This is a quite charming fantasy. The world is much richer than I originally expected in the first few chapters. Yet the plot does not live up to what the world can offer.
What I means is that Dragonswood does try to weave a complex, intricate story, but I still find the story somewhat lacking. The complexity is... simple (as much contradictory as it may sound). Tess is an interesting girl, but her trauma of child abuse and then worry about family and so on, do not seem real for me. All seems... fake. And then there is a whole convenient solution at the end of the book. It appears to me that the book has to stop at 400 pages and that's why it ends quite inconvincingly. There is also an imbalance between treatments of characters. Tess is the protagonist, right, but other supporting roles should have received their due respects, too.
Still, it's not a bad story. I still enjoy it. But well, the feeling after reading this book is just like: phew! That's it and no yearning for more. Sth like that.