RATING: 5 Stars
“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, ambitious wizard, known only as the Dragon, to keep the wood’s powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman must be handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as being lost 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 no one can predict how or why the Dragon chooses a girl. And when he comes, it is not Kasia he will take with him.”
[THIS BOOK IN ONE SENTENCE: 17-year-old Agnieszka is taken by the Dragon – the kingdom’s most powerful and necessary wizard – as a price for his protection against the darkest forces imaginable.]
[WHAT I REALLY WANTED TO SAY: A messy teenage girl with a perfect best friend is taken as tribute by “the Dragon”, otherwise known as Gordon Ramsay in a wizard’s hat.]
I LOVED this book. Uprooted consumed me for three days. I could hardly sleep; I had to finish it. Even hours after reaching the last word of the last page, Agnieszka, the Dragon, and their twisted but beautiful world stayed with me. I still can’t get the characters out of my mind. I feel like they’re my best friends. I just went on an adventure that made me cry, gasp, and sob numerous times, but I still came out of it laughing at the Dragon’s endearing remarks and giving Agnieszka a shoulder to fall back on. Trust me; she needs it.
Agnieszka is a sloppy mess in a dress who can’t walk anywhere without ripping her skirt or dragging it into the mud. She’s unattractive and gangly to many, horse-faced to some, and, wait a minute – she’s also more badass than anyone else ever. This girl is stubborn and will do anything to save the ones she loves. I never got tired of her and couldn’t leave Uprooted out of my sight, lest something happened to her!
I’m smitten with Agnieszka. She represents the ideal strong female character because she’s not just made strong as a token; she’s breathing it, living it, and exemplifies this trait in everything she does. I want to be like her! Except, maybe, for getting myself dirty all the time. Nevertheless, she’s the heroine that you worry so much about, you cry your eyes out onto the pages.
The Dragon is an intricate and hilarious character all on his own. He’s critical of Agnieszka, and it’s not scary; the dialogue is funny to both her and the readers. He’s an incredibly analytical centuries-old wizard who gets so infuriated by this girl that he drops lines like this:
He roared at me furiously for ten minutes after he finally managed to put out the sulky and determined fire, calling me a witless muttonheaded spawn of pig farmers — “My father’s a woodcutter,” I said — “Of axe-swinging lummocks!” he snarled.
I laughed hysterically. There’s a lot more. His insults are at Gordon Ramsay’s level, only he’s criticizing a skill that doesn’t involve cooking.
Agnieszka’s best friend Kasia is a badass herself and a worthwhile character to know. Plus, there are so many other people that Agnieszka meets who are vital to the story: handsome Prince Marek, leering Sonya, wise Alosha, the King himself, and more. And let’s not forget about the Wood; how could I ever forget? Novik made me feel its pulsing evil with the creepiest passages ever. Seriously.
Uprooted isn’t only entertaining; it’s miles deep. From the worldbuilding to the characterizations, Agnieszka’s entire universe was laid out right in front of me. It’s glorious. The magic in this book actually makes sense and is treated like a talent that turns into multifaceted skill, and no two wizards are necessarily alike in their powers.
Never have I seen a more powerful representation of just how different someone can become after a tragedy. Tragedy engenders grief, then anger, then rage, and after that… maybe some emotions can go too far. Trust me when I say that every character, every single one, is going to be fleshed out from top to bottom, and you will see their roots, their souls, their hearts. You will live and die with them as I did.
Novik expertly utilizes Polish fairy tales and the legend of Baba Jaga to create a world all her own. You go girl. 100%; 5 out of 5; would get with the Dragon.
I’d recommend Uprooted to literally everyone, but especially to lovers of fantasy fiction and badass female protagonists.
This book was published on May 19th, 2015 by Del Rey Books.