Author: Naomi Novik
Pages: 448 (Paperback)
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Published: 12th May, 2016
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.
*Warning: contains slight spoilers*
Since I bought Uprooted a year ago, one of my friends was telling me to read it. And I finally gave in and read it in only two days. If I had known I like it so much, I would have read it as soon as it was in my hands.
The characters were amazing. I’ll begin with The Dragon. Apparently many people seem to think he is an actualy dragon before they read the book, but he is not. He’s human, but he is a powerful wizard. He is dark and moody and he does not like change, at all. He likes his old ways, his old magical concepts and needs a long time to accept that things might work out good (or even better) when you try to do them another way. And he doesn’t like to get really close to anything or anyone, he seems to like being by himself. And even though he is moody and brooding, he was a complex character I loved reading about.
The protagonist, Agnieszka, is not the prettiest girl in town, nor is she anything special really. Her only talent is to get herself dirty. But she finds out that she is indeed a witch and what a witch she is. When it comes to magic, she is actually kind of a Mary Sue, but that didn’t annoy me at all. Because she speaks her mind and when she believes in something, she won’t stay down, not matter how dangerous a thing can be. And she values her friendship with Kasia above all else. Agnieszka doesn’t need a man, she can survive well without one in her life. All she needs are Kasia and her family and nature.
Those two are the most important characters. Of course, there is also Kasia, the prettiest girl in the village and also a very talented one. She is very gentle and nice, but also headstrong and even though bad things happen to her, she stays positive and cares for the people around her.
Now, let’s get to the story itself. I thought this was going to be some weird romance thingy between the Dragon and Agnieszka. But damn, I was wrong. The book was not about their relationship, but about their fight against the corrupted Wood. And that Wood is so scary. I mean, I actually checked my plants so I wouldn’t be murdered in my sleep or something. I loved this concept of the Wood being alive and being the enemy, slipping into animals and humans to corrupt everything around it and to grow, making people fear it not for what lives inside it, but for what it is.
I also loved the magical concept of this world. Magic is not a thing that is the same for every wielder, but is an extremely complex thing which is different for everyone.
What made the book even more good was the focus on friendship. I was so happy that the romance was about 10 pages of the book, maybe even less. But it was this strong female friendship, and the feeling of home that made the story so real and vivid.
I’m so glad I picked Uprooted up, it is definitely one of this year’s favourite reads. Dark and magical, and characters exactly to my liking. The atmosphere just felt so realistic and I had goosebumps more than once, as well as tears and laughs. Seriously, this book is so good. And if you’ve read it, please come and talk to me about it because I am very much in love.