Reviews

A Dragonbird in the Fern, by Laura Rueckert

epilieaspiechick's review

Go to review page

2.0

My full review can be found on the Epilie Aspie Chick blog!

Thank you to North Star Editions for providing the ARC for an honest review.

Although the story is quite lengthy, never at any point does the worldbuilding get detailed enough to make me feel like I can really imagine this place. Lots of details about languages and countries are thrown in, but never at any point is there enough of it to really make you feel like you're there. It feels too much like just page material instead of creating a new place.

theshakespeareana's review

Go to review page

4.0

'The Dragonbird in the Fern': 4 ⭐

(Unpaid Review: thank you to @netgalley, @laurarueckert and @flux for letting me read this eArc in exchange of a review)

Everyone knows fantasy is my thing. There's no other genre that speaks to me as good as fantasy does. This book spoke to me wonderfully. Jiara is one of the most spectacular characters I've read about, moreover to the fact that she has dyslexia. Not many authors talk about language-barrier and the fact that Laura did was a huge bonus!
I'm so glad I read this book and got myself immersed to this world. It was stunning and romantic and so beautifully written! Highly recommend!

lise_books's review

Go to review page

4.0

4.5/5

When I learned that this book had a dyslexic main character I was immediately drawn in. As a dyslexic reader I was thriller to see a fantasy book (my favorite genre) that might accurately represent my own disability.

In terms of the dyslexia representation, this book did not disappoint. I felt like the book did a fantastic job of showing how Jiara’s struggles— both internally and externally— with her learning disability, while also still showing that she is intelligent and how she is able to still achieve what she needs to. This might be the best dyslexia representation I have ever seen in a book.

The plot itself was okay, but didn’t really draw me in. The book was a fast and easy read though. I did end up enjoying it quite a bit.

Thank you to NetGalley and Flux for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

ladybug_books8's review

Go to review page

4.0

I started this at like 8 pm planning on getting a few chapters in… suddenly it’s 3 am and I finished the book. More thoughts to come when it’s not 3 am

--------------------

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This book was an extremely pleasant surprise! A Dragonbird in the Fern is perfect for readers new to fantasy or those who struggle with long, complex fantasy. The worldbuilding was simple and easy to follow yet still interesting. Knowing it was a standalone was one of the reasons I finished this book so quickly. I knew that the mystery would be resolved by the end of the book.

I loved the two main characters in this story. They were brave, likable, and easy to root for. I was immediately sold on the relationship as I found the love interest so genuine and endearing. A Dragonbird in the Fern also features a dyslexic main character! I believe this is the first fantasy I have read with dyslexia representation and I thought it was really well incorporated into the story.

My favorite part of this book was the depiction of being a stranger in a strange land and adapting to the customs and habits of the land. I loved following Jiara as she learned the language of her new home. I feel like the difficulty of learning a language is often glossed over in fantasy books or avoided through the inclusion of multilingual characters. It was particularly engaging to watch Jiara and Raffar find different ways to communicate.

The plot with the vengeful ghost kept the tension high throughout the entire story. This suspense was another reason that I felt compelled to finish the book in one sitting. While I think the concept of the earthwalker could’ve been expanded on for clarity, I enjoyed the sense of anticipation that it added to the story.

My only real critique for A Dragonbird in the Fern is that at times it felt a bit too simple and predictable for me. I enjoy complex fantasy with a lot of twists and turns so I called the plot twist in this story almost immediately. I was hoping that the twist would have more reveals towards the end to add more complexity. However, this only minimally impacted my enjoyment of the story and it is a very personal critique. The fact remains that this book kept me engaged the entire time. I read it in one sitting, staying up until 3 am to finish it.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking for a light fantasy and I cannot wait to add a physical copy of A Dragonbird in the Fern to my bookshelf.

brittradomski's review

Go to review page

adventurous funny hopeful inspiring mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

sadhbhprice's review

Go to review page

adventurous mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.5

pocketeditionlibrarian's review

Go to review page

4.0

THANKS TO NETGALLEY FOR THE ARC!

I feel like in some ways this book has a little something for everyone. Ghosts, fantasy, travel, politics, a little romance. Plus a dyslexic main character and LGBTQ representation in siblings/side characters!

I really enjoyed this book. It has such an interesting premise - someone who is murdered turns into a vengeful ghost if the murderer is uncaught. I do still have some questions about how the earthwalkers work. However, I think that people in the book don't understand it entirely themselves so I can mostly accept it.

I love that there's a mystery aspect, and also political scheming and yet it doesn't feel like a "mystery" book and doesn't get too bogged down with the politics. Basically it has a little bit of everything to appeal to a lot of different people and I'm excited to share it.

Also LOVE Jiara's struggle to read and learn a new language when taught in the "traditional" manner. She's very smart, but can't recognize it because of her struggles with dyslexia. And I love how the author includes LGBTQ+ characters and adoption as normal and accepted parts of the world as well.

libraryofalexandriaarchives's review

Go to review page

adventurous funny mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

bizzybookbish's review

Go to review page

5.0

I don’t even know where to begin with this review. This book is so special. If I could have given it more than five stars I honestly would. Between ghosts, murder plots, a main character with dyslexia, betrayal, ancient gods, and romance. This book has everything you could possibly want. This was such a fun read and was beautifully executed. I cannot wait for its release this fall so that I can add a copy to my shelves.

stitchsaddiction's review

Go to review page

5.0

 Wow.
 
Laura  Rueckert's A Dragonbird in the Fern is a wonderful take on the Stranger in a Strange land tale that I couldn't put down.
 
We begin with a quiet hillside where we meet the heroine of our take, a brokenhearted princess Jiara who with her family are in a time of mourning for her older sister. I found the twist of what happens in this tale for ghosts to be a wonderful albeit sad set of events that remain a constant throughout the book as Jiara’s life changes from the life that had been laid out before her for sometime. Spirits in Jiara’s homeland do not settle if their lives are cut short through violent means and Scilla’s spirit is no different. Time is of the essence and if not resolved, Scilla's fury will end up in utter destruction for everyone she loved whilst alive.
 
I welcomed the concept of Jiara being dyslexic (although there isn't have a word or concept of it, it is evident that this is what the young Princess struggles with) as I haven't come across the idea of neurodivergency in a YA books in particular fantasy before. As a parent of two ND children, this was excellent to see and the way Rueckert writes how dyslexia causes barriers and frustration for Jiara is so relatable. 
 
The magic in A Dragonbird in the Fern  is woven so well within the various countries religion and faith  so that whilst they differ, you clearly see the idea of nature being so important to all within the book and it helps to create a comfort for Jiara as she finds herself in a strange land with someone she knows very little about. I did long for a bit more world building so I could be truly lost in the tale, whilst yes the differences are apparent between the lush richness of her homeland and Jiara's betrothed home, I did want a little more.
 
I'm greedy admittedly to description...
 
The villain of the tale is a sneaky one and he's fantastically evil yet I wasn't 100% sure for most of the book. I'm hopeful you will be too as A Dragonbird in the Fern  is a story you will love, and probably feel the occasional tear fall when reading.