Published on May 21, 2015
Published by Ballantine Books, Del Rey, Penguin Random House
Format: eBook, 449 pages
Goodreads • Amazon • Book Depository
First sentence: Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley.
If you like fantasy and follow bookish community at least a little, then you have probably heard about Uprooted. For some time now, five-star reviews are pouring in. I had to read it and find out if Uprooted is as awesome as everyone said.
What Did I Like?
- The twist to dragon tribute cliche. The stories about a village giving sacrifices to dragons or evil wizards are pretty often. I loved the spin Naomi Novik did to that trope: why the girls are lost for their village even when they come back.
- Russian fairy tale vibe. As a kid, I read any fairy tale I could grab with my greedy hands and stories from Russia were my favorites. They were refreshingly different from classic European fairy tales but had enough familiar elements to catch my interest. I loved all the pieces of Russian folklore and way of life that Naomi Novik used. (I haven’t read a book like this since Deathless and it was years ago.)
- Dragon’s irritation with Agnieszka’s clumsiness. Whenever he started fuming over how messy she was or what unorthodox thing she did, I could not keep the smile from my face. Their relationship reminded me of the dynamics between Jaenelle and Saetan in The Black Jewels Trilogy.
- Realistic. Maybe it sounds strange, adding this attribute to a fantasy novel, but a lot of things from Uprooted felt real. It was like I read about the details from real life, just from some country far far away…
- Agnieszka’s go-with-the-flow attitude and improvisations. I’m too organized and often have trouble deciding what to do because I over-analyze everything. If I had a spell-book it would have been like Dragon’s with precise steps and measurements. I really loved Agnieszka, I wish I was more like her.
- Humor. There were a lot of funny moments. Do not expect laugh-out-loud gags though, Naomi Novik went with cute and sweet instead.
- Its a standalone! No waiting for the sequel. I like that feeling.
What I Didn’t Like?
- What kind of name is Agnieszka? My brain hurt whenever I read it and tried to pronounce it in my head. Saying it out loud sounded like a got phlegm stuck in my throat.
- I wish there was more info about the previous fallen empire. History of the Agnieszka’s country intrigued me, and although we find out a lot in the last part of the book, I wish I knew more. But it’s standalone so some things need to be sacrificed.
- Other characters were undeveloped compared to Agnieszka. But (again), since it’s standalone I am not looking at this as a big flaw. Maybe I should blame my girl-crush on Agnieszka for the fact that other characters didn’t catch my interest.
Uprooted was a perfect light fantasy book for the summer, with a lot of cute moments, realistic strong heroine, uncliched setting and idea. Every fantasy lover should check out Uprooted, when they need a break from more dark epic fantasy novels.