My dear bookish friends!
Today I’m back with a book I’ve been dying to read for a while now – and omg did it deliver!! It has elves, it has witches, it has fights and secrets and mysteries – if you are still looking for your next weekend read I’d say you found it! Please read on to find out more about The Girl of Dorcha Wood by Kristin Ward!
Treacherous. Evil. Dark. Dorcha Wood is all of these things. And none of them.
The people of Felmore talk of Dorcha Wood in whispers, if they speak of it at all, fearing the wrath of the Cú-Síth should their words be carried on the wind. Those murdering beasts still roam the darkness of the forest, the last remnants of the cursed Aos Sí, a race of elves, long since vanished from the world.
But to Fiadh, it is home. Haven. A forest whose secrets become known only when it chooses to reveal them. Her life is one of balance until the outside world shatters it.
From the moment Fiadh set eyes on Gideon, the peaceful rhythm of her life was lost. As a new path unfolds, Fiadh confronts the reality of old hatreds, the consequences of things hidden, and the truth of who she really is.
**Content Warning: medieval battle violence, blood, gore
I’m a big fan of Kristin Ward’s writing, ever since I read After the Green Withered I a few years ago. She always delivers – and she has again with The Girl of Dorcha Wood! I really loved the connections to Irish myth in her last book, and she has upped that again in this one with I feel even more links to ancient Irish folklore. Authors, give me more of that, please!!
The world she created in this one is one where humans have driven out elves and now rule the lands (or so they think), but in a few places the power of the elves still lives on. One such place is Dorcha Wood, and it is there that we find Fiadh, our MC. She has been raised in the woods, far war from mankind, by her mother. We don’t really know why her mother keeps her so secluded, but it seems to be partially because her mother herself is deemed to be a witch by the villagers. But also, there seems to be something very strange and unusual about Fiadh herself.
This is where I have to introduce Krulan. OMG how cool is he??! He is like a kinda wolf/hound monster who is sworn to protect Fiadh. He is the leader of the Cu Sith (more giant wolf monsters) and he is both gruff and angry, but also I think kinda maybe, possibly almost cuddly??? Well, ok… probably not cuddly, in fact, he’d probably hate me saying that … but I still have to say it!! xD
There is a surprising amount of fighting and violence in this one compared to the author’s previous books, but even though that is not really my kind of thing, I think it suits the setting very well. We are talking a kind of medieval fantasy world with swords and fighting and witch burning, so I think it might be a bit lame if that was sanitised too much.
My one very minor downside is that there are a quite a few questions left unanswered in this one. I understand that it is book one but I have so many questions! Who/what is Fiadh? Where does she come from? What secrets did her mother keep from her and why? I would have loved a bit more time spent in this area. Just Fiadh questioning her mother and trying to get answers. I’m guessing we will find out more in book two (which I’m really looking forward to!!) but gah! Tell me now!!!
All in all I have to say I really, really liked this one. The writing is top quality and very evocative; Fiadh herself is very hard not to root for. I love that she isn’t the sort of cocky, brash, fighty sort of girl you get in a lot of YA stories these days, and is instead shy, self-conscious, unsure of herself. To me it made her much more relatable and somebody I really want to root for.
I recommend this book to all fans of YA fantasy who, like me, love a strong female lead and mythical themes as a base.
4.5 stars from me, and I cannot wait for book 2!
Thank you all so much for reading, and do let me know if you will pick up The Girl of Dorcha Wood!
P.S. Big thank you to TheWriteReads and the author for my ecopy of the book and my spot on the blog tour – none of which affected my review or rating of this book.