Rating: 1.5 stars
From the synopsis, I thought this was going to have a stronger romantic element. When in reality it focused on saving the country from the woods, which is an evil, magical forest. This delved more into fantasy than PNR, which was fine; I just hadn’t been expecting it. The world building was the best part of the book. I loved the woods. They were creepy, dangerous, and mysterious. The story failed in other areas like plot and character development. The first half where I was learning about the world was entertaining. Then the setting changed, and the story began to drag on and on. By the last 150 pages or so, I felt like it needed to get to the point already.
One teenage girl from the village was selected to live with the Dragon every ten years, and he chose Agnieszka. He was not a real dragon BTW; he’s just a wizard named Dragon. I was seriously disappointed the story didn’t have an actual dragon in it. He required the servitude of these young women for an unspecified purpose, but people went along with it because he protected the towns from the woods. No one seemed deeply concerned about the fates of these young girls. He could have been cruel, abusive, or a rapist. I guess no one cares when it’s not happening to them.
Agnieszka quickly figured out she had magical powers. Unfortunately this had the trope of her being special and practically all powerful. She can do what no one else does. Her powers made the story dull. It was obvious early on in the book that she was going to find a magical fix for any problem that popped up. She never had to follow magical rules, so she just pulled some crazy trick out of her ass every time there was a problem. It wasn’t exciting to read when it was obvious she would never truly be in danger because of her abilities.
I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. Agnieszka was too much of a Mary Sue. Not that it matters but I hate her name. How the hell do you pronounce it anyway? The Dragon was a jerk most of the time. He didn’t change much over the course of the book. I never warmed to him, so the romance wasn’t all that entertaining. There were a few other characters, but I just didn’t care about them. Whenever a character was killed, it had no emotional impact at all although I’m sure it was supposed to.
The ending was lackluster in more ways than one. Once things were revealed, it seemed too simplistic or maybe I was so insanely bored by then that I was left thinking that’s it!?. The woods was an evil force to be reckoned with, but the cause of it being evil didn’t satisfactorily explain the depths of the depravity the woods caused. I had been expecting something deeper and darker. Parts of the end were confusing as hell and made no sense at all even after rereading them. The conclusion to the romance if you can even call it that was less than satisfactory. I didn’t grasp why she cared about Dragon. IMO he wasn’t anything to write home about. The premise was great, but the execution of it wasn’t. Apparently this is another one of those novels everyone loves but me.
I was provided with this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.