This is another fantasy novel that I have heard amazing things about. I’m glad I’ve gotten this chance to reconnect with this genre; much of my reading consists of psychological thrillers or murder mysteries so it is nice to come back to my favorite childhood genre.
In Nieshka’s village, the Dragon, a powerful wizard, comes down once every ten years to select one girl to live with him. After a decade, he releases her completely unharmed but irreversibly changed. Although the girls who are taken looks happy and healthy, they never stays long in the village; instead, they make their way to the court and lives a new life. Although the villagers are loathe to give up their daughters to this man, they know that the Dragon is the only form of defense they have against the corrupted Wood. This year, Nieshka and her best friend, Kasia, must stand along with other girls to be inspected by the Dragon. Everyone knows that it will be beautiful and perfect Kasia who will be chosen. So when Nieshka is selected instead, everyone is shocked. Nieshka herself barely has any time to think as she is carried away to the Dragon’s tower. Upon arrival, she thinks that her life in the tower will be filled with days of cooking and cleaning. Never could she have predicted what the Dragon would have in mind.
I had moments where I absolutely loved this novel and parts where I really didn’t enjoy it. I had a love-hate relationship with the main characters in this book. Nieshka has a lot of gumption but she isn’t as smart as I wish she would be. The Dragon is quite verbally abusive, which made me really not like the growth of the relationship between Nieshka and him (even though I knew it would happen). But I really liked the story and I loved the plot progression and I loved how strong and powerful Nieshka became at the end. The ending was perfect and this is a great stand-alone work. I cannot wait to read more by this author and I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good fantasy novel!