Tess of the Road #2

In the Serpent’s Wake by Rachel Hartman

Publication Date: February 1, 2022

Summary from GoodReads:


At the bottom of the world lies a Serpent, the last of its kind.
Finding the Serpent will change lives.

Tess is a girl on a mission to save a friend.
Spira is a dragon seeking a new identity.
Marga is a woman staking her claim on a man’s world.
Jacomo is a priest searching for his soul.

There are those who would give their lives to keep it hidden.
And those who would destroy it.

But the only people who will truly find the Serpent are those who have awakened to the world around them—with eyes open to the wondrous, the terrible, and the just.

This is a sequel to a book and I promise I won’t spoil anything from book one. If you would like to read my review of Tess of the Road you can find it here.

It has been a very long four year wait for this book. I was hoping that it would be every bit as wonderful as the first book, but alas it was not meant to be. I did like some parts but on the whole it was slow moving, had a very muddy plot and didn’t seem to have a definitive ending.

I think my main issue with this book was the multiple points of view, there were just way too many and I had a little trouble remembering who was who and their purpose in the overall plot.

I think Tess may have had the majority of the chapters and for the most part I enjoyed those. I still really like Tess and although she does continue to grow and learn in this book, she doesn’t seem to get as far. There were also a few times when I wasn’t sure of her and her motives to do what she did. She does continue to struggle with her past and with her current companion’s connections to it. It was good to see that she is able to come to terms with all of it by the end. It was also good to see her making friends and learning to trust others again.

The plot was difficult to understand, there was a lot that was going on with many subplots that at times didn’t seem connected. There were themes of colonization, genocide, social justice issues, racism and the marginalization of cultures. The writing was of course beautiful, but it seemed to lack the emotional aspects that I found so wonderful in the first book. I was also disappointed that we never seemed to attain Tess and Pathka’s mission, which I thought was the whole point of Tess’s journey this time. The ending makes me think that there might be another book, as this one felt unfinished.

I keep thinking I might have enjoyed this one more if I had reread the first book. But I am not sure that would have made a difference. If there is a third book I will probably read both of these again. I just hope we don’t have to wait another 4 years.

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