Uprooted by Naomi Novik
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Agnieska loves her home in the valley and her small village, but unfortunately her village is located near a corrupted Wood. A wizard named The Dragon protects the valley from the Wood, but he does so for a painful price. Once every ten years he takes a young woman from the valley to serve him for ten years. The next choosing is drawing near and Agnieska is afraid for her beautiful graceful best friend Kasia. Everyone knows Kasia will be chosen until The Dragon comes and she isn't.
Uprooted was an unexpected treasure. I decided to read it because one of my favorite authors, Peter V. Brett, raved how amazing it was and saying it mildly he wasn't kidding; Uprooted really blew me away.
The story started slowly for me as it was told entirely from Agnieska's internal point of view. She explained the wood, her world, and all she knew about The Dragon from her thoughts. Events went from a calm walk to an exhilarating run shortly after Dragon's choosing and I was enthralled to the end.
I really enjoyed Agnieska as a character. She's every bit a tough 17 year old girl. Nieska is kind, caring, and more than willing to fight to protect who/what she loves. She's one easy character to root for which is great since the whole story is told by her.
The Wood made a frightening and enthralling antagonist. It was nefarious and truly evil. I personally can always get down with a strong good versus evil tale and this story is certainly that. The Wood creates a definite horror element and I felt myself frightened for the characters while facing the wood. I actually walked by a little wooded area and gave it a cautious sideways glance because of the Wood. I definitely started walking faster and farther away too.
One other part of Uprooted that made it special was that the entire story is told in a single book. The current trend seems to be everything is at least a trilogy but Naomi Novik left out any extraneous and over explanatory parts to make one incredible tale from beginning to end.
Uprooted's overall storyline, characters, and magic were exquisitely done. I feel like I've cheated myself by not reading any other novels by Naomi Novik. I'll have to rectify that soon.
5 out of 5 stars
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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