Tag Line: Fairytales, magic, and a deadly woodland combine to create a powerhouse of a novel!
Plot: "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. " (Goodreads)
I found this book to be a very conflicting with all of its components. The book begins with a very slow pace that takes about 200 pages to fully transition into the powerful and swift moving book that it is. A major issue that I have with many novels is not feeling any sort of connection with the characters, something I was fearing that this book would be lacking, however by the end I found myself caring for every single character in this novel! I had some special connections with the Dragon and Agnieska, they had a certain spunk and tenacity that I have never seen within any character; they are a powerhouse that is not afraid to take on the Woods and bring safety back to their community. The Dragon began as a dislikable and aloof character that I was prepared to hate, however his motivations are slowly revealed throughout the novel and he became a "friend" of mine within this strange and dangerous world.
The magic system that was utilized in the novel grounded the story for me, before the magic was introduced I feared that it would be boring and slow all the way through. The magic system is a combination of illusion and deadly force, which is not anything that I have ever read about! Using the powers to fight a deadly and malevolent Wood immersed me in this novel because of my personal connection to the outdoors and the trees in particular. As a biology major with a concentration in environmental sciences I have to be out in the field and work with nature, after reading this novel I may feel a little unnerved with any trees that stand tall with a silvery bark as we see in the Mother Trees.
While playful and unique, this book delivers its full force after the halfway mark! Again as I said previously the beginning is very slow and quite dull. The second half of the novel takes on a break neck speed with a very fun and dark twist that turned this entire book around for me! I love books that can evoke an emotion and atmospheric feeling, while I was reading this book I was able to feel unnerving bliss similar to what I remember when fairytales were read to me when I was a child.
- Sporadic pace changes
- Battle scenes with too much detail
- I am all for a vvid and luscious writing style, however when I read this battle scene which is around 50 pages in the second half of the book I found it too dense and quite confusing at times.
- Taking a while to feel a true connection with characters.
- I would like to have a sequel.
- Lush and immersive writing style.
- Atmosphere and character building
- reimagining a fairytale that was previously written
- Incorporating the Nordic and Swedish elements into a fantasy novel
Booktube SFF Award Thoughts:
I read this book for the Booktube SFF Awards show on YouTube, I am glad to have picked up this novel! I will not be voting for this novel in the awards solely because I liked another more, hwever this book has some amazing aspects that came together into a wonderfully fun novel.
Star Rating: 4/5
Keep your eyes on the blog for a bonus post later today! I will has a photoshoot up with the book Uprooted.