Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Release Date: May 2015
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Plot: 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.
What happens when you see a pretty cover of a book at work and buy it without any idea about what said book is about?
Me. You get me.
I dived into Uprooted at the beginning of a 12 hour journey back home and I was initially a bit hesitant when I began to get the idea of the story. High fantasy isn’t usually my jam but I’m dipping the knife in and licking the jar clean. I was on a HF high and not quite ready to come down again.
But as I kept going, I found this story so layered and so epic that I’ve crowned it 5 stars and I don’t regret it all.
First of all is the world. The world in any HF has to be on point; you might not think I could be a good judge of this since I’m all about my real contemporaries and my magical realism, but in Uprooted the setting was so spot on. I loved it’s Eastern European styled lands of magic and monsters, with beautiful dresses and cute villages and woods with dark secrets. It felt like a darker Disney film, although not really Disney at all.
Characters sometimes end up taking a back step when it comes to HF because world is key, but I loved Agnieszka right away; I loved how she wasn’t special or perfect at her craft straight away, but had to build and build until she could finally fulfill her destiny. She has a beautiful friendship with her best friend Kasia too, and there’s a wonderful scene in there for all you fans of girls overcoming jealousy and bitterness and learning to love each other.
Sarkan is a grumpy wizard who’s locked himself away in a tower. He’s one of, if not the most powerful wizard in the land, yet he still comes across as a scared lonely man who you just want to wrap in a blanket and tell him to shut up and smile.
I love going in a book blind and being pleasantly surprised. If a book catches your eye and it hasn’t been recommended by loads of people on Twitter, chances are it’s still good and still deserves your time. It was lucky I found Uprooted!