Uprooted by Naomi Novik Review: Enchanting, Magical & EPIC

September 22, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 5 stars, Books, Reviews

Uprooted by Naomi Novik Review: Enchanting, Magical & EPICUprooted by Naomi Novik
Published by Macmillan on May 21, 2015
Source: Publisher
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson
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Naomi Novik, author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed Temeraire novels, introduces a bold new world rooted in folk stories and legends, as elemental as a Grimm fairy tale.
“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”
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.

Uprooted was a truly magical and enchanting experience that combined magic, a wonderful fairy tale world and blurred lines between good and evil. It starts off as a Beauty and the Beast retelling, introducing us to Dragon (who’s actually a Wizard) who comes to a village every 10 years and takes a girl back to his tower. As the story builds upon the intrigue behind Dragon and his magic, and how Agnieszka copes with it all, it slowly builds and builds, into an epic fantasy tale that will EXPLODE into an action-packed crescendo at the end of the book.

The start of the book slowly introduces us to Agneiszka and Dragon as they get to know each other. Although Dragon is an ages old Wizard and Agneiszka is a 17 year old girl, it doesn’t come off as creepy, especially when you find out his motives.

‘He wasn’t a person, he was a lord and a wizard, a strange creature on another plane entirely, as far removed as storms and pestilence. But he had stepped down from that plane; he had given me real kindness.’

I loved the intelligent, meticulous and restrained Dragon, who reminded me so much of Mr Darcy. He’s completely clueless when it comes to the lively Agneiszka, who is so different to the other girls that he’s taken under his wing. She may not be the most beautiful or polite maiden, but just her charm, smarts and loyalty just made her feel so real and vibrant. She’s clumsy and always makes a mess of herself but she’s just incredibly lively, loving and intuitive.

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All of the characters here are flawed which made them real and authentic, from Dragon wasn’t particularly in touch with his emotions, to Agnieszka’s plain and clumsy self, the Prince who was just looking out for himself and the strong, confident and beautiful Kasia who everyone dismisses as simply being pretty. The supportive friendship between Kasia and Agnieszka was enviable, with mutual love and respect for each other, despite their differences. No matter what, they stood by each other which helped them both into the strong heroines they became.

Magic is the crux of the story in Uprooted, and it plays a big part in the world building and the development between Agnieszka and Dragon. This fairy tale world, filled with spoken magical words, the forces of good and evil, enchanted creatures and the foreboding woods was just so enveloping. It’s the little details that made the world really come to life, with the food, fashions, language and lore and the creatures all weaving into the book beautifully.

“I’m not stupid, nor a liar,” I said, “and if I can’t do any good, I can at least do something”

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Part Beauty and the Beast, fairy tale and epic fantasy, Uprooted was something completely unique and refreshing, filled with magic, enchanting characters, twists and action in a beautiful fairy tale setting. The blurred lines between good and evil, the heroism, and the flawed royalty just completely blew me away. It’s a shame it’s a standalone though – I would have loved more of this wonderful world and of course, more Dragon!

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me this book for review! 

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Jeann is an Aussie blogger, gamer, reader who loves to read, write, fangirl, geek out and eat food. You can find me glued to one of my many mobile devices 24/7, or fangirling over the latest YA book, TV show, movie or game. Chat with me on Twitter @happyindulgence

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53 responses to “Uprooted by Naomi Novik Review: Enchanting, Magical & EPIC

  1. You got me at Mr. Darcy. 😛 I'm so glad you loved this book cause I have it on audio! I hope the narrator's good! I might read this next..still deciding what to read! I skimmed your review since I want to go in blind but you're rating is enough Jeann! 😀
    My recent post Review: Night Film by Marisha Pessl

  2. I'm SO happy you loved this one!! It took me a long time to get into this story, but once I did, I fell so in love with this story, the characters, and the fairytale aspect of it. Agnieszka is one of my favorite heroines ever, and I adored her character arc. And I was happy that the relationship between her and the Dragon never felt creepy, because it could have turned out so badly had it. But I came to adore the two of them together, but her and Kasia's friendship was probably my favorite aspect. SO wonderful to see that in a YA book. Gah, I could go on and on. I just loved this book so much. And I loved your review, Jeann!

