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.
OH MY GOD A DRAGON. A TERRIBLE DRAGON WHO KIDNAPS A VILLAGE’S BEAUTIFUL YOUNG GIRLS. DO THEY GET EATEN?! DO THEY GET TORTURED?!!! WHAT IS THEIR TERRIBLE FATE?!
“They forget how to live here…[they] remember to be afraid,” my father said. That was all.
Then they took their dowry-silver and left. Mostly they would go to Kralia and go to the University. Often as not they married some city man, and otherwise they became scholars or shopkeepers.
Are you fucking kidding me? *seethes*
I swear to god I’m the only one in the world who didn’t think this book is THE BESTEST MOST SPECIALEST WONDERFULEST BOOK EVER. For god’s sake, Emily May loved it, and I highly respect her opinion, but this book is one case where we will have to agree to disagree.
Frankly, I have no idea why everyone loved this book and thought it was so wonderful. The main character is every bit of a Speshul Snowflake Mary Sue. The “Dragon” (so very disappointing) is an asshole of the Fever sort, the kind I deem Jericho-Fucking-Barrons, a term used to describe an asshole who is an asshole only for the sake of being an asshole. He’s grumpy, he’s grouchy, he is a huge fucking condescending thundercunt of a douchebag just for the plain old reason that he wants to be one.
He was irritated with me every time I came into his library, even on the few days that I managed to keep myself in good order: as though I were coming to annoy and interrupt him, instead of him tormenting and using me. And when he had finished working his magic through me and left me crumpled on the floor, he would scowl down at me and call me useless.
Let’s get one thing straight. I like assholes (sometimes), but they have to have character. For example, Dr. House. He is filled with snark. He is a jerk. He’s oftentimes despicable, but there’s a spark in him, a humanity in him that lets me love him and appreciate him no matter what despicable things that comes out of his mouth, because, under it all (and you seriously have to look deep), he is a human being with a good purpose, no matter how harsh his methods.
Once again, I like assholes. I like anti-heroes, but they have to self-redeeming. The “Dragon” in this book is none such.
Ok, back to the plot. It sucked. I didn’t really read the synopsis, but I know there was a dragon who kidnapped girls in it. Surely a terrible fate, right?! EEEEEEEEEEHHHN. Wrong. Look at the quote at the beginning of my review. Essentially the girls are “kidnapped” by said “Dragon” (keep in mind I used quotation marks around dragon), they’re educated, they become well-read, and they want to spread their wings. They’re given shit tons of money to make a better life for themselves.
Terrifying. Absolutely fucking terrifying. I’m quivering in my boots.
The world building is your standard generic fantasy fare. Monsters. Kings. Princes. But the magic. The fucking magic, man.It just highlights what a special freaking snowflake the main character is. There is nothing to catch the imagination. If I shouted out “Merde!!!!” and butterflies burst into the air and a rainbow forms at my feet, it would essentially be as magical as the shit in this book.
I whispered, “Kalikual.”
The power rushed out of me.
Foreign words!!!! So magical!!!one!1
The main character, Agnieszka, is seriously nothing new. You have read countless incarnations of her in every shitty YA book ever written because she’s a special, special girl who doesn’t know how special she is. She’s just so ordinary and adorably clumsy and plain, y’all! The Dragon always, always takes the most special girl!
The Dragon didn’t always take the prettiest girl, but he always took the most special one, somehow.
😐 <- this is my surprised face.
And Ag-noying (my new name for her) is just so…so…ordinary!
At seventeen I was still a too-skinny colt of a girl with big feet and tangled dirt-brown hair, and my only gift, if you could call it that, was I would tear or stain or lose anything put on me between the hours of one day.
You don’t say!
But of course, there’s more to Ag-noying than meets the eye, why, she’s got magical power that’s just waiting to burst from her like a rose from a fermenting pile of steaming poop.
My strength welled up through my body and fountained out of my mouth, and where it left me, a trembling in the air began and went curling down around my body in a spiraling path.
Yeah, yeah. I’ve read this shit before, and I say no, thank you. I like my main characters average, thank you very much. I like my “Dragons” with humanity.
1 star is a bit harsh, but for all the hype, this book let me down tremendously.