NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR | BuzzFeed | Tor.com | BookPage | Library Journal | Publishers Weekly • Naomi Novik, author of the New York Times 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.
Uprootedby Naomi Novik
Uprooted is a wonderful fantasy set in a medieval world rife with politics and shadowed by an ancient evil that lives deep in the Woods. Agnieska, the protagonist, determinedly--and miraculously--tumbles through events, and the reader is pulled right along with her. This book has interesting characters, a good fantasy concept, and an ever-accelerating pace. The author shows no mercy to her characters--she makes them fight every step of the way and never lets a victory come easy. For the first time in quite some while, I chose reading over sleep and found myself "reading just one more chapter".
The author's narrative, characterization, and fantasy hold together well; she only asks the reader to make an occasional skip forward with her--no great leaps that unbalance the story. This book would especially appeal to adult readers who enjoyed the works of Robin McKinley when they were younger.
Profanity/Language: 2 religious exclamations; 3 mild obscenities; 2 derogatory names.
Violence/Gore: Many secondhand reports of deaths, maimings, violent transformations from magical woods, wars, battles, folk tales, etc.; multi-page scene in which animals injure humans and must be killed by burning, spearing, etc.; character turned to stone; character is treated roughly; character is chased, causing tumbling and minor injuries; report of fantasy creature carrying off people with human injuries sustained and death assumed; violent magical encounter; report of deaths by magic; extended intense magical encounter/attempt to kill and essentially a fantasy exorcism of sorts; drop of blood used in a spell; human bones are seen upon separate occasions; a characters slits a man's throat--"blood sprayed" and then character drowns self, brief scene; character and animal drown; character killed by fantasy creature; extended multi-page human-fantasy creature battle involving biting off heads, cutting off heads, biting off of hand, swords, multiple deaths, fantasy creature waters a tree with the blood of a man, descriptive scene; report of kidnapping; multi-page battle between humans and fantasy creatures with magic, weapons, etc. resulting in death and injuries; detailed report of a disturbing transformation of a human; scene of assassination on a mother and attempt on the children with arrows, knives, fire, and blood mentioned; report of death in battle; character swordfights with another and falls a great distance; multi-page/chapter battle between two forces involving humans and magic with descriptions of the battle carnage, stacked bodies, re-animation of the dead, blood, and thousands of deaths; a parent kills their child; fantasy creatures attack characters; multi-page magical, descriptive battle scene among characters.
Sex/Nudity: References such as "ruined", cuckholded", "rape", "sex", "lovers", "sharing a bed", etc.; a character indicates they overheard a woman explaining what happens on a wedding night, no details; character fears that she will be raped (she isn't); character tries to force himself sexually onto another and she stops him with magic means and by knocking him unconscious (endangering his life); character is magically given a false memory of sexual conquest (general reference/description); a character is reported to run away with a lover; 1 page scene describing characters kissing passionately, partially disrobing, and touching areas normally covered by a bathing suit; some innuendo; 3 page explicit sex scene (one character is 17 and the other is much older) with detailed description.
Mature Subject Matter:
Death, death of a family member, murder, war, kidnapping, politics, revenge, evil magic.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Adults drink wine and beer; magic potions/medicines.
Reviewed By Cindy