The villagers don t know what happens to the girls during their time in the tower, only that they come back changed Grander, finer, polished Educated and dressed in fine clothes Different.
The girls are well paid for whatever it is they do in the tower Alone with the wizard In the middle of the Wood When they ve served their sentence, they return with a sack of silver to use as a dowry, but they don t marry At least not anyone from their former home They all leave, using the money to finance a fresh start somewhere else.
This sorcerer, called the Dragon, is alone except for the village girl, and even with her, he maintains his distance She will age She will die He will do neither Rather than forming attachments to impermanent creatures, he buries himself in order and precision and the resulting beauty of a task well done.
His nature is taciturn, impatient, and formal, so the villagers, despite their dependence on him for protection, fear him, despise him I had hated him, but I wouldn t have reproached him, any than I would have reproached a bolt of lightning for striking my house He wasn t a person Agnieszka is the antithesis of this sorcerer, this Dragon Left to his own devices, he would never have chosen her as his new companion, but Agnieszka has magic, and the King s Law states that any found with the talent must be trained, so choose her he does.
What follows is a compelling combination of stagnation and rebirth, misunderstandings and revelations, the fantastical and the horrific, and all of it is utterly captivating.
Tired literary devices felt new again She kissed me again and held me once , and let me go It did hurt It did.
I found myself reading and rereading the various passages More than an image clearly formed in my mind, I felt what Agnieszka felt I could have been her I had forgotten hours and days by then My arms ached, my back ached, my legs ached My head ached worst of all, some part of me tethered back to the valley, stretched out of recognizable shape and trying to make sense of myself when I was so far from anything I knew Even the mountains, my constants, had disappeared Of course I d known there were parts of the country with no mountains, but I d imagined I would still see them somewhere in the distance, like the moon But every time I looked behind me, they were smaller and smaller, until finally they disappeared with one final gasp of rolling hills.
Novik perfectly captures human nature, plucking you from the physical world, and dropping you next to Agnieszka, making you an observer from within, so much than a girl in a chair reading a book in TennesseeI m glad, I said, with an effort, refusing to let my mouth close up with jealousy It wasn t that I wanted a husband and a baby I didn t, or rather, I only wanted them the way I wanted to live to a hundred someday, far off, never thinking about the particulars But they meant lifeshe was living, and I wasn t.
And beyond the simple beauty of her words, she creates real, believably flawed people characters.
Marek is a prince, not the crown prince, and he has no qualms about making his displeasure on that topic known, and when I met him I didn t know what to think He behaved abominably, but in a way that he himself wasn t absolutely abominable Just self interested But redeemable Until he isn t Then suddenly you have hope for him again.
It was a cycle that I completed several times, and in the end I m still undecided But he was real And he was one among many.
Kasia is Agnieszka s best and only friend She is also the girl that everyone expected the Dragon to choose So imagine my dismay when shortly after she escapes that fate, she is abducted by one of the Wood s foul creatures Now imagine Agnieszka s dismay.
If you want to know whether or not Kasia is saved, you ll have to read the book for yourself which you should do anyway, b c AWESOME , but I will tell you that Agnieszka finds something in the Wood, and that something reminds me of one of my favorite Christian Schloe illustrations Fantastic al , right The whole book is like that.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik is part fantasy, part fairy story, and all wonder I haven t been as enad by a tale since I was child, and though this is not a children s story, I still found myself smitten like a girl with ribbons in her hair, twirling in her favorite dress in the sunshine This is a story that has carved it s place on my heart, and I enthusiastically endorse it as my top read of 2015.
I think this book was Uprooted from Heaven s grounds and magically brought to Earth.
Hey You there Please listen On May 19th this book will be released on that day go to this page or this page or another retailer of your choice and download the free sample of this book If, by the end of that small sample, you are not convinced that this book is amazing, never think of it again BUT, I sincerely doubt that will be the case.
Because it took me ONE CHAPTER well, a few pages really to make me realize that this book was going to steal every bit of my spare time until I d devoured it all And it did It was magical, surprising, incredibly well written, and so very funny And not funny in a Terry Pratchett comedy fantasy kind of way, but just funny because these characters are so real and charming.
There are those well drawn, vivid books that have great world building, beautiful descriptions without being overly descriptive, and get lauded by critics Then there are those books that are delicious chocolate ice cream with sprinkles pieces of entertainment that drag you in and just provide so much enjoyment Uprooted is a rare beast because it s both.
It s just so goddamn charming It s exciting and creepy with regards to the plot and world, but it s made especially wonderful because of the character dynamics Agnieszka and the Dragon are hilarious together they operate with a kind of love hate dynamic that makes for some really funny scenes and some heart warming ones.
