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Review: Uprooted


Title: Uprooted
Author: Naomi Novik
Page Count: 435
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Published by: Del Rey Books
Date Published: May 19, 2015
You can find it here: Bookshop.org


An evil, malevolent, murderous wood is determined to consume the kingdom. One wise, immortal wizard known as the Dragon is the people’s only protection. His price? Every ten years he selects one girl to serve him. He doesn’t harm them, but they are forever changed when they return and find they can no longer reside in village life.

Agnieska, born in a selection year, has known her whole life that her beautiful best friend Kasia will be selected and she’ll be left all alone. But selection day does not go as predicted and it is not Kasia who is chosen.

At first terrified, but full of fire, Agnieska has no idea what it is she is expected to do. She can’t cook, she can’t clean, she is clumsy and difficult and accident prone. The Dragon is a clean, precise perfectionist. They verbally spar, they fight, but Agnieska quickly learns she is different from other selected girls, discovering hidden powers inside herself that only the Dragon can help her tame. As the terrifying wood draws closer and closer Agnieska will have to harness her powers and strength to save the people and land she loves.


1. Let’s talk characters: The liking of this book hinges upon one major, debated factor … liking the Dragon. This is a cantankerous, ornery, pessimistic character and you have to get a kick out of his curmudgeon status, or the book will be an uphill battle. I enjoyed this downright grumpy, incredibly brilliant, centuries old wizard. I found his biting comments to Agneiszka quite funny…wouldn’t you be a bit sore after battling an evil, man consuming wooded forest for centuries alone?

Angeiska displayed a lot of character growth and I really enjoyed where she ends up. I struggled at first to fully connect to her but she definitely grew on me and I enjoyed her loyalty, bravery, intelligence, fierceness, and the biting banter with the Dragon.

Her best friend Kasia is another powerful, brave woman and overall unique, stand out character. I loved their friendship. I love the relationships overall in this story as they were honest, never perfect, and therefore more believable.

2. Let’s talk plot & pacing: For a 400-odd page book this reads like a much longer tome, and I can’t explain why that is. It can be a bit dense and descriptive. A little confusing and slowly paced at the beginning … but once you give into that and allow it some time it is an incredibly immersive world. I think it’s important to remember this is an Adult Fantasy and as a genre in general they are more descriptive, they are more dense, and they require a bit more work and time. But they are worth it, because they bring such a complete experience.

3. Let’s talk world: Immersive, unique, gritty, violent and fully realized. Naomi Novik weaves a complicated, riveting, unique world.

4. Let’s talk romance: Is it insta-love? No. Is it the main focus of the novel? No. It is quiet, it is slow, it takes a back seat to the main plot (evil, murderous woods) and it forms first from respect, bonded intelligence (my favourite), and friendship. I thought it was fabulous.

5. Overall Take: While there are definite Beauty and the Beast nods/themes throughout the story, Uprooted takes on a whole new identity and is all the better for it. A thoroughly plotted, at times slow, completely enveloping, story for fans of stories that take their time, develop a world, and break formulas. Those looking to move away from formulaic, trope-laden fantasy will be fully enchanted here. I know I was.

6. TBR Ranking: Top

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