Author: Naomi Novik
Publication Date: May 19th, 2015
Synopsis: “Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”
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.
Review: I DNF’d this one. I had high hopes for it being a Beauty and the Beast retelling but I made it 10% into it and went NOPE, NOPE, NOPE. Dragon is an asshole, with a capital A. Let’s be real here, I LIKE jerky, asshole characters, but I do NOT like them as love interests, especially not for teenage girls. Not only is he an asshole he is abusive, seriously one of the most abusive ‘heroes’ I have seen in a YA book in a LONG time. I can’t even get into the all the things he did without starting to shake with anger. As someone who suffers from severe PTSD from abuse this shit just isn’t cool and needs to gtfo of my face and out of YA books. STOP GIVING TEEN GIRLS ABUSIVE LOVE INTERESTS AND TRYING TO PASS IT OFF AS A HEALTHY GOOD RELATIONSHIP. STOP THAT SHIT. THINK ABOUT THE MESSAGE YOU ARE SENDING TO YOUNG WOMEN. Then there was the attempted rape scene. Like for real? This girl hasn’t been through enough and you throw that in there too? Get real.
Recommendation: Nope there are better B&B retellings out there