Review of Uprooted by Naomi Novik

By: Naomi Novik
Release Date: May 19th 2015
Publisher: Del Rey
Format: ARC
Source: Book trade

My Rating:

“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.

My Thoughts:
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.

Final Thoughts:
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.


  1. Ellie Robinson says

    I just finished this last night and i loved it! The last scene in the book made me squeal with delight.
    Apparently it’s being turned into a movie, so it’ll be really interesting to see how they’ll bring the wood to life.

  2. says

    OMG YAY I AM SO GLAD IT’S GREAT! My copy just arrived and I was a bit nervous at first because, well, it’s huge, and I also thought it was YA not adult. I get a bit overwhelmed with adult books sometimes. But if it’s more accessible to a YA audience, then I should be fine. ^_^ I’m just so excited for the dragon!! and an actual terrifying wood. YAY FOR CREEPY. Ahem. 😉

    • says

      I know that feeling! I try to go in release order but bleh. I always just go with what I’m in the mood for. I hope you really enjoy Uprooted

  3. says

    I am so glad that this lived up to your expectations because I have some pretty high ones myself. But I fully expect to love it – it is right up my ally! And I am happy to hear that it reads more like an Adult book.

    Woo I shall be reading this one soon!

  4. says

    This books just keeps on exploding on Twitter. I’m also kind of nervous because of the hype and that the two main characters didn’t have lots of scene together like you mentioned. Because I love fantasy but I love it even more if it has a romance. Sort of like Throne of Glass. The romance was more like a side plot but it was there.

    • says

      There is a romance element but I wanted more for sure. The book was wonderfully executed though and really had a fairy tale feel. I hope you enjoy it!

  5. says

    I am about halfway through this book and am loving it! I expected to like it but not love it as much as I am. Glad to hear the ending’s a good one…I’m excited to finish but at the same time I don’t want it to end, knowing there’s no sequel!

  6. says

    But.. but.. but.. Was I the only one that hated this book? lol. It was a two star read for me 🙁 I just.. I didn’t see anything good about it. Yet EVERYONE is loving it. And I hated it. And I can’t see why any of you loved it, lol 😀 But this happens often.. Either way, though, your review is gooorgeous Kristen 😀 You are amazing. And I am thrilled that you weren’t disappointed by this book 🙂 That is the most important part. <3 Thank you for sharing your thoughts about it 🙂

    • says

      I’m so sad you didn’t like it Carina! It always sucks when everyone loves a book and you don’t see why! It’s like…did you get a different version than we did?

  7. says

    I didn’t hear about this book until a month ago, and it seriously sounds amazing. So happy to see everyone is enjoying it! I’m a little sad that the romance wasn’t as developed as you hoped, but everything else sounds great! Awesome review, Kristen!

  8. says

    I’m glad you liked this one – it was one of my favourite reads of 2015! I agree, the Wood was freaking scary, I don’t like going into the woods alone (especially at night) as it is and I would *never* venture into that Wood by myself!
    I’m glad it’s a standalone, they are so rare in YA fantasy…

  9. says

    I’m glad Uprooted lived up to the hype! It’s hard when everyone is gushing over it. I think I’d classify it was an adult fantasy, both because of the pacing and because of the romance. Also, there were many layers to the plot, instead of one, straightforward plot like we see in most YA fantasy. But I definitely think I would have enjoyed it as a teen as well.

    I think the romance was one of my favorite parts, since it’s so rare for the female MC to be the one to take charge and initiate the relationship. It was so refreshing to see such a kickass heroine!

    I’m sooo excited to see how the movie comes together!

  10. says

    I had NO idea that this has been optioned for film. I just read it over the weekend, and I kept thinking, “This would make a fantastic movie,” and I don’t often think that, even when I absolutely love a book. Novik’s imagination is incredible.

  11. says

    I have seen A LOT of positive things for this book too which is why I am going to add this to my TBR now. I am not the biggest fan of the cover but the content is what matters and this one sounds like it has a brilliant content. I love the sound of Dragon the character as well ^,^

  12. says

    I felt the same way about the whole YA x Adult thing, and I definitely wanted more romance. But I’m a romance addict, so no surprise there. Great review.


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