What a magical, though strangely honest and thoughtful book I m avoiding saying too much about the story because the blurb is deliberately vague for a reason, but I will give you a little something Uprooted opens in a village where once every ten years, the Dragon actually a man and wizard who rules over the land comes and picks a seventeen year old girl from the village and takes her to his palace Nobody knows what happens to them, but they are not seen for the next ten years and they always come back changed It made me smile because it sounds a little like the premise for Cruel Beauty which I loved and A Court of Thorns and Roses which I didn t love , but it s better and different than either of those There s a touch of the romantic and the heart poundingly sexy , but Novik is both a tease and someone not concerned about being PG which made the book infinitely better on that front than either of the other two mentioned Also, one of my favourite things was the creepy Wood a literally evil forest that is alive with a dark corruption that will claim you if you ever enter it, or get touched by one of the monstrous beings that come out of the Wood How weird and creative and scary I LOVED it No one went into the Wood and came out again, at least not whole and themselves Sometimes they came out blind and screaming, sometimes they came out twisted and so misshapen they couldn t be recognized and worst of all sometimes they came out with their own faces but murder behind them, something gone dreadfully wrong within.
I can t praise this book highly enough I m desperately trying to string together the right combination of words to make other people pick this up I just hope I ve been successful, because it was truly a magical, entertaining experience.
Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Tumblr I love a good fantasy rooted in folklore, and Novik does a great job mining the mythology of Eastern Europe for this novel Young Agnieszka lives in a small town in an out of the way valley where nothing much ever happens except for the fact that they live near an evil Wood that occasional swallows trespassers, drives villagers mad, or sends monsters to destroy neighboring villages Oh, and also they are protected by a wizard called the Dragon who lives in a tower and does his best to keep the evil magic of the Wood at bay In return for his protection, the wizard takes one girl from the valley every ten years to serve him in the tower These girls aren t killed, but they are never the same after their ten years of servitude, and they never stay in the valley when they are released Something about their servitude changes them Agnieszka worries for her best friend, Kasia, who is the most beautiful girl in the village Everyone is sure Kasia will be snatched up by the Dragon at the next Choosing Instead, much to her surprise, Agnieszka is chosen to serve the Dragon, and that s when she discovered how dark and frightening the world really is.
Novik does a great job twisting our expectations inverting the tropes about fairy tale villains and heroes You ll get magic and monsters, princes and wizards, sorcery and chivalry, but not always in the ways you might expect Agnieszka has to go through some pretty horrible stuff In fact, her story got worse so many times I had to put the book down a few times and catch my breath This trip through the evil Wood is not for the faint of heart But if you want a fantasy with strong characters and brilliantly original variations on ancient stories, try Uprooted Buddy read with Fantasy Buddy ReadsMy first review in 2017 and it started with a new milestone my first ever 1 star rating I wish I could give this a negative rating because as of right now, this is literally the worst novel I ve ever read in my entire life You can check my other reviews and you ll notice I m quite generous with my ratings but giving this book even a 2 stars would be an act too generous of me Look, this will be an extremely unpopular opinion, I hated this book and I m disgusted with almost everything in it I never understood the concept of DNF I ve always thoughtWhy Shouldn t we read a book until the end before we give our final judgmentOh boy I ve learned a hard lesson with this I should ve dropped this book around page 100 and it will save me from going through so much pain and I mean that literally I felt sick, my eyes hurt, and I felt like vomiting every time I picked up this book Accidental pregnancy was almost caused and I don t even have a uterus If you loved this book, that s good and I m seriously happy for you, I wish I could feel the same about it but no, I hate it, I hate it, wait let me repeat that once again, I HATE IT If love this book, please don t read my review of this one Seriously, stay away.
Oh wait, let me start with the positive parts first the book cover and the writing was beautiful plus I don t think I ll ever find another book I despise than this so that s a yay Done, let s get back on track.
The main characters and their romance were some of the worst problems in this book Kasia, the side character would ve been a much better choice for a protagonist by far compared to Agnieskza imoI ll dub her as Agony since it s much easier to type and it captured my feeling towards her , Agony is too much of a Mary Sue and full of Special Snowflake Syndrome while the asshole Dragon or Skunk, Skank, whatever the hell his real name was a complete asshole just for the sake of being one There was almost no development for them since the beginning until the end, the flatness of their characters were even worse than a skateboard The first time they made an appearance, that s how they will be until the end except for Kasia.
