Thursday, November 12, 2015

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Description from Goodreads:
“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 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.
I have read so many good reviews for this book (at least a dozen). There has been some serious hype. Also, I was craving a good fantasy, and this sounded exactly like what I needed.
And it was what I needed, mostly. The story grabbed me from page one. It read like a classic folktale. The language, the world building, and the descriptions were all just so pretty. Sometimes I forget how nice it is to read something that is just so beautifully written. It’s like drinking a nice, tall cup of cold water after being thirsty for days. Seriously, it’s so nice to read something that’s written so well.
The plot was amazing too. It’s a book all about magic! The main character is both someone who has to work really hard to become good at magic and someone who seems to come naturally to pieces of learning it too. She’s powerful, brave, and smart. I love how loyal she is to her best friend. And I love how loyal she is to her home.
I love books about magic. The learning of it is so much fun to read. Also, it’s one of those classic fantasy books where you get to see the main character in the country, but also at court, so there’s all this clashing of classes too. The main character had so much to learn and while she was ignorant of so many things, she also was so willing to learn and fill in those holes of her ignorance, and I applauded her for that. She was a great main character.
This wasn’t my favorite type of romance. I’m actually pretty against student/teacher romances. And I’m definitely against these romances with such drastic age gaps. She was a kid, grasping at straws to learn everything she could. And he’s over a century old, and well part of me just got the creeps from it, a little. Though, you’d think I’d be used to this by now. So many books have this romance arc now.
On the other hand, it was a slow-building romance, and those are the best kind. And clearly they were connecting on a lot of levels, sharing so much magic together. I guess I got sucked into the romance a bit after a major development happens, but then I was kind of disappointed about how it sort of disappears. It felt a bit like the author threw in a couple of sizzling romantic moments when she needed time to figure out where the story was going because then there is no romance mentioned, thought of, thought back on, or talked about again….
I loved the story though. It was fun, action-packed, and full of all the things I come to expect from a good fantasy book. There was some stuff I didn’t really understand at the end. Stuff got a little strange with the trees and the evil forest, and I think I was following it all, but I’m not 100% sure. It goes from a Tamora Pierce type fantasy to full-out Lewis Carol and I think I actually would have liked it more if it ended a little more open-ended. The answers/justifications for things were just so strange and hard to wrap my head around.
All in all, I was a craving a good fantasy and I got one. I loved the world, the characters, and the folk-tale type storyline. The writing was gorgeous. The action was great. I had mixed feelings about the romance and I was a little confused by the ending. I don’t think I loved it as much as everyone else seemed to, but I still really enjoyed it. I give it an 8/10.

1 comment:

  1. I do think that I enjoyed this one a bit more than you did, but I can totally understand where you're coming from with the romance, and the ending for that matter. Still, it's like you said: it was a great fantasy with a fascinating magical system, and wonderful characters! Lovely review Nori! <3