Review of Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
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.
Enchanting, brilliant, a little whimsical and heartwarming. Uprooted is a weird tale of evil forests, missing queens, holding against corruption, finicky magic, haughty princes and finding your place in the world.
Agnieszka is ridiculous in her own laughable way. Never tidy, never quite getting it right until she discovers something hidden within her and finds her own rhythm and way. She loves her village, her people, her valley so much that she would spend ten years locked away with a centuries old wizard, without knowledge of his intentions.
The Dragon is a fair bit Howl and a fair bit Darkling, but more of a curmudgeon and a total ass at times. Still, you’ll come to love him more as his grumpy old heart softens and he comes to understand humanity a little more after all his years locked away.
These two characters are at odds constantly early on until they find a modicum of cooperation toward their common goal: pushing back the corruption of The Wood. As the months go on and The Wood tests its boundaries, Agnieszka and the Dragon meld their strengths together, creating passionate, strong magic unlike anything seen before.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this. It is one of those books that the description does it no justice. It has a fairy tale vibe to it, stories within stories and discovering one’s refuge in the world after everything they’ve known has been uprooted. There is magic, dire straights, romance, courtly intrigue and action packed battles. I enjoyed jumping outside my YA bubble to read (er, listen to) this! Highly recommended!
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