Seriously though, I m surprise that someone actually liked what the Dragon did in this book This book is catered towards YA and yet 95% of the time their relationship consisted of him mocking Agony by calling her slut, useless, idiot repeatedly throughout the whole book The worst part out of all this Agony ended up falling in love with him anyway It s idiotic, how is this even romantic All he did was oral abused her all the way that I seriously thought I was reading 50 Shades of Grey in The Forest setting The romance happened pointlessly, out of nowhere, and there was no middle part It s just the beginning of their relationship, mocked repeatedly, and then boom view spoiler sex with the Dragon hide spoiler
This novel effortlessly conjured up the familiar magic of my childhood favorites it was like reaching for a sweater and finding my old worn favorite pushed into my hands I m going to wear it gleefully for a week, no matter the weather This concludes my garment simile Possibly fuller comments to come closer to publication date.
When it comes to rating books like Uprooted, I keep wishing I could give than 5 stars Because honestly, 5 stars are not enough Beautiful That s the word I ve been searching for Uprooted is a beautiful book Naomi Novik narrates the story of young Agnieszka, a constantly unkempt girl who to everyone s astonishment was chosen to live in the dreadful wizard s tower for 10 years as the price for his assistance against the evil Wood Agnieszka imagined how desperate and empty her life was going to be, locked away from her family and her dear friend with the Dragon as her only company What she would never imagine was that everything she thought of him was a lie based on fear and prejudice That magic flew in her veins That she would play a vital part in the kingdom s politics, that she would participate in the never ending war not only against their neighbors but also against the ancient Wood The Wood that was calling for her Aftel all, she was just the woodcutter s daughter With an unequaled gift for disaster.
It sounds like a fairytale, doesn t it With the witches and the haunted forest and the knights and the brave girl who is about to find out her destiny is a great one and will affect thousands of people It seems so at first, partly because of Naomi Novik s spectacular writing The world she created is so vivid and enchanting, you can smell the pines and feel the mud under your bare feet and the air crackling with magic, your stomach clenched with agony and fear, your heart hammering in your chest, and it takes tremendous effort to realize that you are not the one fighting the corruption in Polnya, you are just the reader, in the safety of your house, drinking your chocolate And you couldn t be disappointed.
But there was darkness in Uprooted that you don t encounter in most of the fairytales There were brutal murders, desperation, hatred and rage, and the good guys didn t always win There wasn t a Prince Charming, only a grumpy, sassy wizard who was irritated most of the times and he couldn t remember what being a human felt like Thousands were slaughtered due to one man s certainty and ambition And the wizards weren t good or evil, just opportunists, devoid of love And Agnieszka A flawed, stubborn girl with a good heart and iron will, unable to hate even her worst enemies, a dedicated friend and daughter, and a different kind of hope Well that does sound like a fairytale after all.
Have you ever loved the first half of a book but hated the second Well I have and it sucks It leaves you feeling rather torn in a review So, I m going to tear my review in two and review the two halves separately Here goes First Half A lovely magical friendship 4 In the beginning I had a real reason to carry on reading The character known as the Dragon was a complete enigma Discovering what drove this lonely man was, essentially, the reason I carried on with the book He s such a cool guy Well at least by my standards The man locks himself in his immense library and reads all day Now isn t that just fun I love reading about characters that read, and appreciate books in the same way that I do I find them quite compelling But, he is also terribly moody and dismissive to his young student Agmeszka So I wanted to know what was giving this man a sore head Every ten years he recruits a new student from the local village He usually picks the most attractive girl or her who is remarkable in some way Ok, so that s a bit of a dickish move He takes the woman home where she becomes his live in maid Ok, so he s getting worse See what I meanHis name tasted of fire and wings, of curling smoke, of subtlety and strength and the rasping whisper of scales He eyed me and said stiffly, Don t land yourself into a boiling pot, and as difficult as you may find it, try and present a respectable appearance This year he fancies a change He pics the most ordinary girl out of the lot she appears to have nothing special about her When he goes back to his wizard tower he leaves her to her own devices And whoa Would you guess it She turns out to be a magic wielder too She starts reading his books, very intimate I know, and discovers a strange affinity for the craft This great pic summarises a lot It s perfect This was my favourite part of the novel The two characters discover their compatibility and worked together to create new and interesting magic s But, the downside is that it was over far too quickly This novel did not feel like a stand alone fantasy For me, it had the potential to be an epic fantasy series, with this being the beginning Instead it was over far too quickly as the recently acquainted characters were thrown into the action that became the second half.
