By: Naomi Novik
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
“‘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.”
I wasn’t properly prepared when I went into this book. I was expecting something light and fluffy, a fairytale retelling of the Beauty and the Beast that would feed my nostalgia and eventually force me to rewatch the Disney adaptation. What I got instead was a roller coaster ride filled with twists and turns that left me dizzy by the last page. I got a beast that sucked me in on page one and then spit me back out again, leaving me to tend to my feelings in my semi-irrational state. I don’t think I properly have the words to describe how much I love this book so please excuse my lunatic ramblings below.