July 24, 2015

Uprooted by Naomi Novik Review!


 
“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.

Uprooted surprised me. I started this book not really knowing what was going to happen based on the vague synopsis I read, but I was pretty excited because I kept hearing amazing things about this book. It was only natural that I was excited to read Uprooted after all the hype I heard.
One thing I loved about Uprooted was the fact that it featured a heroine who was kind of the underdog. Agnieszka (I'll admit I don't even know how to begin to pronounce her name) starts out as this shy and quiet girl, but once she spends more time with the Dragon, she begins to have a spark of attitude. We begin to see her slowly change from a shy and quiet girl to a girl who fights for what she believes in and begins to speak up. I could really relate to Agnieszka because her personality matched mine perfectly. I can't really say any more about her because it would spoil the book, but just know that she is a strong character that you will love. Then we have the Dragon aka Sarkan. I have to admit that I wanted to beat him over the head with a skillet throughout most of the book. He was just so arrogant and rude. I was rooting for Agnieszka to give him a good kick in the pants, but alas, she couldn't hear me. Anyway, he slowly began to grow on me. I am a sucker for men who start off as arrogant and mean and then slowly start to turn into a guy you could easily love. I could practically see his hard outer shell melting as the story went on. Plus, he was a pretty badass guy. I mean, he was a wizard and an immortal. Hello, can he get any cooler?! The answer is no. Not only are Novik's characters relatable, brash, and stubborn, but they also prove to add a lot of character to the story line of Uprooted.
The story line of this book is a mystery from the synopsis so I will try to keep it spoiler free. One thing that might turn people off to this book at first is the beginning. It is a slow beginning that gives a lot of detail to set the scene for the rest of the book, but it quickly picks up when Agnieszka and the Dragon go back to his tower. You don't have to wait long for things to get more interesting that's for sure. The story is a good one full of adventure, magical warfare, woods that devour people, and strong characters that will have you cheering for them. One thing I liked about the story was how magical it all seemed. The concept was one that I hadn’t heard before and it was really intriguing. However, I couldn't help but be disappointed in this book in the end. I felt like it didn't have enough romance for me. I know some people will roll their eyes but a book with romance in it is guaranteed to make me happy. In Uprooted there was a dash of romance or maybe even a smidgen of one, but not enough for me to love it. I liked the story fine because it features a strong heroine who was ready to save the world or at least her village, but I would have loved it if there had been more romance. In the end, I felt like the book was a little anti-climactic. I don't know what I was looking for in the end, but I know that Uprooted left me wanting. I just felt like the book was lacking in some way.
However, if you love adventure, magical themes, a headstrong heroine, and a great plot then I think you will love this book. I believe that readers of Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore, Defy by Sara Larson, and In the Time of Dragon Moon by Janet Lee Carrey will love this book for sure. It lacked the spark I needed to love a book so I will have to give Uprooted 3 out of five stars.