Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository
Series: No, ALAS
Release date: May 19th, 2015
Publisher: Del Rey (Random House)
Length: 438 pages
Source: purchased with zero regret
Rating: PER. FECTION.
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.
I'm obsessed with Uprooted. Consider this my declaration of love. I'm standing atop the school coffee cart, I'm singing and dancing with the school band across the bleachers, I'm just a girl, standing in front of a book, asking it to love her.
But it's all good. Because Uprooted loves me back. Because it's a magic book full of magic. It's a gruesome fairy tale, an atypical (AND STEAMY HALLOO) love story, it's rich and well-developed fantasy, it's pure escape, it's utterly harrowing, and it's by far one of my favorite books of the year. It is all the things to me. I read it slowly, something I never do with books, because this is the kind of story you want to savor and spend all your time with. Because it takes its time, letting you settle in the vast world of Agnieszka, Polnya, the Wood, and the Dragon.
This book has a familiar fairy tale-like set up. Agnieszka lives in a village in a fantasy version of Poland in a valley that has long been at battle against the Wood, aka the SENTIENT, EVIL FOREST THAT TRIES TO KILL/EAT/CORRUPT PEOPLE. The valley is guarded by an immortal wizard called the Dragon, who lives alone in a white tower at the valley's end. Every ten years, the Dragon takes a valley-born girl of seventeen to live with him in the tower for ten years. Agniezka and her best friend, Kasia, were born in a dragon year, meaning when they turn seventeen, the last girl's ten years will have expired. Everyone knows Kasia will be taken, since she' the specialest snowflake in the valley. But if you've ever read a book before, you know it won't be Kasia.
It's gangly, messy Agnieszka who's uprooted to the tower, and she has absolutely no idea how to handle it. But then, of course, she grows, and watching her do so is motherfucking boss.
What does Uprooted have? So many things. If any of the following appeal to you, get yourself to the nearest copy of Uprooted posthaste:
-hate to love ship (SHIPSHIPSHIPSHIPSHIPSHIPSHIP)
-a super grumpy immortal wizard who lives high up in a tower and has forgotten how to human and whose cantankerousness may partially be a front for Darcy-like insecurity
-an atypically ferocious heroine whose strength is her mind and her ability to adapt and grow
-an EVIL FUCKING WOOD THAT TRIES TO MURDER PEOPLE
-seriously this wood is the creepiest thing
-there are MONSTERS IN THERE like GIANT PREYING MANTISES
-(I nearly cried in terror during that one scene)
-AMAZING, complex, unique magic
-the magic is a shipper, i swear to god
-a girl who will do anything for her female best friend
-fantasy politics galore
-seriously the politics and the plot and the WHAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING is amazing and i will tell you nothing about it
-complex characters who are never purely good or bad (though Marek deserves a few swift kicks in the pants)
-twisty turny who is bad who is good OH GOD THE BODY COUNT RISES
-TERRIBLE MAGIC BLOODY BATTLES WITH HIGH BODY COUNTS
-Ship a dee doo dah, ship a dee day
-writing so beautiful you want to cry
- a fully realized, lush, fantastic fantasy world with lore and culture and food I want to eat
- a heroine who dearly loves her family and most of the time just REALLY wants to go home
-BUT WHAT IS HOME HMMMMM?
-ship of dreams
-the development in their relationship is so and perfect and D E A R G O D
-pretty sure my only complaint is that they weren't together in EVERY SINGLE SCENE
-but Agnieszka very much comes into her own ON her own so I can't be too mad
-ALSO BECAUSE OF THAT ONE SCENE
-OKAY THOSE TWO SCENES
-THOSE TWO SCENES
-a lightbulb that goes off in your head whenever the book uses the word "uprooted"
-queens and princes and murder and folklore and magic and witches and beasts
-why are you still reading this list and not the book
Read this haunted fairy tale. Read it. Become one with it. Let it corrupt you with its magic and let it take your soul aaaaand things have gone a bit weird so I'm going to skip out of here all high on book love