For the past two days, I’ve done nothing but eaten up this incredible book. Uprooted by Naomi Novik has been on my radar for a year now. I was lucky enough to finally buy it and DEVOUR it in the span of a day and a half. Do I regret it? NO. Do I want more? OF COURSE. But am I satisfied with this standalone epic fantasy? ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY.
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.
After a year of lusting after this book because of its premise and it’s cover (yes the cover is gorgeous) I finally bought and read this book in the span of a day. I’m in awe at the fact that I devoured it in such a short while, especially during exam season. But at the same time, this book deserves nothing short of my full attention. The world building was phenomenal. In the absence of a map, all I had to go on were the main protagonist’s words and the author was able to make me picture every mountain, colour and detail of everything, without boring or slowing down the pace.
The writing style was fun and whimsical and it helped that I enjoyed the main protagonist, Agnieshka’s voice/narrative. She was hilarious and witty and clumsy and odd and I. LOVED. EVERYTHING. I loved this aspect of her clumsiness since it made her flawed and thus, more real. It also made her motives that much more convincing since she had never aspired to be a hero and would rather run, even though she knew she would have to brave through it. I loved her and she’s easily one of the most enjoyable characters I’ve read about. Her relationship with the Dragon was one that had me laughing out loud and quickly trying to calm myself down enough to read on. He was the complete opposite of her in everyway: he was always scowling, annoyed and such a perfectionist. This made me cherish their interactions even more since he’d call her an idiot even when they were on *good* terms. I adored the intimacy and I love that the romance was slow burn and that it took a back seat so that we could enjoy this book for what it is – an epic fantasy book that made me anxious to know what awaited beyond each chapter.
In terms of the plot, wow. Just absolutely wow. It is so original and interesting that it was hard for me to let go off the book at any point. I was unable to function during the day unless I had the book and unless I was in the midst of eating it up. The story that is unravelled, about the Wood and it’s origins had me on the edge of my seat and there were moments that tears would well up in my eyes.
Now, the action. So much would happen and every time we were blessed with a great happy, tear jerking (but in a good way) scene, we would be tossed into so much chaos, death and destruction. The premise of the Wood was terrifying and haunting enough but to add to the fact that there were people who returned from it no longer themselves? yeah, scary. There was so much bloodshed and epic parts that I had to read through it ONLY because it was to good to set down.
Finally, Kasia and Agnieshka. The story is told in the POV of Agnieshka but it also has so many elements and parts that show us the beautiful bond between these two girls. I loved the realness and honesty of their bond and I loved the moments that were shared between them. They are the definition of best friend goals. You see how much they care for one another and you also see the lengths they’d go for each other. I loved this because books with heartbreaking moments are what I thrive for.
All in all, I’m so happy that everyone was enjoying themself and that we found out about the story behind the Woods origins. I love that Sarkan is with her ans still the same scowling person but I’m just…I’m so satisfied and happy. I have no other words to describe my enjoyment. This book deserves all the stars for holding my attention, for hurting me, for putting my heart at stake of breaking for making me laugh (out loud!) and for making me smile 🙂
In layman terms, I HIGHLY recommend this book to those who love fairy tales, action, great world building, slow burn romance (if your a maschoist like moi) and highly EPIC fantasy.
I hope you do pick it up and if you do or if you’ve read it, let me know!
See you on the other side of the book!