The goal this year is to clear out some books. My TBR (to be read) pile is huge. It's ridiculous. I can't be trusted in any bookstore, book sale or free book giveaway.
That's just physical books...my e-reading is legit hoarding levels.
I normally keep almost any book I read. I also used to never give up--I'd read the book to the end. Last year I decided it was okay to mark a book as a "did not finish" or DNF. It's truly freeing. This year I decided to start clearing out my bookshelf. It's a bit of a Kon-mari thing. It's not quite the system she has set up because I konmaried my clothes, stationary supplies, shoes, skincare, makeup but hit a HARD wall when it came to books. You can pry my beloved books from my cold, dead hands.
Author: Naomi Novik
Page Number: 435 (hardcover)
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Fiction
Publisher: Del Rey, an imprint of Random House
“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.
But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.
I picked this up at a bookstore. The cover was so pretty (the EU cover is pretty as well, it's below). It's a high fantasy, which I normally love. I think it wavers between Young Adult (YA) and New Adult (NA) and dare I say...maybe even Adult age level.
I think I rated this at 3.5 stars (Goodreads won't let you do half points). I liked it but I didn't love it like I wanted to. I thought it was overly slow (I'm in the minority on this) and suffered from the pissy male lead (the "dragon")/special-but-doesn't-know-it female lead (Agnieszka) issue (again, minority here).
So, it's typical in the sense that the main male character, the "Dragon" (who is not an actual dragon but is a wizard type) is a grumpy jerk-off but he comes down to the village where Agnieszka lives in order to pick the girl who is special (who is, of course, Agnieszka) to live with him in a castle. He acts like a dick-head and she cries and is clumsy. It's all annoying.
The character that I liked is actually "The Wood", the fantastical place next to the village that the Dragon protects. While the Wood is a character, it's voiceless but Novik does a fabulous job of showing the menace. It's creepy and dark and atmospheric.
The book is at its heart, a fairy tale with many Polish references and folklore. There has to be a happy (sort of) ending, which Novik does with ease. The concept of an evil wood, dragon/wizard and heroine isn't new at all but I think Novik does a fine job with reinventing it. Her prose is lovely albeit slow for me. I'm actually quite bummed I didn't love it more. I ended up donating to a teacher that is rebuilding her classroom library after it was flooded (she got most of my YA, YAish books that I gave away) so hopefully someone else will enjoy it more than I did.