Synopsis: The valley Agnieszka lives in is surrounded by the Woods. The Woods and its creatures haunt her people, occasionally stealing men and women away to never return them. The Dragon, a man who lives in a far-off tower and protects the valley from the Woods, comes once every ten years and takes a girl from her family. No one knows what he does with them, but they return ten years later, in time for the next girl to be taken. Each woman returns slightly altered, prettier and uppity. Every woman returns home only to leave home again, wanting more than what their town can offer them.
It is Agnieszka’s seventeenth year, and it is time for the Dragon to take his next girl. Everyone knows that it is going to be Agnieszka’s best friend, Kasia, the prettiest, most poised young woman in the valley. All are shocked, Agnieszka espicially, when the Dragon doesn’t choose Kasia, but chooses to take her instead. In moments she is swept away to the far-off tower where she and the Dragon both discover that there is something very different about her compared to the rest of the girls he has chosen to take in the past. Agnieszka has magic in her veins, a magic that is old and confusing to the Dragon and his own magic.
When the Woods begin attacking at a more rapid speed, can the two of them work together to stop it? Or will their entire valley be consumed?
Review: This novel reminded me of how little fantasy I actually read. I mean, like real fantasy. It was a much needed read, as I just haven’t read a good, long fantasy book in a while. Its actually in the 400 page range, but I think it felt much longer because it did not have that much dialogue. There was just so much description and action, that dialogue was placed sparingly, espicially compared to most novels today, which sometimes seem to be all dialogue.
The characters sometimes fell a little flat for me, seeming, at times, one-dimensional. There was more under the surface for each character, but none of them stuck out to me as all that amazing. Nothing specific annoyed me about them, but none of them became favorite characters, either.
I enjoyed the love story. It was slow-going and tense, but it worked out in the end. I enjoyed how slow-going it was. It gave the characters time to know each other and not have insta-love. I do feel like The Dragon should have majorly worked on his anger-issues before getting into a relationship. That would probably be my one major complaint about the book.
The writing, at times, was absolute perfection. Such beautiful details and wording. There were, however, some awkwardly phrased sentences that threw me out of the story at times. I had to reread them a few times before understanding and being able to move on. There weren’t too many of these, but there were enough for me to notice it.
The plot was fast-paced, moving quickly from one happening to the next. There was truly never a dull moment in this novel. The world-building was really great as well. I would love more from this world, but I don’t know if we’re going to get it, as I believe this is a stand-alone.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. It reminded me that I need to read more fantasy. I would suggest for those looking for a good fantasy novel, for those looking for a novel with a really cool magic system, or for those looking for a book that a lot of people have been talking about recently.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Cups of Tea