Second half Then everything turned upside down 2 The plot then took a weird direction The world expanded far too quickly The story went from being isolated to a tower to reaching across the entire lands, and even as far as to affect the random monarchy The beginning was slow, perfectly so, then it rushed into world events and kingdoms and rulers all too quickly I do like the idea behind this book, but there was no build up as the story expanded The novel just had too much story for one book and it felt condensed as a result This could have easily been split into two Structurally, the author made a few mistakes in my estimation This book would have been far effective had the friendship at the start been allowed time to develop It was thrown into the action that much, that when the romance came it made no sense It didn t have time to work it just sprung and left me feeling a little surprised It was a case of where did that come from I think there should have been much time spent in the tower, as the rest of the world was slowly, and gradually, revealed That way this could have easily ended at the midway point.
So let s talk about the woods The woods are the antagonist in this story It s a novel idea, one that made this feel like a dark fairy tale I loved that it worked It than worked it was rather brilliant But it could have been better I think a prelude demonstrating the dark nature of it would have helped to establish it as a real threat, rather than an irrational fear, very early on Then there s how the wood ended Now that was so very disappointing It was too fast One minute the wood is practically an invincible enemy, the next it s defeated in vague circumstances It was just too fast to be effective Final thoughts So, I ve criticised this a great deal I did like the story, but for me it took a terrible wrong turn which severed my enjoyment This could have been so much it was just over far too quickly One book wasn t enough to tell this tale in I think three stars is a fair rating, all things considered.
Are you fucking kidding meseethes I swear to god I m the only one in the world who didn t think this book is THE BESTEST MOST SPECIALEST WONDERFULEST BOOK EVER For god s sake, Emily May loved it, and I highly respect her opinion, but this book is one case where we will have to agree to disagree.
Frankly, I have no idea why everyone loved this book and thought it was so wonderful The main character is every bit of a Speshul Snowflake Mary Sue The Dragon so very disappointing is an asshole of the Fever sort, the kind I deem Jericho Fucking Barrons, a term used to describe an asshole who is an asshole only for the sake of being an asshole He s grumpy, he s grouchy, he is a huge fucking condescending thundercunt of a douchebag just for the plain old reason that he wants to be one He was irritated with me every time I came into his library, even on the few days that I managed to keep myself in good order as though I were coming to annoy and interrupt him, instead of him tormenting and using me And when he had finished working his magic through me and left me crumpled on the floor, he would scowl down at me and call me useless.
Let s get one thing straight I like assholes sometimes , but they have to have character For example, Dr House He is filled with snark He is a jerk He s oftentimes despicable, but there s a spark in him, a humanity in him that lets me love him and appreciate him no matter what despicable things that comes out of his mouth, because, under it all and you seriously have to look deep , he is a human being with a good purpose, no matter how harsh his methods.
Once again, I like assholes I like anti heroes, but they have to self redeeming The Dragon in this book is none such.
Ok, back to the plot It sucked I didn t really read the synopsis, but I know there was a dragon who kidnapped girls in it Surely a terrible fate, right EEEEEEEEEEHHHN Wrong Look at the quote at the beginning of my review Essentially the girls are kidnapped by said Dragon keep in mind I used quotation marks around dragon , they re educated, they become well read, and they want to spread their wings They re given shit tons of money to make a better life for themselves.
Terrifying Absolutely fucking terrifying I m quivering in my boots.
The world building is your standard generic fantasy fare Monsters Kings Princes But the magic The fucking magic, man.
It just highlights what a special freaking snowflake the main character is There is nothing to catch the imagination If I shouted out Merde and butterflies burst into the air and a rainbow forms at my feet, it would essentially be as magical as the shit in this book I whispered, Kalikual The power rushed out of me.
Foreign words So magical one 1The main character, Agnieszka, is seriously nothing new You have read countless incarnations of her in every shitty YA book ever written because she s a special, special girl who doesn t know how special she is She s just so ordinary and adorably clumsy and plain, y all The Dragon always, always takes the most special girl The Dragon didn t always take the prettiest girl, but he always took the most special one, somehow.
this is my surprised face.
And Ag noying my new name for her is just sosoordinary At seventeen I was still a too skinny colt of a girl with big feet and tangled dirt brown hair, and my only gift, if you could call it that, was I would tear or stain or lose anything put on me between the hours of one day.
You don t say But of course, there s to Ag noying than meets the eye, why, she s got magical power that s just waiting to burst from her like a rose from a fermenting pile of steaming poop My strength welled up through my body and fountained out of my mouth, and where it left me, a trembling in the air began and went curling down around my body in a spiraling path.
Yeah, yeah I ve read this shit before, and I say no, thank you I like my main characters average, thank you very much I like my Dragons with humanity.
1 star is a bit harsh, but for all the hype, this book let me down tremendously.
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 LifeHer 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 WoodBut Agnieszka Fears The Wrong Things For When The Dragon Comes, It Is Not Kasia He Will Choose