I am not an adventurous person, I’d rather sit at home and read my book with a warm coffee or tea at hand. However, once in a while I do love to travel to other places, to discover a new prospect that is quite different from your everyday life. I think we travel to not only see the world, but also to appreciate that roots we cultured in our homes, in our hearts. Uprooted by Naomi Novik is the story that teaches us that. So, let’s get to reviewing it! 🙂
Author: Naomi Novik
Edition/Format: Hardcover, 448 pages
Year Published: 2015
Synopsis: The story is told from the point of view of a girl named Agnieszka, awho lives in a village valley. Her love for her home is deeply rooted and unyielding and comparable to the love she feels for her family and friends. The valley and the kingdom in entirety is situated at the precipice of the Wood. A mystical, powerful, corrupted forest that has been dormant for a decade. They are protected by a powerful wizard and recluse named as The Dragon. Every ten years, the Dragon chooses a girl from the village valley, to take to the castle in exchange from his continuing protection against the malice of the Wood. This year is no different. The Dragon will make his pick and Agnieszka as well as her beloved friend Kasia will be among the girls to be chosen from. Agnieszka is expecting that the Dragon will eventually pick the beautiful Kasia, everyone knows it and she greatly fears for it. However, Agnieszka’s fate takes a twisted turn as she encounters the power behind the Dragon and discovers the connection she has with the Wood. She eventually realizes the complexities of her roots and why she could not run away from her destiny.
What I think about it:
First off, aesthetically, the book cover is truly beautiful! Both the UK and US editions are beautifully crafted covers that really reflect what the story is about. But I gravitated more to the UK cover, that’s why I bought it from http://www.bookdepository.com. With the stunning book cover, I’d like to believe it would also reflect with the story too. However, although the writing is quite beautiful, I was just okay with it. The book has some flaws that are worth discussing. The plot, first off, is introduced as a fantasy mystery of why the Dragon takes a girl every 10 years and why it helps to protect the kingdom from the malice of the Wood. No one knows why these girls are taken, why they come back never the same again and why they decide to eventually leave the valley. I really like that element of mystery in the story. It sets you up for the journey the Agnieszka takes to discover the truth behind the Wood’s endgame. The pacing of the first act is quite slow, character motivations are not easily revealed, we just only get the first hand impression of Agnieszka for every character she encounters. But the slow pacing is necessary because we see her growth as the story progresses. Some plot lines I feel though, is quite unnecessary. It made the story a lot longer than it needed to be. However the story peaks at the third act, where shit goes down. Like literally hitting the fan and just blows your mind. LOL. Also this story has one of those LOTR endings, long endings if I must say. It took too long to wrap up.
Let’s talk about the characters. Agnieszka, the main character reminds me a lot of Katniss. I don’t know why, there are too many of them lying around. It’s becoming a recurring theme as I observed in the YA genre, wherein the main character is this unassuming I’m-not-really-that-pretty-and-attractive-girl-but-I-really-could-kick-yo-ass type of chick. It’s becoming tiring for some reason. But anyway, the relationship she has with the Dragon, for some reason when they are in a scene, works. It carries the story through out. And when you feel that they are apart, both characters just fall flat. The Dragon’s motivations are quite pragmatic. He has a different view on love and duty, totally different from what Agnieszka feels. I really don’t know, if that’s a plus, but it does give the Dragon’s character a little bit depth. Just a little bit.
The magic system is portrayed here in a very unique way. It is sometimes described as a song, or the process of growing tree or that of a blooming flower. It’s writing seems fluid and seamless and that’s what I really like about it. Overall, I gave the story 3/5 stars in Goodreads. It is well crafted fantasy adventure that stumbles in some of its plot pacing and character building.
So how about you? have you read this story? Tell me what you think about it 🙂