“The Drowned Woods” by Emily Lloyd-Jones, Narrated by Moira Quirk #BookReview

Georgia Kostopoulou


I hadn’t read a good elemental magic book in a while and therefore I was so excited when I came across this one on NetGalley. The fact that I got the audiobook ARC made it so much more compelling to read! I haven’t regret it for a moment!

The book is actually a retelling of Welsh mythology, a story that I was not aware before reading it. Therefore I had no expectations with respect to that story. My expectations were on the actual plot, the story itself and how much it could hold my attention, as well as to the characters and the magic used, and I have to say I enjoyed it!

Mer, or Mererid, was born with an ability not common to people. Ever since she was a little child, she could manipulate the water. Her family made sure this was a truth well hidden, until one day, a child’s life was in danger and Mer tamed the river and saved the child. After that event nothing was the same, nothing was simple in Mer’s life. The people in the village called her other-touched, because of her magic. She was soon taken away from her family, by the King’s spy-master himself and Mer became one of the tools in Prince Garanhir’s hand. He used Mer’s ability to fight his wars. Mer would find clean water sources used by the enemy, and the Prince’s men would poison them. Mer did not know at the time that so many civilians were dying because of her, but when she found out, she used all the training the spy-master had given her and ran away. But that was not enough, as soldiers as well as the spy-master himself came for her. The soldiers wanted to return her to Prince Garanhir, while the spy-master wanted her aid on a heist. He planned on robbing the prince of all his wealth that was hidden in a magical well, only a water diviner, like Mer, could find. Mer had some really good reasons to take part in this venture.

Fane was just a normal boy growing up. He had nothing different to the rest of the children in their village. Until one day, soldiers destroyed his family. They made a request to Fane’s father, which he refused, of course, and so the soldiers killed him and his wife. That was the turning point for Fane. He went to the otherfolk, making a deal so as to be able to kill the seven men that killed his parents and get his revenge. The otherfolk, the fae that is, agreed to his request and grand him the magical power he needed. Seven years of service for seven lives. That was the deal and that is what brought Fane in Mer’s path. He was the muscle they needed for the heist. And he brought a friend with him. Trefor the corgi was Fane’s companion and a dog that may or not be a spy!

Like I said, I really enjoyed this book! Elemental magic is a favourite of mine! The way it was incorporated into this story, along with the otherfolk and the way magic worked in this world made it all the more wonderful to read. It was a nice touch to have people being born with magical abilities, like Mer the water diviner, and also being able to get them from the fae through bargains. This way we had two different paths for those that wielded magic, with only one being available for a lifetime or without a need to pay something back. It was interesting how renege was the one thing that brought Mer and Fane together. Mer decided to take part in the heist to revenge Prince Garanhir for what he made her do, while Fane got his magic while seeking revenge, a revenge he actually regretted. So, as you can understand, the worldbuilding was to my liking in this one!

As was the plot! The backstories of the characters were really good and showed all the emotions that were holding them captive, until they were all unleashed and free to follow their paths! The heist had a pretty solid ground too. There were secrets that were not revealed to all, just like what is needed in a good heist plan. Not all the people that were taking part knew each other in advance and that made it easier to have all the secrets and the tricky parts that added to the story.

The narrator has done a very good job indeed. It was very easy to understand which character was talking, as there were different accents and different voice tones for the different characters. The Welsh accent was of course the leading one here and it was more than enjoyable!

Thank you to NetGalley & Hodder & Stoughton Audio, Hodder & Stoughton for an advance copy of this book. The views expressed are my personal and honest opinion.


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