Novel: Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Release date: May 19th, 2015 by Macmillan
Rating: 5/5 stars
I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: 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.
“I shut my mouth on apologies: if I began to apologize for being untidy, I’d be apologizing the rest of my life.”
“He looked south towards the mountains, as if he was trying to judge the distance the Wood had already come. I didn’t think it mattered now. However far was too far, and not as far as it would be, either.”
“His mouth thinned with what I would have called displeasure, once, and now named prickly mortification.”
I requested this book on Netgalley, not only because of the synopsis and genre, but because of the raving reviews I had already seen in this wonderful community. AND I THANK YOU FOR IT. This is probably going to end up in my most memorable/favorite reads of 2015.
Fantasy is one of my favorite genres, and I read quite a lot of it. Both young adult and adult, I suppose. But Uprooted is honestly such a unique story. I mean, just look at the synopsis. A Dragon who isn’t a dragon. And the evil being in this story is a Wood! It wasn’t hard to follow or too information-dumpy either. So the story starts right before the Dragon chooses a girl to stay with him for the next 10 years. And everyone thinks it is going to be Kasia, because she is the most beautiful and pretty much the best at everything. But he doesn’t. From that moment, an incredible journey starts.
It’s not just action and fantasy-related, I felt as if there was also quite the amount of political intrigue at several points -which I highly enjoyed.
Because this book is a standalone, so much happens in it! Honestly, I felt like I was watching a great movie. But it wasn’t confusing or too much action either -because it a book is only action and battle, it bores me easily. I truly loved watching it unfold! I don’t really want to say a lot about it, you have to just let the book take you by surprise.
So, let’s talk about Nieshka. Yes, I am using the short version because there is no way you’re going to make me spell Agnieszka 20 times. The first thing I liked about her was her utter devotion to her best friend, Kasia. She tries to be brave and help her, even though her courage fails her a bit. Secondly, she is not the most beautiful and perfect girl in the world. I know it sounds strange to say that I like that about her, but it’s true. Most kick-ass female main characters are pretty much described as models. Well, that’s not really realistic! Nieshka is quite clumsy -hello, relatable! But she learns so much, she stands up for herself and what she believes in, but most of all, she tries her hardest. Even though it may not always succeed.
Then, there is the Dragon. At first, I really disliked his character! He was rude, and creepy -I will refer back to the 1 girl he keeps for 10 years. That’s creepy! But then you get to know him a bit -albeit very slowly. And let me tell you, it is worth the wait! And then there is the Wood. It is by far the creepiest villain I have ever read about. I mean, it’s a wood but it can think and strategize and is far more intelligent than most people. And it abducts people, turns them crazy and conquers entire villages. WHAT?
There are many more important characters. Kasia, for example, also has quite a big role in the story. But why spoil you, right?
As you may have guessed already, this book is a definite recommend! Please, please, please go buy it! It has an amazing fantasy element, a great -and quite relatable- main character and one of the most intriguing villains I’ve ever read about. I can’t say enough good things about it!