I love reading everything from fantasy to historical romances. On a constant quest for more books to read.
I recieved this ARC from Netgalley and this is my honest Review of this book.
In the kingdom of Polnya the dark and twisted Wood is steadily creeping trying to corrupt more of the land all that keeps it from expanding is the Dragon in his tower.
He is not an actual dragon but a wizard who will take a girl every 10th year away to his tower -to do what no one knows. All the villagers know is that when the young women returns,they are changed and can no longer stay in the village.
Everyone in Dvernik knows he will chose Agniszeiskas friend Kasia. She is the most beautiful and gifted in so many ways. Not like akward Agniszieska who is always tearing her clothes or getting her hair tangled.
So it comes as a shock when at the ceremony Kasia is not chosen-but Agniszieska is.
The Dragon is very brusque with her once she arrives at his tower but as time passes she starts to gain an understanding of him and learns that his purpose for bringing her and the other girls to his tower.
In fact it might change her whole life.For better or worse.
I have to admit that I have never read Naomi Noviks Temeraire series before. So this is my first experience reading this authors work
If I would have to describe this book it would be as Pygmalion ( My Fair Lady but I just love Pygmalion more. It has Leslie Howard.enough said) in medievalish times with magic.
The setting is the kingdom Polnya wich I at first thought as merely a made up land but the mentions of zupan and letnik made me realize that it was reminscient to Poland so I started to think of it as an alternate universe of Poland where magic exists.
There are some niggling things I have to mention that I felt could have been improved on.
Certain characters like Agnszieszkas family well I just wish we had seen more of them more show and less telling would have been preferable.
There were moments when Agniszieska would wonder something to herself,that is in her mind and in the next the Dragon would answer her. I felt it distubed the flow of the scene,like there was a gap or I had missed something.
The Dragon sees magic as something precise like a perfect mechanism or clockwork while Niszheska sees it as a living and changing thing.
The Dragon is a grumpy and oftentimes rude man but at least he is honest. Though truth be told sometimes I wanted Niszekha to slap him.
As for our heroine...Niszeska is very relatable. She might have trouble keeping tidy and but she means well and while she advances quickly in her magic powers she never turns into that dreaded thing:the Mary Sue.
She reminded me of Rhea from "The Seventh Bride" by T.Kingfisher.
When it comes to romances in books there is a plot I dislike immensely and that is the teacher-student as its usually an unequal one so I appreciated that Agniazieska was not very subservient to the Dragon Oh she might have been intimitated by him but she has a will of her own and if anyone instigates things its her.
But I have to say if I had gone in to this expecting a huge sweeping romance I would have been disappointed.There are no "I love you-s" altough there is a sex scene.
Altough that scene at the ending was very moving in its subtle way.
The blurb of the book mentions that its like a Grimm fairytale and I agree that its Grimm..but its also very Grim. The woods is such a creepy place It infects people with its dark magic in horrific ways.
And a fair warning its a bloody book. I am talking Game of Thrones the tvseries bloody.
When they went into the woods I was on the edge of my seat.Thats a good thing for a book.
There are two covers for this book and while the old cover is good and the golden rose on that cover is not a pretty cover thingy but something from the book I will have to say the new one is amazing in its colorful simplicity.The tower looming over the village and casting a shadow on the one house really captures the feeling of the book.
So in the end. This is a good book and if you are in the mood for a dark fairytale with a good dose of female empowerment this is the one for you.