Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: Young Adult (?), High Fantasy, General perfection
Published: May 19, 2015 by Del Ray
“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.
- Polish legend-ry perfection. Legends, myths, fairy tales, I LOVE THEM ALL. This tale is spun and weaved with ancient stories and the fact that they are unfamiliar to me only makes in more unbearably DELIGHTFUL.
- There’s a (sort of) Beauty & the Beast romance. Basically, they hate each other (ish) and he is mean (ish) but then they realize it is actually because they are trying to fight there maddening feelings of romance so HA. Plus he traps her in his tower. So there’s that. (DO YOU NOT SEE WHY I LOVE IT??)
- THE WOOD IS SO CREEPY AND DELICIOUS. Basically, the “villain” in this story is The Wood, which is basically a living, breathing, evil forest. Essentially it’s normal nature on crack. So.
- The book is narrated by Agnieszka who is a clumsy baffon who is constantly a mess. LIKE ME! She is forced into this situation where she most be strong, she must be brave, so she has quite a journey, quite a transformation. And guess what? I LOVE IT SO DEARLY.
- Oh, the writing. Mythical and magical and full of life. The words are moving, they breathe with the story, they slither and dance across the pages, they smell like dust and feel like velvet and they never let you go.
- The plot? THE PLOT? So intense. It’s all a domino effect, growing bigger, into a madder mess, into a glorious tradgedy, into a heartbreaking hope. There is so much happening, there is so much you are trying to grasp, you are overwhelmed but it’s LOVELY, you are overwhelmed, but you don’t want to let go.
- THERE IS MAGIC. That should really be all I need to say in order for you to drop your iced coffee and go read this masterpiece.
- The world is an absolute mess (and least in the beginning of the tale), but I want to live there. I want to live there because every character is my new best friend. Especially the Dragon. We’re tight. In my mind. In my mind we’re tight.
- DON’T BE A SANCTIMONIOUS PIRATE, READ THIS BOOK.
JUST KIDDING LOVE YOU.
But please read.
I will bake you a pie. Perhaps also a biscuit.
What magical books have you read recently? Any high fantasy recommendations? Do you prefer magic in your books or real-life situations?