By: Naomi Novik
Published March 1, 2016
From the Cover
“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.
The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.
But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.
I guess July is the month that I have unknowingly designated for trying books that are not in my usual genre. First, nonfiction. Now, fantasy. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good fairytale, but fantasy books have never been my go-to. It wasn’t until I saw that Novik’s most recent book Spinning Silver was designated a Book of the Month pick that I decided to see what the hype was about. I went back to one of her earlier hits, Uprooted, to form my own opinions.
First, I will say that I give a ton of respect to anyone who writes fantasy novels. Not only are they creating new characters, scenes, and plot lines, but they also have to create a world outside of reality for the characters to exist. This involves coming up with new rules and ways of living that extend beyond normal, something that takes an incredible amount of creativity. It is evident that Novik is a talented fantasy novelist. She creates new languages, rules, environments, and characters that are beyond the scope of reality that somehow seem relatable to an audience of perfectly normal humans. This is no small feat.
I actually (to my own surprise, yes) liked this book. Yes, there were chapters that I felt like skimming; yes, there were times that I felt like reaching into the book and shaking the characters into making rational decisions; and yes, there were characters whose reactions I found to be awkward and unbelievable. However, I still liked this book. I think it might be because with fantasy novels, we can escape into a world outside our own and imagine ourselves living a life beyond reality.
After reading Uprooted, I think I might add Spinning Silver to my TBR for times when I need a little escape from reality.
A word on e-books So this was the first time I used the app called “Libby” and I have to say, I loved it. You sync your library card from your local library to the app and from there you are able to place holds and read the e-books as they become available. One of the coolest features is that you are able to see where you are in the hold line and you can arrange your list of holds by estimated wait time to get an idea of what books will become available first.
Also another cool feature (if you have a Type A personality, like me) is that as you read, the app will project when you will finish the book you are reading based on how long you have been reading and where you are in the book. If you are a sporadic reader or if you get stressed out thinking about how much time you actually spend reading (yikes, this might be me), this might not be the feature for you. All in all, this is a pretty cool app and you should definitely get it if you have a library card. If you don’t have a library card, what are you waiting for????