artist:

My Rating: No Rating – DNF

Tess of the RoadTess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

DNFing at 30%

”If Tess pretended she was married hard enough, could she fool herself into having a baby?”

I can confidently say that I have given Rachel Hartman a second chance with reading this book, hoping for the best. I read Seraphina in 2017 and ended up DNFing it. Unfortunately, I’m finding myself in the same boat with Tess of the Road. While the writing is well-composed and encompassing, I just didn’t like the main character Tessie, or the way in which the plot was headed.

Tessie Dombegh is the main character. At a young age, her curiosity got her into rough waters with her mother. Holding onto her past mistakes, she becomes rather spiteful towards others, making her a very unlikeable character to follow.

”I don’t envy you, if that’s what you’re worried about,” said Tess, not lying exactly. It wasn’t envy so much as self-pity. Did that make her “all right” or not?

When her twin sister Jean is proposed to, Tess tries to hide her jealousy of her sister’s position. However, her true feelings bubbling beneath the surface pour out at her sister’s wedding, when out of her drunkenness, she starts a fight.

From this point on, I simply lacked interest in the plot. With the main character being so unlikeable, I fail to see a reason to move on.

Another point to mention is that there is a lot of focus on sex, in a very tactless way.

”Is it true what they say, that the saar are slow to warm up, but once they get going they burn hot as the sun?”

Sorry, but I don’t think this is a necessary addition to a YA novel. If anything, this book reads more like an adult fantasy novel due to its content. This is where the book crossed a line for me. Tess’ obsession with the topic was just off-putting.

Vulgarity: While there wasn’t a lot, (I counted six up until the point of stopping) the overall mannerisms of the characters were vulgar.
Sexual content: There isn’t anything explicit, but this topic is constantly being discussed between characters.
Violence: Minimal.

Since this is a DNF read, I will not be assigning a star-review.

View all my reviews

I am the author behind Foals, Fiction & Filigree. An all-encompassing blog about horses, books, and my art.

7 thoughts on “eARC Review: Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

  1. I know you only read the first 30% of the book but the story’s main theme is about slut-shaming, so it figures sex would be discussed a little. Also, Tess’ character arc is about getting past all that parental abuse heaped on top of the fact that she was betrayed by someone she trusted. But I also get that maybe this book is not your cup of tea.
    Ruthsic recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Decided I’m No Longer Interested In ReadingMy Profile

  2. Aww it sucks that you didn’t like it! I received an ARC of this book but I’m having a hard time getting into it. I actually really liked Seraphina and I was hoping I would like this, too. I’ll let you know my thoughts on this book when I’m done!
    Vee recently posted…Top Books of FebruaryMy Profile

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