Monday, May 14, 2018

Book Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Book review of Uprooted by Naomi Novik by freshfromthe.com.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Published: May 19, 2015

Genre: Fantasy

Hardcover Pages: 435

Synopsis: “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.

Thoughts: First and foremost, I have to say that it's nice to read a book that's a complete story and not part of a series! Since I tend to read mostly fantasy and science fiction type young adult books, they are almost always a series, or at least a duology. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but it's refreshing to have a book that tells a complete story while also being full of fantasy!

In writing reviews, I have come to notice something - it almost always takes me at least 25% into a book to really get into it. Even though beginnings, before things change, are important, they are almost always boring in comparison to the meat of the story in these novels. Luckily, in this book, Agnieszka gets chosen to go to the tower with the Dragon pretty quickly, so it was even less time than "normal" for me to get into the book.

At first, the book seems like it will mostly focus on the relationship between Agnieszka and the Dragon, and her slowly developing magic. However, the story takes a pretty big turn about halfway through when some unexpected twists happen, and it becomes much more about them dealing with the evil Wood that is trying to take over the land rather than focusing more on their relationship, which indeed becomes almost something of a back burner to the larger story.

The story is epic and sweeping, starting in Agnieszka's small little village, going to the tower, and eventually even exploring the capital of the land, and the politics of the royal family and the wizards and witches that surround them. It focuses on friendship and love, rage and revenge, and what it can mean to lose sight of what's important when getting too wrapped up in all of those things. And, of course, there's magic. Lots of magic.

Basically, it feels kind of like an old fairytale, but told in a modern way, and you know I'm a sucker for that. If that sounds like your jam, definitely check it out!

Rating: 4.5/5

What I'm Reading Next: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

3 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you liked it! And I totally agree, it does feel like a old fairy tale that is still modern. I also loved that it has a strong female friendship as a major plot driver. I don't see that often enough in fantasy/magic books. (Can't wait to see what you think of TBatN too. It is a good one to read on the heels of Uprooted. Do you know of any other 'read-alikes' to Uprooted? I love this genre. The Historian - which I also loved - fits into this category for me.)

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    1. I liked The Historian too! Hmm, others that have a similar vibe... I looooved Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, which does feel sort of like an old legend; the sequel is coming out later this year I think, and I think it's just a duology so it's not a big series commitment. The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta feel like a tale woven together with many disparate pieces that all fit, it's three books and complete. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, it has a sequel but I liked the first one better. Those are the ones that come to mind right now!

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    2. Thanks! I added those to my list. I liked Laini Taylor's previous series, so I may try Strange the Dreamer first.

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