    • I totally agree, I'm glad it didn't get creepy because she is younger than Dragon. It was so wonderful! I completely agree Holly <3

  3. To be honest, I am SO SCARED of reading this book because practically everyone has loved it … and what if I don't? *hides* I think it really DOES sound like something I could fall in love with (I mean, a Beauty and the Beast retelling – heck YES), so I am definitely down for reading it. Especially since the characters are flawed, and it brings into question good and evil. I LOVE BOTH OF THOSE THINGS. I think I might try to see if this one is at the library 😀

    Great review, Jeannie <3
    My recent post Review: When I Was Me by Hilary Freeman

    • It was just such an amazing book, I'm glad it's not just me who thinks he's like Mr Darcy hehe! The forest, it was such an amazing touch!

  4. danielleisbusyreading

    Omg you just compared the Dragon to Mr Darcy…. WHY HAVE I NOT READ THIS YET?! Everyone I know has loved it! I seriously need to get this…

    Lovely review as always, girl!

  5. I adored Nieszka's magic and attitude, and how she always chose her own way despite whatever else might happen! And I loved her friendship with Kasia and how important it was for both of them!
    And of course, I loved how the Dragon had no idea what to do with her once she started learning her own way of magic!
    And the creepy Woods? LOVED!
    My recent post Walk On Eath A Stranger Release Day Blitz!!

    • I know, she just had such a wonderful headstrong personality, I really loved her and the friendship and of course, Dragon! So much awesome in the book.

  6. Jeannnnnnnn (said in the whiniest voice I could muster), I NEEEED this book. This actual book, with the pretty cover. Not the US cover which is ugly. I want to read this SO badly, and everything you've said about it makes me crave it even more. Especially the five stars you gave it 😀 Some day, I will be less broke and purchase it, but for now, I will just drool at your picture, and try to pronounce Agnewhatevertheheck. Fabulous review, so glad you loved it!
    My recent post FALLing Into My TBR

    • Oh Shannon I can imagine that whiny voice in my head too lol! The UK cover is just sooo gorgeous, I\’m not the biggest fan of the US cover either. I hope you will get to read it soon!

  7. I didn't quite like this as much as you did Jeann (it just wasn't my cup of tea, you know?), but I can imagine if I was more into fantasy I would have adored it. I did love the gorgeous writing and the eerie forest though. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3 So glad you liked this so much! xD

    • I know, I\’m a huge fantasy reader so I loved it that way! Glad you found parts of it you liked. It\’s awesome to find a book that you love!

  8. Alexandra

    Lovely, lovely review, Jeann!!! I have only heard AMAZING things about this book, and want to read it so badly! And the Australian cover is gorgeous! (I love the U.S. cover as well, but it's really interesting to see how different they are!)

  9. Uhm. Did you say, Mr. Darcy? You know I'm not a fan of these type of stories, but you mentioned the magic words. 🙂 I like how different this book sounds like. I've seen a whole slew of reviews for this book and they all share your sentiment. So what the heck am I doing resisting? Bah.

    • I can\’t wait for you to read it Kayla, I hope you love it! Can\’t wait to hear what you think and I can\’t wait for you to meet Dragon 😀

  10. Anne

    Ah, I loved this book. It is one of my favorites of the year. My favorite part is how disparate the magic styles are between Agnieszka and The Dragon. Her magic is so messy, his so pristine. And of course, I was fanning myself at some points…
    My recent post TTT: Books that make us think of fall

    • I completely agree Anne, there was just so much goodness here! I loved their differences in magic and how Nieshka just had the skill for it. IT WAS SO HOT

  11. nirvanaamjad

    OH OH. This sounds fab. Although I expected a DRAGON…and it turned out to be a person, heuheu. The forest sounds so cool though! And I love the way you described the book – totally my type.

    Did that mini cage come with the book, or did you previously own it? :'O Either way, it totally fits the theme of the book and looks like it's made for it XD Lovely review, Jeann <3
    My recent post What’s that you say? THREE YEARS?

    • I went in thinking the same thing Nirvana, imagine my surprise when that wasn't the case? The case is just an accessory that I have lying around 🙂 Thanks lovely!