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.
Uprooted, The Book Review: (minor spoilers, read at your own risk)
Uprooted is marketed as Young Adult fiction, though this is absolutely false once you get into the story. The only ingredient that really would make it Young Adult, is the fact that the main character Agnieszka is 17, because this is actually a more mature story, and definitely should be aimed at Adults. Putting that aside, I really enjoyed the beginning of the story. If you read the summary of Uprooted then you know that it is not her best friend Kasia that gets chosen, but Agnieszka is the one chosen by the Dragon. The dragon, is not an actual dragon, it is his wizard name.
The beginning of the story I loved, and it definitely has a few touches that reminded me of Beauty and the Beast. The reluctant “beast” and the young “beauty”, but that’s sort of where it ends. I will say that Naomi Novik is a wonderful writer, and I intend to check out her other stories when I get a chance, but there was something that lost me midway through Uprooted.
First, I found the growing relationship between Agnieszka a girl of 17 and the Dragon not only completely inappropriate but also extremely creepy. It just reminds me of when I was a teen and being stared at like a piece of meat by much older men. It threw me off, because I was hoping that maybe this would be the story that wouldn’t have any kind of romance in it. I loved the magic, and how they worked together with the magic but in my opinion the romance factor was completely unnecessary.
Second, I found that as I reached the middle and the end, so many different characters were introduced, and the story became a little convoluted. I understood everything that was happening, but there were a lot of different things happening, and it could have been explained a bit better. I understood everything about the village and why the people stay, and the whole Wood-Queen thing, but it just seemed like too much saved for the end.
Finally, while the ending sort of came and I felt nothing for most of the characters, I did enjoy the realistic friendship of Kasia and Agnieszka. You can tell they would jump through flaming hoops, maybe even quite literally to help one another, but there’s a bit of jealousy there, both showing some of their flaws. It was refreshing to see that.
Final Thoughts on Uprooted:
This wasn’t a favorite read of mine. It took me a long time (for me anyway) to get through it because I just preferred to read my Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire book when I had the time, and I lost interest in the characters half way through. I still say that Naomi Novik writes this story beautifully, it is just a story that’s “okay” for me. It just might not be my cup of tea. If you love magic and weird romances that are borderline creepy this might be for you. Also dear publisher, this book is NOT Young Adult! Stop selling it as such.
This gets 3 out of 5 Metal Horns from me!