Thursday, 14 April 2016

Book Review : Uprooted by Naomi Novik *Spoiler Free*

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

5/5 Stars

Publisher : Del Rey
Released: May 19th, 2015
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 438

“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.”

The story opens in a village where 17-year-old Agnieszka has been living with her family all her life. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. In order to keep the Wood at bay, the villagers rely on the help of the Dragon, a powerful wizard. As compensation for his efforts, the Dragon demands a tribute: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years. With the next choosing approaching, she is afraid. Everyone knows that the Dragon will take her best friend, Kasia. But when the Dragon comes, it isn’t Kasia he chooses. Instead he chooses Agnieszka.

Uprooted has quickly become one of my favourite reads of the year. It has everything I could ever want in a book. That being said, I’m finding it surprisingly difficult to write a review for it. I went into this book knowing very little; I actively avoided reading anything about this book after I picked it up. And I think that’s partially why I enjoyed this book so much. I didn’t know what to expect going in, so I really couldn’t be disappointed. And I was definitely not disappointed. This book blew me away. From start to finish, this book held me in its grasp and didn't let go.

I won't go into specific plot details. To give it all away would ruin the experience that is this book. (And boy is this book an experience). But I will say that it was very well done; complicated, dark and twisted in all the best ways. Seriously. What I really loved the most about Uprooted was the feeling it gave me. It’s an indescribable feeling, almost like a nostalgic love. It has all the makings of a familiar fairytale story, something you might have heard as a child. And this book is so well-defined that it produces powerful feelings and strong, clear images in your mind. You can practically feel the evil lurking inside and seeping through the pages.

Another thing I loved was the focus on the friendship between Agnieszka and Kasia. Kasia always seemed to remain her priority at all times; and the strengths and weaknesses of their friendship felt honest and real, especially for their age. And it was a much greater focus than the romance. And I love that. I love books with strong female friendships. But don’t get me wrong, I also enjoyed the romance-y bits. It’s just refreshing to see it take a bit of a back seat.

I have to say this book was such a beautiful, dark fantasy read. It read like a modern fairytale. Great world-building, engaging narrator, and spectacular depiction of magic without dumping too much information. I could easily see this book becoming a classic in the future. If you're a fan of beautifully crafted stories, hideous monstrosities that are all too human, and good triumphing over evil, read it.

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