Author: Naomi Novik
Number of Pages: 448 (Paperback)
Published: 12th May 2016 by Pan Macmillan
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. – from Goodreads
Just like Uprooted heroine Agnieszka, at the moment I feel as though I’m emerging from a deep, dark forest, but actually it’s a place I don’t want to leave. I’ve finished reading a great story and I need to tell you about it.
Agnieszka lives in the valley. The people are protected by a wizard known as the Dragon, but there is a price; he takes a valley girl into his service for ten years. No one knows exactly why, or what happens at the Dragon’s tower, but the girls are changed, and always leave their beloved valley behind once their ten years is up.
Agnieszka fears her best friend Kasia will be taken, but it will come as no surprise that this isn’t what happens at all, and Kasia meets a very different fate while Agnieszka is chosen to go with the Dragon.
I became invested in this story almost from the first moment. The way it’s written and the atmosphere it creates hits just the right tone for a great read – a determined young woman, a mysterious wizard with untold powers, an almost fairytale setting in the Dragon’s tower, and more magic than you could wish for. The magic is quite unusual, and I loved the descriptions of the way Agnieszka and the Dragon wove their different varieties of magic together.
This doesn’t usually happen for me when reading, but from the very first moment Agnieszka literally fell into the Dragon’s arms I really wanted them to get together. He was just so rattled by her presence, she put him off guard and I loved the dynamic between them. It’s definitely a slow burn, and starts out as more of a love/hate type situation.
The world building is wonderful, from the tower to the menacing darkness of the all-consuming Wood, a place literally alive with an evil that stretches way beyond the boundary of the Wood itself; sometimes it sends the people it has taken back out into the real world, looking perfectly normal, but hiding the deep corruption which ends in devastating consequences.
The Wood creeps over the land, enveloping villages and people, there is nothing it won’t claim, and that makes the force driving the Wood a formidable enemy for Agnieszka and the Dragon.
Uprooted features a great cast of characters, but to reveal too much would be to spoil the surprises in store if you read this book, so I’ll just say you definitely won’t be disappointed. A wonderful mix of magic, fantasy, romance, Uprooted was a great read, and I would love to find out there’s going to be a sequel.