Friday, 22 May 2015

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Description from Goodreads

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. From the author of the Temeraire series comes this hugely imaginative, engrossing and vivid fantasy novel, inspired by folk and fairy tales. It is perfect reading for fans of Robin Hobb and Trudi Canavan.

When I saw raving reviews about Uprooted, I knew that I just had to read it. It was a compulsive need. And just like I expected, Uprooted just blew me away with everything. It was actually pretty fascinating, because when I finished this novel, I felt like I had just read a trilogy instead of a stand alone (I read the book within 36 hours of receiving it). And the reason for this is because it was immensely well thought, engaging from the first page to the last, and constantly surprising with the twists and turns! It's really rare for me to read a fantasy book as long as this one (approximately 400 pages, but it must have took me about 9-10 hours to read it, maybe?) in such a short period of time, but I just couldn't put the book down. The world of Agnieszka and the Dragon was too compelling for me to pause reading. 

There are only a very few things that I adore more than a well planned fantasy novel. The most obvious example of well-thought fantasy book series is of course J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter, and how she was, and still is, able to construct such a detailed world of magic yet never letting any loose strings come about. Naomi Novik's Uprooted was the same, and she was able to do it with one novel instead of a series! I cannot praise enough the fact that how Novik gave the readers these small hints of what's going on with novel and then (brilliantly) she gradually brought the all elements together in the end. It's so satisfying to read a novel when you can just immerse yourself in the novel and not constantly pick up certain oddities or holes in the plot. Thank you Ms. Novik!!

Also for once, the main character (Agniezska who is a 17-year old woodcutter's daughter), is realistic yet admirable character. She isn't the beauty queen of her town or the most talented in the traditional sense of her world, but she still has her amazing personality: kind, loyal, loving, creative, and very intelligent. Of course she isn't perfect with her occasional sharp tongue and a brave fool behaviour, but as those are the essential parts of her character - you just couldn't picture her without those traits. Also, the mysterious Dragon.. I don't want to go in detail about him, as I think he is one of those characters who are best read when known about as little as possible. But, let me just say that he evoked some serious emotions in me (not telling if good or bad though). 

There was a slight romance aspect to the novel, and I thought it was a very subtle and gradually done (but it also was hothothot). Which to be honest, is the only believable and heart-felt way to go, at least for me. The mutual respect and time spent together being the basis for something romantic is right up my alley - I loved how there weren't any insta-love, googly eyes, admiration of that sexy jawline and bursting biceps. The romance between the characters felt authentic. Even though I did kind of hoped that there was more romance in the novel (or maybe the author planned it that way so that the readers wanted constantly more... hmm..), I was still so pleased when the relationship wasn't rushed, but gradually built and the feelings were justified, not just conjured up out of thin air. Once again, thank you Ms. Novik.

Besides the incredible fantasy world and the small romance element, I loved that there were also themes of friendship, loyalty, and standing up for yourself and taking a stand. All the elements were knitted perfectly together as they were introduced bit by bit, not overwhelming the reader but instead growing the reader's knowledge and belief in the story and the world. The novel never was one dimensional and that's probably why I ended up liking it so much. And also because of the banter and the humour the characters contributed - it was fantastic!! Well, long story short, I loved everything about Uprooted. 


  1. I've been curious to read reviews on this one. It was my WoW a couple of weeks ago. Well done!

    1. I hope you get a copy soon! It's really worth buying :)


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