Posts Tagged With: Naomi Novik

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

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. But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Wow. Honestly, wow. I’d been told this book was good, so I hoped for good. I got ‘wow’.  Uprooted is a fantasy story imbued with a feeling of fairytales – set in the surrounding areas of an evil wood and starting with a Dragon taking a girl away to his tower. This is essentially as much information as the reader is given on the back of the book, and I am grateful for having no clue where the story was going to go, because I loved just immersing myself in the world and going with the flow. My review might be a tad short simply because I want to retain that mystery for any potential readers – do not read anything about the plot before reading it!

Novik’s world is captivating and her story compelling. Just the right amount of world-building is employed to create an enchanting setting for a story that takes its time but is never dull. Although quite a chunky read, I tore through it in a couple of days, dying to find out what would happen.The prose is lyrical and light – Novik uses words like rich, vibrant colours in a painting. The descriptions of how Nieshka and the Dragon weave their magic are more metaphorical than literal, and are not just original and clever but also significantly contribute to the feeling of artistry surrounding this book. Everything about Uprooted has the feeling of an old fireside folktale being recollected for modern readers. Not just a simple tale of good and evil, there’s a real heart to this one.

I actually feel that this would be a great starting point for people wanting to get into the fantasy genre – I’m not an avid reader of fantasy myself but this book had just the right mix of all the best elements of fantasy to make it a wholly satisfying read. Highly recommended.

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Early Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

uprooted (1)

“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 lives a simple life in her village, along with her best friend Kasia, but they are constantly under the threat of the corrupted wood on their borders – sometimes the power of the wood will reach out, and cause harm and damage. The people in the village rely on a wizard, known as the Dragon, to protect them, and offer his magic against the wood’s effects.

In return for his help, he takes a young woman from their village every 10 years. They are returned, but will not speak of their time, and they leave the village as soon as they are able. Everyone expects Kasia to be chosen when the next 10 years comes around, but instead the Dragon takes Agnieszka.

I was sent a review copy of this book, but I had no idea what it was about, nor had I heard of the author before. As I often do with books I’m unsure of, I started to read the first few pages. I was immediately caught by the writing style, and the character of Agnieszka, and yes, the spell was cast!

Uprooted is a fantasy book, with Agnieszka discovering that she in fact has powers of her own, and also learning more about the mysterious Dragon. There are spells, magical creatures, and adventure. However, there was something a little different about this one, which really did captivate me. It reads like a beautifully told fairytale, which also has it’s dark side. Agnieszka’s growth is as touching as her loyalty, and the aspects of her relationship with the Dragon are also well done. I loved the way the magic was handled, from Agnieszka’s personal path, to the powerful war magic.

There are only certain fantasy books which catch my interest, and this is most certainly one of them. It’s hard to describe any further without wandering into spoiler territory, but if you like fantasy, fairytales, magic and adventure, told with a beautiful style, then you need to try this!

Published by Macmillan 21st May 2015

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