Uprooted (Naomi Novik)

As a lover of folklore and fairytales, Uprooted by Naomi Novik has been on my list for quite a while now, just waiting for me to get around to it. And after reading The Bear and the Nightingale a week or two ago, I was reminded that this was on my list – so thank you! The blurb is really vague which is cool, because it means anything can happen in the 400 odd pages…

“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.”

Blurb from Goodreads

This is a combination of Beauty and the Beast, and the Dragon tales, and unexpected magic, and clumsy fools showing those set in their ways how to loosen up. There were bits I adored, and bits I felt were kinda dull. I wasn’t a fan of the (utterly predictable) romance but I could see how the sequence events lead to *that* particular romance.

I am finding it incredibly hard to structure a review. Overall, I really enjoyed this book – I liked how the fairy tale involved a vengeful wood that is alive, and how you see everything through the main character’s very blinkered, sheltered perception – if she doesn’t have cause to know a word then it simply isn’t used. The Dragon, a wizard centuries into protecting the kingdom from the attacks of the Wood, is a bit of a whiney child who really doesn’t like how the main character handles things. But I did like how he compares her relationship with Kaisa to a relationship he had when he was young and naive himself.

So, hard to tangle threads for a review – this was pretty lyrical, and it was interesting: the drip feeding of information through the limited scope of our main character creates tension and reveals more of what is going on as well. It was engaging and I flew through the book (which may have more to do with the fact I was reading in the library and I wanted to be able to hand the book back in to save a trip later in the week…) and I am glad I read it, but I don’t think I’ll be rereading it any time soon, or adding to my shelf collection.

I do want to try the Dragon series of Naomi Novik, and also to read her latest Spinning Silver.

I like being able to tick things off my TBR list – it is insanely satisfying! I have Queen of the Tearling out at the moment, and then I really need to get on with the books I own so I can cut down how many books I have!

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