A huge thank-you to NetGalley and the publisher for this advanced reader copy of The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones.
The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones is the most unique fantasy heist book you will ever read! This story has found family, a strong female lead, and a magic-sniffing corgi. What more could you possibly need?
Some time at the beginning of 2022, a friend of mine suggested that I read The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones. Now, this is a friend whose book recommendations I have come to trust wholeheartedly. So naturally, I knew I would enjoy the novel thoroughly when it came time to pick it up from the library and read it. What I didn’t expect was to love it quite as much as I did! It blew me away and I knew at that moment that I had to get my hands on whatever the author wrote next.
Lucky for me, “whatever the author wrote next” happened to be released within the same year. I immediately requested an ARC and the moment I was approved, I gobbled it up. Similar to The Bone Houses, The Drowned Woods is a very quick and easy read, and I wound up completing it in just over 24 hours. It’s the absolute perfect book to binge over a rainy weekend or read on a road trip. I had a hard time putting it down!
If you’re looking for a fantasy novel that stands out among the rest – something that leaves its mark and has you thinking about it long after you’ve finished – you’ll want to pick up The Drowned Woods! The release date for this book is August 16, 2022. Keep on reading for my full review.
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My honest review of The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones.
Once upon a time, the kingdoms of Wales were rife with magic and conflict, and eighteen-year-old Mererid “Mer” is well-acquainted with both. She is the last living water diviner and has spent years running from the prince who bound her into his service. Under the prince’s orders, she located the wells of his enemies, and he poisoned them without her knowledge, causing hundreds of deaths. After discovering what he had done, Mer went to great lengths to disappear from his reach. Then Mer’s old handler returns with a proposition: use her powers to bring down the very prince that abused them both.
The best way to do that is to destroy the magical well that keeps the prince’s lands safe. With a motley crew of allies, including a fae-cursed young man, the lady of thieves, and a corgi that may or may not be a spy, Mer may finally be able to steal precious freedom and peace for herself. After all, a person with a knife is one thing…but a person with a cause can topple kingdoms.
The Drowned Woods — set in the same world as The Bone Houses but with a whole new, unforgettable cast of characters — is part heist novel, part dark fairy tale.
Content Warnings: (major) Torture, Death, and Murder, (moderate) Vomit and Violence, (minor) Suicidal thoughts
I just had quite a laugh at myself when I opened up my Kindle to see what I highlighted while reading The Drowned Woods. Ya girl really went and highlighted over forty times throughout the story (and let’s be real, half of these highlights were about the corgi).
After reading The Bone Houses, I knew I wanted to pick up absolutely anything Emily Lloyd-Jones wrote. I love the atmospheric writing, the little bit of spookiness, the cozy vibes, and the way the characters just feel so real. That last bit was certainly the case in The Drowned Woods. I felt so connected to this cast of characters that if you’d tapped me while reading, I would’ve been convinced it was Fane or Mer at my shoulder.
While I was aware that the two books took place in the same world, I wasn’t expecting to see so many familiar terms and elements and it was such a great surprise as I read. The ending of this one was the absolute best part for me, leaving me actually gasping with excitement about the way things connected. The epilogue was also written in the same format as The Bone Houses, which was just so much fun. It was a nice little gift to the “dedicated” reader and it tied the two together so beautifully.
Some may make the case that the protagonist of this book is Mer. However, I’d make the case that there is no true “main character.” It follows a group of characters that almost all hold equal importance to the story. There are a few “honorable mentions” of sorts, and Trefor (the corgi who, in my opinion, was the best character in the book), but for the most part, each person contributes the same amount to the plot.
The plot – oh, the plot. If you’re of the frame of mind that thinks “if you’ve read one heist book, you’ve read them all,” you are wrong. This heist book is unlike any other. It takes you for a wild ride. It makes you think you know what’s coming and then surprises the heck out of you. It makes you love morally gray characters. It will have you sneezing like Trefor at all of the magic. It’s incredible.
This book is such a quick and easy read, but it won’t quickly or easily leave your mind. I read it in just over a day and enjoyed every second of it. I honestly didn’t want it to end. Let it be known that Emily’s books are the epitome of comfort-reads! I could pick them up again and again and find something new every time.