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, ambitious wizard, known only as the Dragon, to keep the wood’s powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman must be handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as being lost 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 no one can predict how or why the Dragon chooses a girl. And when he comes, it is not Kasia he will take with him.
From the author of the Temeraire series comes this hugely imaginative, engrossing and vivid fantasy novel, inspired by folk and fairy tales. It is perfect reading for fans of Robin Hobb and Trudi Canavan.
I haven’t been this captivated by a fantasy book in a while. Uprooted was, in my opinion, a mix of Beauty and The Beast, Polish folklore and Howl’s Moving Castle. I love all those things so it makes sense that I was hooked from the first chapter.
The start of this book reminded me a little book of Rosamund Hodge’s amazing book, Cruel Beauty, with the Dragon choosing a girl every ten years to serve him. After a little while, though, the book goes into a whole different direction. It has more magic, battles and let’s not forget about the Wood (*shudders*).
The story is about Agnieszka, a rather clumsy and unimportant girl, who against all odds gets chosen as the Dragon’s next girl. Everyone, including Agnieszka, thought he would pick her friend Kasia, who’s so much more elegant and brave (according to Agnieszka). I must admit it took a little while for her to grow on me as the main character but as the story continued and she started growing into the witch she’s supposed to be I started to really like her.
The Dragon (a.k.a. Arkan) was a little harder to get a grip on. He was very insulting towards Agnieszka and had a very closed up personality but I couldn’t help love him in the end. I’m a sucker for these type of male characters (especially wizards!). I really liked their relationship. At first I was a little worried about how the romance would go, but I shouldn’t have worried because the romance was more of a background thing. The story revolves more about the magic and defeating the Wood-queen. I liked it like this.
The Wood in this book is not just a normal forest. It’s much more creepier than that. It’s more of a living thing, taking more and more of the kingdom every day. Anyone going into the Wood never comes out the same or even whole. Some things taking place inside really creeped me out but I do love ominous things like this and the way the author wrote when it came to the Wood, it was like it was a character on its own. The world and character building in this book was magnificent, obviously. The characters were all unique in their own way, with their own flaws and failings.
Overall, Uprooted by Naomi Novik was a exquisitely magical, creepy, and even quite thought-provoking book that was also written very beautifully. I was so captivated by the characters and world that the author created. I really can’t recommend this book enough. Go read it now!
Naomi Novik was born in New York in 1973, a first-generation American, and raised on Polish fairy tales, Baba Yaga, and Tolkien. She studied English Literature at Brown University and did graduate work in Computer Science at Columbia University before leaving to participate in the design and development of the computer game Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide.