There was a song in this forest, too, but it was a savage song, whispering of madness and tearing and rage.
Author: Naomi Novik
Page Count: 435 pages
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★.5
Publisher: Del Rey, an imprint of Penguin Random House
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Buy It: Chapters Indigo // Book Depository
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 the prose! The prose in this book captured me completely!
Even though Agnieszka (ag-NYESH-kah) was a difficult character for me to relate to she really grew on me throughout the book! I cringed every time she complained about acquiring powers I only dream of having. Girl! If I found out I had magical powers there would be no complaining, I would want to know all the spells. But she really grew as a character which is the most redeeming quality a character can have. I loved her. When I do a re-read I know that it’ll be a different view for me and I’ll love her even more.
As someone with a European background I enjoyed the nod to Baba Jaga (Baba Roga in Serbian) and the hall of wizards, Charovnikov (Carbonjak means wizard in Serbian). I love the vivid description of the Wood and the imagery Naomi Novik brings to her world impressed me. She well deserves the 2015 Nebula awarded for Best Novel. I cannot wait to read more by her.
Overall, I would recommend this book to any YA/adult fantasy reader. It was unique and didn’t follow the typical plot line that you may expect of this genre. Give it a read! It’ll take you into a new world.