Random House - Del Ray
Publication Date: May 19, 2015
Date Read: May 13, 2015
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I wish that I could give this book more than 5 stars because it was absolutely fantastic. Hands down, this was the best book that I have read so far this year. I started this book right before a really busy weekend of traveling which was a HUGE mistake. I say this because I just wanted to stay home and read this book once I started it. I didn't want to go to work. I didn't want to do anything else but live inside the pages of this book.
This book had everything. It had magic, mystique, a vivid setting, compelling characters, and even a bit of romance. I almost felt like I was living inside a fairy tale, expect this story was better than your average fairy tale. This was a intricately plotted novel of fantasy that made me feel for the characters. The descriptions were incredibly vivid and the world building was seamless.
I had expected this book to be aimed at a YA audience. The main character, Agnieszka, is a teenager herself but this book was really an adult novel. There was a lot of violence that I didn't expect going in and I think it added to the story for me but some of the descriptions could be troubling for younger teen.
I loved so many of the characters. Agnieszka was everything I wish I had been as a 17 year old. She was tough and not easily intimidated. When she was chosen by the Dragon, she was surprised but she tried her best to do as expected. The Dragon became more likeable with every page and by the end of the book he found his way into my heart. Kasia was probably the toughest person in the story. I can't imagine how she can be so steady after all that she goes through in the book.
I just love everything about how this book was written. I connected to the characters very quickly and the story pulled me in almost immediately. The pacing was incredibly well done and I don't think I found a single spot in the book that I found to be boring. The story took a few turns that were completely unexpected that kept everything very exciting. I love that this story came to a solid resolution. I am not sure if this is the beginning of a planned series or not. While I would welcome another story set in this world featuring these characters, I feel completely satisfied with this story.
I would highly recommend this book to everyone. I really do think that this story will appeal to a very wide audience although it may not be appropriate for younger teens. This is the first book by Naomi Novik that I have read but I plan to check out her other books soon.
I received a copy of this book from Random House - Del Ray via Edelweiss for the purpose of providing an honest review.