Random House Publishing Group | March 2016 | 464 pgs
The book opens with our heroine, Agnieszka, worrying over her best friend's safety and the fact that they might not be able to see each other again. For every ten years, a young woman will be chosen to hand over to Dragon; who is known to be a powerful and immortal wizard who will keep their village from any harms of the corrupted Wood. The Wood is mystical on its own; filled with fantastical creatures and botanical plants that would devour humans and make them a changed person even if they could make it out of the Wood alive.
When the next choosing is approaching, Agnieszka is the one who is chosen, much to everyone's surprise, including Agnieszka herself for she thinks herself ordinary and not as beautiful and talented as her best friend, Kasia.
What follows next is Agnieszka's attempts in adapting to her new life as Dragon's apprentice as she begins to learn magic and during those moments of togetherness has also allows her to see another side of Dragon; for he is not as cold and menacing as what the others think about him. Agnieszka soon realises that the threat from the Wood is turning onto them quickly and they have to do something before the whole of their village becomes corrupted.
Uprooted has all the elements a fantasy fan would ask for - folk stories, magic, an original, fantastic world building and interesting characters and premise which will not only makes your heart race but also be moved by the story itself. What I find rewarding is although this is a fantasy, it also seems very much of a real-life story that touches on humanity, bravery and the different conceptions we see no matter what time era is; fictional or not. Agnieszka is a wonderful character and I enjoyed seeing how she developed both mentally and emotionally. Dragon is another character whom I liked but takes time to grow on me, due to his misconceptions in the beginning of the story. I also enjoyed reading the friendship between Agnieszka and Kasia; their relationship reminds me more of siblings than good friends and some of their actions touched me a lot.
All in all, Uprooted was a wonderful read. Naomi Novik is also the author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed Temeraire series and although I haven't read any of them, I was glad I read this standalone and would check out her Temeraire series in the near future.
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