Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: Adventure, Magic, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
Her people rely on the cold, ambitious wizard, known only as the Dragon, to keep the wood’s powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman must be handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as being lost to the wood.
The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows – everyone knows – that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia – all the things Agnieszka isn’t – and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.
But no one can predict how or why the Dragon chooses a girl. And when he comes, it is not Kasia he will take with him.
From the author of the Temeraire series comes this hugely imaginative, engrossing and vivid fantasy novel, inspired by folk and fairy tales. It is perfect reading for fans of Robin Hobb and Trudi Canavan.
My first reaction when I finally finished reading this book:
And this is coming from a person who is fed up with all the book series that are all the hype these days mainly because it means I have to buy more books that I already do not have room for in my tiny apartment 😄
Well, it’s not very often that I find a book that amazes me right off the bat, which then results in a few sleepless nights because I just can’t put the fucking book down. Seriously though, this book had me abso-fucking-lutely in love with it from the start. It starts off like the summary says, a mysterious wizard taking girls from the valley every ten years, which results in people being terribly afraid of him.
It sounds very Beauty and Beast-ish at first (at least to me, but then I may be influenced by all the Beauty and the Beast retellings I’ve read lately lol), but there’s a deeper plot to be uncovered as you go along, involving a deliciously creepy Wood which maaay have scared me out of my wits once or twice while I huddled in the dark and read on and on into the wee hours of the night.
Warning: Don’t read this if you’re not a fast reader or cannot function on very little sleep or if you have huge deadlines looming over you at work or school. This book has a magic of its own, whispering little things such as “Keep reading, keep on going, just one more page! Who needs to work or eat or sleep, you gotta know what happens next!!” Please go and take a vacation instead and savor each and every page because it’s so, so worth it.
(Buuut of course I listened to the little voice and hence spent the next few days in zombie mode at work. It’s amazing that I even managed to get to work in my state. Lol)
I love, love, love the characters so much that I want to go to the author and beg for more because Agnieszka and the Dragon are such lovely, flawed characters that I fell in love with right at the start. For starters, the Dragon is not charming AT ALL, he’s grumpy and irritable and speaks harshly and doesn’t give a flying fuck about what people think about him. Agnieszka isn’t charming at all either. Even though she’s scared out of her wits after being whisked away by the Dragon, she refuses to follow his every command and even goes out of her way to look as messy as possible, much to the consternation of the Dragon (who is a neat freak).
But I looove them (I think I’ve mentioned that several times now but I don’t caaare). They may not be charming and perfect characters but they’re witty and funny (despite all the darkness in this book lol) and quite lovable.
There’s so much more to this story but it would probably mean I’d have to write down spoilers, and I refuse to do that because you definitely have to read this book and enjoy it to its fullest.
Just imagine this: A creepy,evil Wood creeping into their world. A messy, klutzy girl and a powerful magician known only as the Dragon. Princes and mysteries and creepy creatures that corrupt and steal and kill. Can it sound any more interesting than that?
Go and read it! You know you want tooooo~