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Genre: Fantasy, Mythology & Folk Tales
Pages: 464 (paperback)
Publication Date: May 9, 2015
Publisher: Del Rey
Website: Naomi Novik Official Website
Uprooted on Goodreads
Naomi Novik Amazon Author Profile
My Review Copy: Purchased
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“’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.
“That was when I understood how much of a fool I’d been. I’d never thought of magic, of my magic, as good for anything, until I stood there and knew that there was no one else but me…”
“I had been wrong. He hadn’t done any of this to the other women at all.”
Agnieszka (ag-NYESH-kah), the main character and point of view the book is written from, has to be my favorite character. Although Kasia comes a close second. Agnieszka is the best friend you would love to have. She may be clumsy and imperfect, but that’s what makes her … well … perfect! When you need her, she will find a way to be there, even if that means breaking a few rules and putting herself at risk. Best of all, she has something I could only dream about having (and trust me, I dream about it) – Magic!
Uprooted is a classic fantasy; it encompasses magic, mysterious evil elements, and epic battles. Naomi Novik does a fantastic job creating a mythical world with a not-so-typical enemy: the Wood. Which is a complex idea that you really only understand from reading the book (plus I don’t want to give any spoilers) but is basically this evil element that is against everyone but itself. The basis of the book revolves around Agnieszka and how she is picked by “The Dragon” (not really a dragon, just his name) unexpectedly and follows her journey of personal growth and battles between the Dragon, the Wood and a few other obstacles that get in her way.
To be honest, I really wanted to love Uprooted, but I just couldn’t get past the character dialog and interactions. While Agnieszka has great character development, I felt the other characters were lacking. To me, the interactions (most specifically the dialog) were simplistic and a little silly. Don’t get me wrong, I did like the book and am glad I read it, as it was a good story and the main character was pretty great, but I enjoy more complex relationships. These just seemed … rushed … like there weren’t enough interactions or events that led up to certain character behaviors.
I do recommend Uprooted for fantasy lovers. Even though I found the character relationships the be lacking, the story was pretty unique and had some interesting twists to it. Also, just look at how beautiful the cover is!