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Publisher's Summary

Meet Tess, a brave new heroine from beloved epic fantasy author Rachel Hartman.

In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons can be whomever they choose. Tess is none of these things. Tess is...different. She speaks out of turn, has wild ideas, and can't seem to keep out of trouble. Then Tess goes too far. What she's done is so disgraceful, she can't even allow herself to think of it. Unfortunately, the past cannot be ignored. So Tess's family decide the only path for her is a nunnery.

But on the day she is to join the nuns, Tess chooses a different path for herself. She cuts her hair, pulls on her boots, and sets out on a journey. She's not running away, she's running towards something. What that something is, she doesn't know. Tess just knows that the open road is a map to somewhere else - a life where she might belong.

Returning to the spellbinding world of the Southlands she created in the award-winning, New York Times best-selling novel Seraphina, Rachel Hartman explores self-reliance and redemption in this wholly original fantasy.  

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2018 Rachel Hartman (P)2018 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

"In her triumphant return to the world of Seraphina (2012), Hartman introduces Tess Dombegh, one of Seraphina’s stepsiblings.... This is a perfect example of a familiar fantasy trope being given new dimension through empathetic characters and exquisite storytelling. At first appearing bitter and self-pitying, Tess reveals compassion, courage, and resilience on her journey, which is as emotional and spiritual as it is physical. This achingly real portrayal of a young woman whose self-loathing takes help to heal is a perceptive examination of rape culture rare in high fantasy. Not to be ignored, this is also a fascinating road trip adventure. Absolutely essential." (Booklist)

"Hartman returns to Goredd with the tale of another young woman who breaks the rules in search of herself. Now 17, haunted by past mistakes, immersed in self-denial and the need to follow 'proper' behavior, white Tess - who once befriended lizardlike Quigutl and secretly attended lectures - is miserable. Angry, bitter Tess has reason for her feelings but is not always easy to walk with, and the slow reveal of her past makes for a compelling read on the ways in which girls - in the quasi-Renaissance Goredd and also in the real world - are taught to take blame on themselves even when others are culpable. Like Tess' journey, surprising, rewarding, and enlightening, both a fantasy adventure and a meta discourse on consent, shame, and female empowerment." (Kirkus Reviews)

  "[Narrator Katharine] McEwan handles the many invented words and the lisping speech of Tess's quig friend, Pathka, with aplomb. McEwan is an empathetic guide as Tess begins an epic journey both literal and emotional, one that gradually exposes the roots of her anger and hurt. Tess's journey is deeply affecting, and listeners will be glad to have traveled the road with her." (AudioFile)  

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Fanstinkimgtastic

Deep
Intuitive
Covered a wide breadth of emotion, thought, and senses.
Resonant
I am grateful

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent!

Wonderful coming of age story. I especially enjoyed walking along side Tess while she grew into a beautiful and confident young woman.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Tess of the Road

I love the narrator so much so I had to listen to this! I do think it's about 100 pages too long and some parts of the plot didn't seem necessary but I love how much emotion and growth in Tess's journey and also Pathka being one amazing creature! If you love more character stories and great writing you'll enjoy this :)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic character arc!

I loved this book! It would be especially illuminating for teenage girls and younger women, not because of the level of the writing but because of the personal growth the main character goes through. I've read books with a similar coming of age theme about boys dozens of times, but rarely do books about female characters get this deeply revealing of the burdens women bear especially in repressive societies. There are also fun linguistics and interspecies communication details. One of the fantasy books I've enjoyed the most in recent years!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Fascinating Adventure . I listened twice

The characters and plot are engaging and compelling. My second listening experience was filled with details and nuances missed the first time. The ending is satisfying but I hope Tess's adventure continues in a second book. She is a character I would like to learn more about and her next adventure would certainly include the sea with a new and expanded set of characters, cultures and continents.
Thank You Ms Hartman for a great read/listen and wonderful narration by Ms McEwan

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  • 05-10-18

wast of money and time

This book is super boring and jumps around so it was hard to follow. Couldn't finish.

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An example of what fantasy can do best

What did you love best about Tess of the Road?

If you liked Seraphina, I cannot recommend this enough! This book manages to do what the best fantasy does: take its readers on a fascinating, magical journey, and delve into what makes us truly human. Tess of the Road is a beautiful story of what it means to work through one's past and turn those terrible experiences into wisdom. I would hand this to older teens and adults.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Tess of the Road?

Tess' epiphany toward the end of the book, a well-earned look back on her life and the choices she made versus those made for her.

Have you listened to any of Katharine McEwan’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes--they are equally wonderful

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I really loved the whole book, but was especially moved by the end.

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An Excellent Escape

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This story was so engaging! Redemption is so difficult to capture, and Tess is a character you can root for.

What other book might you compare Tess of the Road to and why?

Of course Seraphina and Shadow and Scale, but also books like Junie B. Jones and Ramona because younger Tess has that impulsiveness and curious outlook.

What does Katharine McEwan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her voices, emotions, and rhythm is fantastic. I love how she voiced Seraphina, and it gave the world a dimension I can’t live without.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes! I finished it in two days.

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Loved it,

This went to my favorites list. I loved the story and narration!

I look forward to the next book!

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Tess is my new hero...

What a story! My nose is usually stuck in a non fiction book but I wanted to disappear into a story like my dad would read to me when I was a little girl (usually The Hobbit or 10,000 Leagues Under the Sea). This story brought be back to those story telling days and warmed my heart in immeasurable ways. The adventures helped her work through so many demons, anxieties and family expectations...I needed to hear this. This is a story to read to your little girl and little boy. What a role model, with her mistakes, admissions, and heartfelt choices. I miss Tess. I can’t wait to hear about her next adventures.