Published by flux Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Source: Paperback from publisher
When an assassin kills Princess Jiara’s older sister Scilla, her vengeful ghost is doomed to walk their city of glittering canals, tormenting loved ones until the murderer is brought to justice. While the entire kingdom mourns, Scilla’s betrothed arrives and requests that seventeen-year-old Jiara take her sister’s place as his bride to confirm the alliance between their countries.
Marrying the young king intended for her sister and traveling to his distant home is distressing enough, but with dyslexia and years of scholarly struggles, Jiara abandoned any hope of learning other languages long ago. She’s terrified of life in a foreign land where she’ll be unable to communicate.
Then Jiara discovers evidence that her sister’s assassin comes from the king’s own country. If she marries the king, Jiara can hunt the murderer and release her family from Scilla’s ghost, whose thirst for blood mounts every day. To save her family, Jiara must find her sister’s killer . . . before he murders her too.
A Dragonbird in the Fern is a young adult fantasy by Laura Rueckert. I really enjoyed A Dragonbird in the Fern. I thought it was an easy and fun read. Though this book is a standalone, I’m not sure if there will be more books in this world. I am personally hoping to see another story or two set in this fantasy world that Laura Rueckert has created. I found this book to be a quick read, which is great for someone looking to dive into a standalone fantasy. I also loved the dyslexia rep found in this book.
In A Dragonbird in the Fern, we meet our main character Princes Jiara, who is set on avenging the death of her sister and finding her murderer. Her sister was to be married to the young king Raffar. When Jiara discovers a tattoo which links the murder to King Raffar’s land, she decides to take her sisters place and marry the King so she can continue on with her investigation. Jiara faces plenty of obstacles. She is a stranger in a strange land where she does not speak the language and has to deal with dyslexia to boot. I enjoyed watching Jiara and Raffar try to figure things out between the two of them. The language and dyslexia elements made their interactions even more interesting. I think even more interesting than the ghost plot (more on that in a second) I loved learning about the differing customs and traditions of the two kingdoms and seeing how Jiara and Raffar dealt with learning about those differences. I thought Laura Rueckert did an excellent job on giving us great cultural details throughout the book.
But this is no simple love story. Oh, no, there is a war brewing between kingdoms and ghosts afoot! Jiara’s sister, Scilla became an Earthwalker when she was murdered, which is a type of ghost or spirit, and she is haunting the land unable to rest until her killer is found. There is a lot packed into this book that I didn’t think there was ever a dull moment. The pace is fast, and at times I felt like some of the details were glossed over, and I found myself wishing for a little more detail in the characters and some of the events, but overall I had a great time reading A Dragonbird in the Fern.