Blurb:“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.
Review: I am sad that this is a stand alone book. I loved the world that Novik created. I love that she had the rules for magic as it was in that time, but she also explains that it evolved from something more ancient. Not necessarily more powerful, just different.
From what I can see from other reviews we have some really mixed opinions of the characters. Some say that Agnieszka is clumsy for no reason and her magic comes out of no where. I disagree. The character is clumsy to provide tension and her magic is different. It’s understandable that it wasn’t easily recognizable. The author explains/shows both these things as the story goes. Then there’s the Dragon, who I personally love. He’s 150 or so years old and he knows exactly who he is. I love that he doesn’t change much and it’s an extremely slow change. If you had over a century to get to know yourself you would be slow to change too. As for Kasia, she was too perfect at first, but she grew on me. Especially towards the end of the book. I actually have to say that she was probably my favorite character.
The only real problem I had was that I wish that the story had been a duology so the events could have been more spread out. The author just shoved so much into this novel and it all takes place in a relatively short time considering that I expected it to take 10+ years. There could have been so much depth to the story if it hadn’t been a standalone novel.
I also that it was cool that I found out much later that this was a re-imagining of Beauty and the Beast. Looking back I can definitely see the similarities, but I love that it wasn’t a glaring rewrite. It was it’s own story inspired by the other. I’m so tired of rewrites that are still so much like the original that I haven’t even started on Marissa Meyer’s series.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 quills.
What did you guys think? What did you like? What did you hate? I really want to know what you guys think.