A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees
Genre – Young Adult Fantasy
Summary – “Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”
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, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling 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 Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.
Initial Thoughts – If you are in need of a classic fantasy novel, this is the one for you. It has the princesses and princes, wizards and witches, good and evil, and anything else you could want in a fantasy novel.
Plot – ★★★★★ Once we got past the introduction of the story, there was never a point in the book where Agneishzka and The Dragon weren’t in a battle against the Woods. This novel had bloody battles, intense magic, and brave explorations. It was terrifyingly exciting.
Characters – ★★★★★ I loved Agnieshzka’s bravery and loyalty. Though she was a little dumb or clueless in the beginning, she grew as she better understood the world around her. The Dragon was an asshole for the only purpose of being an asshole, yet somehow I still loved him too.
Story world – ★★★★★ The story world was amazing in this novel, specifically the Woods. It was haunting, but intelligent, making me feel like there was someone watching me as I read the book.
Style – ★★★★☆ Novik’s writing style is perfect for fantasy, with the beautiful prose and detailed descriptions. I thought some of the descriptions were just a little long, but other than that, it was perfection.
Closing Thoughts – While reading this novel, you will realize that this is the fantasy book you have been waiting for. It is everything the genre needs.
Recommendation – Recommended for lovers of the medieval age, haunting magic, and intense battles.