So I’m going to try the bullet-style review for today’s post on Uprooted by Naomi Novik. This is my first time trying this style out but sometimes you just want a quick overview of a story, rather than a complete critical analysis, you know? So let me know what y’all think of it – good or bad – so I can know whether or not to utilize this style review in the future!
“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.
- Novak’s style of writing is beautiful and vivid, really pulling you into the story.
- Inspired by a Polish fairytale, rather than the more well-known fairytales we hear such Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, etc.
- Strong female character who isn’t the same ol’ beautiful and perfect girl who doesn’t wait for men to validate her existence.
- Very unique plot line with a really interesting twist at the end!
- The romance played a fairly small part and didn’t overshadow the adventure.
- Felt a little detached from the characters, not truly connecting to any of them.
- I wish there had been more of a focus on The Dragon. There seemed like a really missed opportunity with him, as he was the most interesting character but we never had a chance to really get to know him.
- A bit of an info dump – I wish there had been a map of the world at least to help you navigate.
All in all, I truly enjoyed this book and I feel like the flaws that it had were perhaps exacerbated by the fact it was a stand-alone fantasy novel, which are very difficult to pull off due to the scope of them. But I thought this was a great introduction to Novik’s writing and I’m really looking forward to reading some more of her novels. I actually went into this book feeling like I may not enjoy it because when I heard her on a panel at BookCon, she came across very methodical and structured in her writing habits and I prefer to think of writer’s like myself – eccentrics who go with the flow.
But seriously, if you’re looking for a beautifully written stand-alone fantasy novel, then this book is perfect for you!
Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars
Have you read Uprooted? What did you think of the story? How do you like the bullet-style review? Have you read any other books by Naomi Novik?