“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.
I had some high expectations going into Uprooted. All the early reviews were fantastic and it’s been optioned for a film…so let’s just say this book had a LOT to live up to. And, thankfully, it did. I adored the writing, characters and story.
I’m not entirely sure of what classification this book fits into–young adult or adult, but I felt that the pacing and overall feel was more adult but would be easily accessible to a young adult reader as well. Uprooted is a standalone so we get the entire story packed into one book which is always nice for a change of pace. I must admit though, I’m greedy and do wish there would be a sequel. I think I might have enjoyed the story even more if it could have spread over two books. I felt like some of the character interactions would have benefited from being longer and more drawn out.
The characters were fabulous- especially the Dragon. He was the perfect mixture of mysterious, inaccessible yet caring. I felt like him and Agnieszka had incredible dialog and chemistry. I was so sad though that we didn’t have more scenes of them together (see I am greedy). The side characters were strong as well and everyone felt well rounded to me.
One of my favorite elements of Uprooted was the scary Wood. It seems like many fairy tales always have the scary wood but rarely do we really get the full scope of what caused it to be that way or an adequate description of the forest. In this book the wood was such an entity and felt like a character. I was fairly creeped out by the imagery and was incredibly impressed with how creative Novik was in her describing the wood dwelling creatures.
Novik did a masterful job of incorporating fairytale elements into her story and the feel of this book felt very reminiscent of Grimm’s fairy tales. There’s this nice descript on Goodreads, “…introduces a bold new world rooted in folk stories and legends, as elemental as a Grimm fairy tale” that’s incredibly accurate concerning this book.
Bottom line- I loved the writing, story and I had legit swoons though I’d hoped for a tiny bit more development for the relationship. Expect to be mesmerized by the world and to fall in love with the characters…just don’t expect to have enough scenes between the main leads.