To me, water divining but also water magic has been something I’ve always been fascinated by. So when I heard about The Drowned Woods which features this magic and has her the last of the water diviners, I knew I had to read it. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
The Drowned Woods is a book that crept up on me. If you love the idea of a group heist – a series of unlikely temporary allies coming together – then this is for you! Within The Drowned Woods there are puzzle like riddles, adventures which will demand us to face our fears, and more. The adventure felt fast paced, a strong and fast current which pulls us out to sea. If you love this idea of lore and magic intertwining with adventure hunting, The Drowned Woods delivers.
The characters were my favorite element. I loved not only Mer’s powers, but how she has to come to terms with her past. How as a child she was socialized and taught to deny it, and then to use it purely for power, but how she has never really been able to sit with it. To be who she is without fear or with abandon. Added to that, Mer meets Fane who is a POV who quickly charmed me. I love the tension Lloyd-Jones created with the reveals and secrets.
Throughout The Drowned Woods, both Mer and Fane have to grapple with revenge. If they become possessed by it, will it change them into someone else unrecognizable? To end up losing everything we are fighting so hard to hold onto. They both ultimately have to deal with their powers. How they can be used for good, while also having unintended consequences and forced to hurt.
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Within The Drowned Woods, there’s a steady pace of action. Of the jagged edges of characters coming together. And once you get to the end, you are not going to be able to put this book down. There were moments that re-invigorated my love for this book which feels expansive and immersive. If you love the premise, and also the idea of a group heist and banter, then find The Drowned Woods on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.