16 July 2015


Author: Naomi Novik
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Verdict: Buy

Everything about this story is wonderful.  The cover?  Yes please?  The story?  Yes ma'am.  The characters?  We could be friends.  The folklore?  Reminds me of my childhood tales, with a Brothers Grimm type twist.  The magic?  Oh, fun!

It is always a girl with the most something that is selected by the Dragon to go live in the tower.  Though the girls all swear he never touches them when they return years later, it still changes their lives forever.  Still, Agnieszka is not worried, because her best friend is the obvious choice for the Dragon.  Though it saddens her deeply, it lets her life her life up until the ceremonial choosing about as normal as can be.  Until the Dragon comes, and he selects Agnieszka instead, to the shock of everyone in the village.

Enter confusion, a coming of age story, magic, and the wicked woods.  It's a magnificent tale full of suspense and intrigue, and even a bit gruesomeness for good measure as well.  Perhaps the only thing I did not like in this novel is the way that her relationship with the Dragon develops throughout the story.  Not to say that I disapprove of how it ends up, I just thought that parts of their interactions were highly rushed and sudden, seemingly out of character almost, at times.

The story itself is still wonderful, and the writing does not leave much to be desired.  The novel feels perhaps a little long winded towards the end, and I found myself speed reading in certain scenes towards the end, but I wouldn't say it takes away from the story.  It's a story that feels true to folklore roots, and is certainly unique to anything I've read recently.

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