From what I’ve seen, people either love or hate this book. I’m going to be one of the weird ones and say that I liked it, but I certainly didn’t love it. It was interesting. THe main character Agnieshka had a lot of interesting qualities. The structure of the world was interesting. And the villain was so different than what I am used to it was refreshing to see a different take. That said, I just never fell in love. Every element, except the Wood, had the makings of something amazing, but it never really panned out fully. So while I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who shows interest in this book, I don’t think I would recommend this to anyone else unless the expressly showed interest in some of the elements of the story.
The focus is on Agnieshka, as she is swept away to spend the next ten years with the Dragon in his tower. It was never supposed to be her though. We get a good sense of her character early on. She’s stubborn and she has an idea of what she thinks should be done she will pursue it until she either accomplishes it or fails to the point that nothing else can be done. She’s fierce, but that doesn’t mean she’s always skilled. The Dragon on the other hand is standofish and brash. He’s flippant and a bit of a curmudgeon. I quite liked him. Kasia, on the other hand, ended up feeling flat. She was Agnieshka’s best friend and served as either muscle or an object to grow Agnieshka’s minimal growth
ONe of the most disappointing things about this book. Was that the characters never really changed. Despite all the great things that I mentioned about them, we never get a sense that the characters have progressed. Sure, Agnieshka’s life is literally uprooted and her world view is shifted, but she as a person never changes as a result. She remains stagnant. The Dragon slowly lets Agnieshka in, but he too never really changes. He’s still standoffish. Maybe this is a comment how that even when things get truly difficult it is still difficult for people to really change. I won’t even get started about Kasia because there never felt like there was any real depth of her character for her to grow.
I mentioned that The Wood was one of the better villains that I’ve encountered. The threat it posed was palpable. I also enjoyed how it was built throughout the book. We learned it was dangerous and the extent of what it could do. However, that was constantly pushed as we learned that really The Wood was extremely dangerous and one that was unyielding. However when it became clear that there was more sentience to it than just it being something that was growing out of control encroaching and corrupting the lives that it overtakes. Even though it was just the Wood it felt like a full blown character with as much motivation if not more than some of the actual people.
Overall, I found myself enjoying the book, I just never fell in love with it. I guess I fell into a place where I liked where things were going, but they just never went far enough for me.