Naomi Novik's Uprooted

Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Disclaimer: I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

It is probably no surprise to anyone who has seen my reading list that I am a sucker for epics. I can't say no to stories that span hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of pages, where an author can take his/her time to introduce us to the characters and their relationships, construct complex mysteries and politics, and develop interesting and intricate magic / fantasy systems. I can't help but see big books (and the worldbuilding they promise) and sometimes get a little giddy -- hello new world, I want to devour and delight in you

But there is something delightful to me about finding a standalone novel that satisfies my epic fantasy hunger. And Novik's latest novel Uprooted does that so well!

Uprooted follows the story of Agnieszka, who has lived her entire life in the shadow of The Wood, a malevolent and corrupted forest miles from her valley home. We meet her just before she is chosen by the Dragon, a wizard who serves as the noble lord for her valley (and protects it as best he is able alone). The Dragon takes a girl from the valley aged 17 every 10 years, and the girls always return changed.

Within Agnieszka's story, Novik develops a complex world of sorcery and magic, with interesting characters and complex mysteries... all in under 500 pages. I couldn't put the book down once I started it; even when pesky things like child rearing and work made me do other activities, I was thinking about this story.

I loved Agnieszka's relationship with Kasia, her childhood friend. I loved the fact that there was a love interest in the story for Agnieszka, but that it wasn't the central facet of her story/development. I just plain loved Agnieszka; she was a bit stubborn but also often right about things despite everyone else's doubts. The pacing of the story was fantastic, and the plot moved unexpectedly enough that I wasn't certain where it was going to end up. 

As much as epic-loving me would love to revisit the world Novik has built here (maybe following a few other characters' tales), the ending was satisfying to me. I am definitely going to recommend this to friends/family/anyone who ever makes the mistake of asking me for an interesting story to read in the coming months! Five out of five stars. 

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