Book Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

22544764Agnieszka 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.

Rating: 8/10

Young adult fantasy is a genre that I simultaneously love and become easily annoyed with. Luckily, Uprooted falls on the side of why I love young adult fantasy. Agnieszka is a character that is interesting and multi-layered. She is strong, but also vulnerable when it comes to those she loves. She’s headstrong, and often does the exact opposite of what she is told. These aspects drive the Dragon absolutely crazy and it’s great.

I also appreciate that the magic in this book takes energy away from the user. Sometimes substantial amounts. I believe that if magic existed in the world, it would be similar to this. There were moments when I felt that Agnieszka was using spells that I felt should have taken more effort than they appeared to considering the affect they had. Some moments seemed to give the impression that she had endless amounts of magic. Her immense power comes about rather suddenly.

There are also times when it becomes a little difficult to follow the action. It sort of reads like a blob of magic stuff happening in which we’re not going to know what’s happening until we get to the other side.

Other than this, the book is solid and I appreciated that many of the tropes that occur in young adult fantasy (that’s the part that often annoys me) weren’t there, or they modified it. I would get into specifics, but that would require spoilers. A spoiler-filled review may be in the works…

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