Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: Teen Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
The Overview: 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. -Goodreads
Uprooted was such a cool book! I picked it up on a total whim. I mean, I didn’t even know what it was about, only that the blogosphere was going nuts over it and that it had something to do with a dragon (Newsflash! The Dragon is actually a person, go figure). Anyway, I was prepared to commit to only a few chapters, but before I knew it I was halfway through it and completely enamored. I’m so used to reading series (in fact, I couldn’t tell you the last time I read a standalone) that the pure awesomeness of experiencing a complete start to finish story in one well woven little package caught me off guard. I really liked it!
This is my first visit into Naomi Novik’s work, and I can tell you that after my experience with Uprooted, it definitely won’t be the last. Because the book was a standalone, it made it easier for me to appreciate how well the story was constructed. It had a lot of layers and dynamics which kept me glued to the pages the whole way through. Novik has a beautiful writing voice that was sophisticated without taking itself too seriously. I especially appreciated the bits of humor throughout.
And the characters! They really were the main reason I kept reading with such gusto. The story essentially revolves around an apprentice (a girl named Agnieszka) and her master (The Dragon). The two had an interesting dynamic together and both had great character arcs throughout the story. Agnieszka was one of the most endearing characters I’ve come across. Far from perfect (and having those imperfections thrown in her face constantly), she still somehow managed to grab hold of her inner confidence and stay unapologetically true to herself. Even going so far as to use those flaws to her advantage. I adored her and wish the book actually was a series so I could spend more time with her.
Overall, Uprooted was a breath of fresh air and one of the best books I’ve read this year. I find it very easy to recommend, with one disclaimer: the book has some sexual content.
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