Del Rey, 2015 (2015)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
aomi Novik is the author of the popular
novels. Now she introduces a new fantasy world (and a fascinating, totally delightful heroine) in
gnieszka grows up in a quiet village in a valley, near the corrupted Wood that overshadows everyone's lives, and occasionally reaches out to destroy some. Her best friend is the lovely, kind and talented Kasia. Unfortunately, Nieshka knows that she will lose Kasia when they grow up. Their ruler, a wizard named the Dragon, picks a young woman to serve him every ten years, and everyone knows that he will select Kasia at the next choosing. No-one fears for tomboy Agnieszka, whose only gift is to '
tear or stain or lose
' anything she wears.
he Dragon does not choose Kasia as expected - after Agnieszka shows a talent for magic he picks her. But when he tries to train her, it drains her strength and stretches his patience to the limit. She loathes him. Then Prince Marek shows up, demanding the Dragon's help to rescue his mother, the queen, lost long since to the Wood. It is refused, this time. After the Dragon is called away to deal with a crisis, the Wood attacks Agnieszka's village. She goes, of course, despite having so little magic. But she and Kasia do what needs doing. And it turns out that Agnieszka has a very different approach to magic, one that complements the Dragon's.
ogether, they are able to do something never achieved before, to clear someone of the Wood's corruption. When news spreads to the capital, Prince Marek returns with demands and threats, setting off a chain of actions and reactions that comes close to destroying not only those directly involved but the entire realm.
is a very exciting read, filled with misunderstandings and betrayals, hints of romance, suspense and constant action as a young witch comes into her power, rights an old wrong, and finds her way back to friends and family. Don't miss it!
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