Uprooted, Naomi Novik


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.

The problem with only writing one review a week is that when I have a lot of them already written, newer ones sit in my drafts for a while before actually posting. Which means that my first (technical) book review of the year won’t actually be seen, so it won’t look like my first actual read book of the year was not that.

But yes. At the current time of writing this, it is the first of January 2017, at about 5 in the evening. There is a glass of wine by my side (we couldn’t find any champagne) a fire roaring at the other side of the room, and a book by my computer that I have just finished.

Honestly, I almost regret reading this book at this point; I hadn’t planned to stay up for new years, since I was exhausted from work. However, I thought I would read a bit before sleeping. Three hours later, at 2 in the morning, I put the book down. When I got up this morning, I walked the dog, then sat down and read the last 100 pages or so, complaining whenever anyone distracted me. I don’t regret the reading (because I think the tone of this review already says I at least liked it) I regret that I loved it, and its set the bar far too high for every other book I read this year.

I didn’t actually go into this book expecting much. I don’t tend to these days, when books are hyped up online. I’ve been disappointed more than once, struck dumb on the reason why everyone seems to like that book.

But this one- it had everything I love in a book. Fairytales, magic, a grumpy immortal type… and a rather nice cover.

So I thought to try it, and I devoured it.

It was beautifully written. The words floating off the page and hovering before me so I felt like I was there in that dark wood with the characters, watching actions unfold. I wanted to know more about everything in their world. How the magic worked, how their magic all differed, the worlds history and what would happen next. I didn’t want to stop reading.

The characters were great as well- it’s pretty clear the Dragon was my favourite- he was so grumpy it made me laugh, but I did feel for him. I mean, Mainy was irritating at points, and he had spent so long on his own in his tower, not talking to anyone. He was lonely. Bless him.

The only problem I had was that I wanted more. I got to the last page and was like… ‘is this it?’ Everything seemed to be tided up really quickly, the last chapter a bit of a rush, as if it had run out of pages to be written on. But maybe that was because I didn’t want to let the characters go.

five stars


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