Book Cover
Title Uprooted
Series ---
Author Naomi Novik
Cover Art Scott McKowen
Publisher Del Rey - 2016
First Printing Random House - 2015
Category Folktale
Warnings None

Main Characters

The Dragon, Agnieszka, Kasia

Main Elements Wizards

Agnieszka loves her valley home in a quiet village. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Here people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep the Wood's dark forces at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his assistance: Every ten years, one young woman must be handed over to serve him without question.

The next choosing is fast approaching and Agnieszka 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 when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

I can't say enough good things about this book, from the first line till the end I couldn't get enough of it. A simply beautiful, action and humour filled story inspired by Russian folklore. At the core of this tale is Agnieszka, a village girl chosen by the Dragon to serve him in his tower but it turns out she has magic of her own, a magic that frustrates the Dragon to understand, messing with his neat and orderly world. It doesn't help that Agnieszka herself is not even remotely neat and orderly, managing to stain, tear, rumple and otherwise mess up her clothes and hair much to the Dragon's dismay. This leads to many funny moments where this great and powerful wizard finds himself completely out of his league.

But the story isn't really about them, it is about the Wood, a truly dark and malevolent force that is an ever present menace to the lives of all the people's of the land. From it come creatures such as the Walkers, wolves, and should anyone lose their way and wander amongst it's trees, they don't come back the same. They carry a virulence that then spreads just as the Woods spreads, consuming villages as it grows upon their despair.

I loved the characters. I loved the worldbuilding. I loved learning magic alongside Agnieszka. And there are beautiful moments of true friendship between Agnieszka and Kasia, not something you see all that often. And of course the Woods and the secrets contained in it's tainted heart, a truly eerie and frightening entity lurking just outside the edge of the village, a nightmare presence just waiting.

Highly recommended to any fantasy fan.

Posted: December 2017


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