Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: Adult Fantasy
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, 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. Uprooted is a hugely imaginative, engrossing and vivid fantasy novel, inspired by folk and fairy tales by Naomi Novik, the author of the Temeraire series. It is perfect reading for fans of Robin Hobb and Trudi Canavan.
My Rating: (to infinity)
I ended this book with a massive sappy smile on my face, which let me tell you, hasn’t happened in a long time. This book is the perfect adult fairytale, it’s got everything and I mean everything. I’m trying to gather my thoughts about it and I am sure they will evolve when I think back.
I think we can crown this book my favorite book this year, sorry Illuminae and Queen of the Tearling but Uprooted is everything I can ask for in an epic fantasy perfectly compacted into one book. The only problem I had with this book was the edition I bought, that Pan Publishing paperback was hell on earth to read, the struggle was real so I will have to buy the hardback because I can’t be struggling like that each time I read this otherwise I will end up cracking the spine and no one needs that.
Our story follows Agnieszka, a girl from a valley that is close to an evil-enchanted forest. This forest is kept at bay by the mighty Dragon, a powerful wizard that takes a girl from the village everything 10 years. Our fantastic heroine believes her best friend, Kasia will be the one chosen. She’s beautiful, she’s kind, she’s everything all the other girls have been but when the day comes she’s stunned that she is chosen instead of Kasia. Agnieszka is ripped from all that she knows and she’s stuck in a tower of the prickly Dragon. The story erupts from there and when I say that this is epic, I’m really not exaggerating. So much happens in this book that it felt like I read a trilogy – mind you I’ve been critical of fantasy trilogies because as I’ve stated before that you could’ve compressed this story into one book but it’s dragged out by watered down plot or unnecessary angst. This books proves my point – the intensity of all that happens was so satisfying that I’m going to be left judging all other girl-becomes-hero books by this one.
Before I start with spoilers, let me tell you – if you haven’t picked this one up please please do. This is an adult fantasy fairytale and it’s so very good. The characters, the plot, the mythology, the magic system, everything is rich and alive and I will guarantee that you will be satisfied by the end.
Now. Come the SPOILERS so please avert thy eyes!
Fucking Agnieszka and Sarkan are OTP for life, they give me air. Novik did such a good job of showing how much they grew to care for one another without saturation that it was incredible and I swam in all those delightful moments they shared. I think I shipped it from the first moment she screamed at him and he flushed with incredulity and that final scene I about died because how perfect was that? I KNEW he would come back, our little prickly boy was in love and he wasn’t going to be able to stay away.
The friendship was also beautifully done. Agnieszka and Kasia and everything they did for one another constantly = female camaraderie to the tenth power. I predicted all wrong and I was so happy I did because they wouldn’t have made it to the end without one another. Kasia was so fucking badass by the end I was just really rooting for her non-stop and I was so happy with her own end as the King’s champion.
Sarkan was another favorite, he’s so prickly and disconnected as a human and Agnieszka comes along and upends his entire world and he doesn’t know what to do with her or about her. It was humorous and endearing especially when she finally learned to read him and took none of his words seriously.
I love the entire story despite how bloody it got, I was here for that and I loved how Agnieszka ended up being a witch-wood and somehow Novik made the walkers cuddly and overall I’m just gushy about this whole story. I loved it to bits (as if you couldn’t tell) and I think I will certainly try to reread it each year.