Published: May 19th 2015 by Del Rey
Buy on Amazon
View on Goodreads
I read Uprooted by Naomi Novik several months ago, but haven’t gotten around to writing a proper review. It’s been long enough that the details are getting a bit fuzzy, but I still want to write something about it, even if what I write won’t quite do the book justice.
Uprooted is the kind of book that ruins other books because it is so beautifully written. The story is set in a fantasy world that strongly resembles Poland, and opens with a fairy tale vibe. The protagonist, Agnieszka, lives in a small village. She’s about to be sacrificed to a Dragon in order to protect her people. But the Dragon in this story is a metaphorical one; he isn’t *really* a dragon, but rather a wizard who keeps to himself in his tower and generally lacks human company.
At first, Agnieszka is frightened and angry, confused at why a wizard would choose her. And then the wizard starts to teach her magic. But Agnieszka is a girl of the village, and her very soul is unlike the mages in the city who write spells in books and rely on formulas. Agnieszka’s magic is wild and untamed, like the forests and the creatures that dwell within, and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t get magic to work by using the Dragon’s methods.
The story could have stopped there and already been phenomenal. But then the real plot of the story begins. The forest around Agnieszka’s village is a dangerous living thing. It is a ravenous beast intent on consuming human civilization. It is intelligent, and it is hungry. And during all the years that the Dragon has lived alone in his tower, he has been fighting a battle for mankind’s existence. He has been very much alone in his fight.
Uprooted is the kind of dark fairy tale that has something for everyone. There’s romance, magic, and danger. Adventures and battles against terrible foes… Uprooted is the kind of book that reminds you why you fell in love with reading in the first place. And it’s also one of those rare fantasy standalone novels that can pull you into a story of grand proportions, but manages to do it all in a single volume. And even though it’s been months since I read it, I still can’t stop thinking about it.