Author: Naomi Novi
Series Status: Stand-alone
My Rating: 4/5 stars
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.
Hey, guys! As you can probably tell already by the title today I am here with a review of Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Uprooted is an Adult Fiction, Fantasy book that is a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast and is heavily influenced by folk tales and the Grimm fairy tales which definitely comes across when reading. I first heard about this book from Booktuber, A Clockwork Reader. In Hannah’s video, ‘Adult Books for YA Readers‘, she recommends a bunch of books that are great for transitioning from reading YA to Adult Fiction. Ever since reading Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, I have had the urge to move away from YA fiction for a bit and expand my reading to Adult Fiction. I hadn’t heard anything about this book prior to watching this video, but the plot of Uprooted really intrigued me so when I was in Waterstones and I saw it, I decided to just pick it up and I was definitely not disappointed! Critics and authors have called it ‘darkly magical’, ‘bewitching’ and ‘enchanting’ and I couldn’t agree more which is why I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. Naomi Novik has a way with her writing that it made me feel as if I were reading a dark fairy tale. In my review, I am going to be talking in more detail about the writing, the different characters, setting, the magical system and also some things that I didn’t quite love about the book.
Firstly, the writing. Novik’s writing had a way of really engrossing me into the story and the world she had built. She At the same time it felt like I was reading an old fairy tale which I loved. As someone who mainly reads YA, I always think that Adult Fiction writing is going to be really daunting, but I didn’t feel like that at all with this book. It wasn’t too complex but also wasn’t bland. I think the writing combined with familiar YA aspects such as magic makes it a really great book if you are looking to delve into Adult Fiction for the first time. complex but also wasn’t bland. I think the writing combined with familiar YA aspects such as magic makes it a really great book if you are looking to delve into Adult Fiction for the first time.
Secondly, I really loved the main character Agnieska. From the beginning of the novel the reader is aware that she isn’t a perfect girl like you can find in a lot of YA books, but instead, she’s messy and clumsy which makes her extremely relatable. Throughout the book Agnieszka proves herself to be a strong female protagonist, never backing down and always standing up for herself and what she wants. Another character I really enjoyed was Kaisa. Although she isn’t the main protagonist Novik still developed her character in a great way. I really appreciate when side characters are developed by the authors and not just used as a tool in the plot of the book. She’s not just there to contrast the main character with her beauty and grace, but is also a strong character herself, which is definitely shown towards the end of the book. I really enjoyed reading about Agnieszka and Kaisa’s friendship, it was great to see the loyalty and love they had for each other. I also loved the Dragon, as you can see there is a trend going here. I felt that he was very different from a lot of male protagonists I’ve read before. Another aspect I really enjoyed was that the ‘love’ relationship was on the back burner throughout the majority of the book. In young adult fiction the majority of the time, romance is at the forefront of the book so it was a nice change to read something that focused more on individual character development, the magic system and the world building instead.
Additionally, Novik does a great job of building a fantastical world full of magic and imagination. It’s not too complex and she develops it throughout the entire book which makes it easy to understand. I also found the magical system she created to be extremely intriguing and different from what I’ve read before in other books. It was great to see as Agnieszka learned about her magic and how she and her powers developed throughout the book. One of the most unique things about this book is the Wood. The Wood is pretty much the ‘villain’ of this story, it’s this evil, magic and haunted woods that has the ability to corrupt people. There were lots of different aspects of the Wood that made it really intriguing such as the creatures known as walkers. Whenever the characters braved going into the Wood I found myself on the edge of my seat waiting to see what it would do next.
With all that being said, there were a few problems I had with this book. There were a few times where I found myself getting a little bored and putting the book down. Also, there were points nearer the end where I didn’t quite understand what was going on but it does ultimately come together nicely by the end. Overall, this book was thoroughly enjoyable and thrilling. It’s great for readers who want to delve into some adult fiction books and also for someone who loves dark fairy tales. I would say the book is aimed more towards older readers and not for young teens as there are sexual themes and darker elements to this novel. I would also like to point out and issue a trigger warning for potential readers. Before you decide to read this book know that there is one scene that contains sexual assault so just be aware of that before you start reading.
Thanks for reading!
Until next time,
Caitlin Lauren Grace x