Series review for “The Dryad Quartet” by Katie Jennings

So, I finished writing my book, which I’ll post in-depth about later, but that has left me with time to READ again! Ah, how wonderful! So I burned through the last two books of the series I’ve been reading for a while, by author Katie Jennings.

Overall I thought this series of four novels called ‘The Dryad Quartet‘ was an uplifting, exciting, and enchanting tale that is sure to warm your heart.

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If you, like me, have been knee-deep in bleak dystopian novels and whiny vampire romances and, like me, have grown utterly tired of that, then I promise you that ‘The Dryad Quartet’ is just the remedy you’ve been looking for. That was the first thing that struck me about the series: I was so relieved and excited to be reading something that was just plain old fun and sweet. I had grown so bored with protagonists who are tough, edgy, and brooding that when I started reading about Capri, the heroine and Air Dryad from book 1, ‘Breath of Air,’ my heart skipped a beat.
I was instantly hooked by this, feeling so completely refreshed to be reading about a character I would actually like to know and be friends with, for a change. Soon I was drawn into the magical floating island of Euphora, home of the Dryads, Furies, Muses, Fates, and Mother Earth herself. Each has their own duty to fulfil in order to keep the world turning. Jennings reveals that she has put her own twist on Greek Mythology in this world she has created. It is one that instantly envelopes the reader and gives a feeling of comfort and luxury. With the elaborate, yet compact, descriptions of the castle, island, and the society that inhabits it, you will begin to feel as if Euphora is your home too, and that these characters, who are so well fleshed-out, are your friends.
But not all is well in paradise! Being a small group, of course many a family drama has developed between the various groups of people. Are there messy romantic entanglements, age-old grudges, long-kept secrets, and bitter enemies? You betcha. Are they all extremely satisfying to read about? Oh, yeah! Jennings has executed these intricate dramas with perfect precision. Each story targets your heart in a different place, and all will hit the mark. What I was so pleased to see, too, is that most of the time, there are no clear “Bad Guys” or “Good Guys” within these dramas. The characters all have reasons for acting the way they do, and the wonderful part about it is that you can see everyone’s side in the disagreements. This also becomes more and more apparent with the shift of protagonists from book to book, especially in the case of Rhiannon, the Earth Dryad. You can easily mistake her for a cold, aloof snoot in books 1 and 2, but once you see things through her eyes, you find the deep heartbreak that causes her actions.
The overarching plot of the antagonist is a fascinating one, too. Dante is not your run-of-the-mill mustache twisting villain, though you could be fooled into thinking that at first. However, starting in “Firefight in Darkness” you begin to see what a deep and twisted character he really is, and when his true motivations are at last unearthed in the final book, your heart will twinge.
The two most obvious drawing points of these books are the romance and the depth of the characters. If you are a reader who enjoys either of these two things, you definitely will want to read these books. The characters are simply unforgettable. I am not generally a person who reads books for romantic plots, but each of the main couples in this series hooked me and wouldn’t let go. I was so enthralled with the couples, who are pleasantly atypical from your mundane romantic pairs. There are REASONS they are together, not just ‘cause they both think the other one is hot. These characters are teams, they complement one another, and as a reader I wanted them all to have happy endings so, so, so badly. They have good dynamics, good rapport, and strengths and weaknesses that make their relationships real. The scenes range from heartwarming to heartrending, and after the rollercoaster of emotions that Jennings takes the reader through, there is a thoroughly satisfying ending.
The characters and how developed they are will appeal greatly to those who love character pieces. It is fascinating to see inside the heads of all these varied characters. You truly get to know them like a family through these four books, which are all perfectly sized and perfectly paced.
Though this is a fantasy series and the elements of the world are unique and interesting, readers searching for a more traditional, setting-focused fantasy may not find what they are looking for, but I’m still confident that it will appeal to most who enjoy the genre. This series is really about the lives of these very interesting cast of characters.

 

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So, if you are hungry for a respite from all the doom and gloom of the recent literary world, I will recommend ‘The Dryad Quartet’ to you a hundred times over. Get to know Liam, Rhiannon, Blythe, and Capri and you will have made four life-long friends that you will never, ever forget.

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