This is a book I purchased after it came up on my recommended list on Amazon and I hadn’t heard of it before or the author so I got stuck in. I think it’s perfect for anyone who likes darker versions of fairytales and cultural stories with a twist. I found it so enjoyable and for once I fully savoured the book – I’m a notoriously fast reader so this is a big deal!
The story focuses on Agnieska, a girl who lives in a small village in a seemingly peaceful and idyllic valley. However things are not so simple as the threat of the malevolent enchanted forest looms nearer, for once someone sets foot in the Wood they don’t come out the same. The villagers rely on a age old wizard, who they call The Dragon to protect them from the Wood and it’s evil, the price? He takes a woman from the village to accompany him for ten years leaving her home and loved ones behind.
When Agnieska is the next young woman picked by The Dragon, she wonders what will happen to her and goes on a journey of self discovery which will push her to her limits and expand her mind in ways she could never have predicted. With a prince who is searching for the Queen lost to the woods, the evil lurking behind every corner and romance brewing, Uprooted makes for a very original addition to the genre.
What I enjoyed:
- Agnieska was a strong willed protagonist, she stuck to her morals and beliefs the whole way. I find with many stories the main character falls head over heels and then abandons all her principles but it was so refreshing to find that she didn’t. She protects her friends and family – especially her best friend Kasia ferociously and I liked reading through her eyes.
- The mythology + writing – The whole story from start to finish was so rich and interesting, it played on stories I was already familiar with but also had unfamiliar elements, drawing from Polish lore which were great to read about. I liked the whole idea of these fictional kingdoms with magic and wizards and enchanted woods, super immersive. Noviks writing style is beautiful.
- Magic – I felt like this book was more based on Agnieska discovering her abilities and helping people than any potential romance or angst of that sort, it started off as looking like a straight forward hate to love book. But it was a lot more focused on the mythology and magical elements which was cool.
What could have been improved:
- More romantic development – The romance felt a bit flat, I would have preferred that Sarkan aka The Dragon had some more development from just being a grump then all of a sudden falling for Agnieska. I didn’t really understand why they fell for each other, other than their magic giving them a sort of connection. He spends a lot of the book criticising her so it’s a bit confusing.
- Slow pacing – A lot happens in this book, for being a 435 page novel, Novik manages to fit a whole wrapped up story in this amount but at times I couldn’t help but wish it moved at a faster pace. There were a few points where I wished things would happen faster and I felt some time was wasted on non essential moments.
Overall, I quite enjoyed this book. Moreso than the characters or the romance, which wasn’t the main focus in my opinion – I enjoy the lore and the dark fairytale elements which Novik depicts so well.
Until next time,