Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

UprootedTitle: Uprooted
Author: Naomi Novik
Publisher/Publication Date: Del Rey, May 19, 2015
Genre: Fantasy
Format/Source: Hardcover, Purchased

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

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...

My Thoughts:

Going into Uprooted I had very high expectations. I’ve seen the hype and the glowing reviews, and ultimately I decided to give it a try because it seemed like my kind of book—you know something I would enjoy. And while I did like this book it had its faults.

Uprooted basically tells the story of Agnieszka. On the day of the choosing she is taken instead of her friend Kasia, who everyone expected to be chosen. Things don’t go that way of course, and Agnieszka is quickly pulled into the Dragon’s world of magic.

The characters were just alright. Agnieszka was clumsy and the amount of dirt, snags, and tears her clothes received as well as her general untidiness was often overemphasized and criticized by the Dragon. The Dragon spent the majority of the book as a cranky, insulting, emotionally distant wizard who lived in the tower. It was part of the reason why I didn’t necessarily buy into the romance between the two, because he was needlessly rude to her. While his character improved towards the end of the book, the romance was just there, present, but not really a focus of the story. Now, one of the things I really liked about Uprooted was the friendship between Agnieszka and Kasia, because it’s always nice to see the main character have female friendships.

Now, the highlight of this book for me was the concept. The Wood made usual outside dangers—snakes, spiders, pollen at the beginning of spring, lightning, falling trees, and so on—look like cheesecake in a basket studded with bows. It was often considered a living thing that stole people and corrupted them, but also thought and planned out its attacks. Often times these things were shown rather than told and it was pretty terrible how cunning the Woods turned out to be. It was the stuff of nightmares, which was pretty awesome. Needless to say, my favorite parts were when the characters were forced to deal with the Wood.

The plot moved along at a steady pace. There was a lot going on, and the action was pretty good. I did enjoy the ending and the resolution of the primary conflict that influenced the majority of the story. And overall, Uprooted was a pretty good story.

Rating 3/5

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