STAR RATING: 5 stars
PAGE LENGTH: 352 pages
WHAT SERIES? This is a standalone, but set in the same world as The Bone Houses.
CW: Blood, violence
IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Thank you to Netgalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.


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.

Have you ever read a book and known within the first few pages that it’s going to be a favorite? That was me with The Drowned Woods. Lloyd-Jones has a way with words — her writing is simple, but not stupid, and lyrical and descriptive enough that you feel as if you are right alongside the characters. The basic gist of the story is this — our main cast of characters have to destroy a magical well to break the evil prince’s hold on the land. To put it simply — The Drowned Woods is part fairy-tale and part heist novel.

The plot is rather simple, but there’s no need for it to be incredibly complicated. (And, not to mention, this is technically a YA novel.) What Lloyd-Jones has done works. She brings together a memorable cast of characters and lets them tell the story.

There’s Mer, the water diviner — someone who can sense and manipulate water. She’s got some serious baggage, with good reason. She’s frequently quite prickly, and slow to trust after being betrayed by someone close to her in the past. There’s Fane, the ironfetch, and his pet corgi, Trefor. Fane was my favorite of the bunch — he is under service to the Fae, and was enchanted by them to be able to sense iron. They “gave” him another power, but I won’t spoil what that is. He spends a good chunk of the novel frequently afraid for everyone else, but he’s rather stoic about it. Trefor is a corgi, and he’s the bestest good boy out there. Other characters include: Ifanna the lady thief, Renfrew the spymaster, Emrick the scholar, and Gryf the…well I’m not going to spoil that, either.

There is a deep betrayal in this novel, that I saw coming, but wanted to pretend that I did not. But ohhhhh, how it hurt when I finally got to it. Ugh.

The Drowned Woods is a fairy-tale type novel (I’m reading a lot of these lately, apparently!) — it is based off of an old Welsh legend or tale, so that explains the general feel of the story. There is incredible magic to this tale, and I’m so, so glad that I got the chance to read this one.


Add to your Goodreads, or preorder at your local indie bookstore, or at the following links:



  1. I really like the sound of this one, but I’ll probably try to read The Bone Houses before I pick it up since it’s been on my shelf for… awhile. I always love an animal companion that *might* not be quite what they seem.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooh, I loved The Bone Houses and the animal companion in that one was so unique. But you had me at part fairy-tale part-heist! 😍 Also, what a stunning cover. I can’t wait to read this!


  3. I don’t read a lot of the fairytale/fantasy type story, but you have hooked me on this one Jordyn. I am going to add this to my wishlist and see if I can fit it in sometime. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s