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Uprooted by Naomi Novik eARC (3 stars)

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I'm always on the lookout for fairy tale retellings that feel fresh, full of adventure and magic. I'm pleased to say Uprooted is just such a retelling. It's takes elements of several stories, mixes them with a healthy dose of Eastern Europe setting and tradition, and ultimately tells a great story of good versus evil and friendship with a dash of romance.

This eARC was provided through Edelweiss for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Series: n/a
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Published on May 19, 2015
Published by Del Rey
Final Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis:
“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.

Review:
Blessed are the tree huggers, for they will not be eaten by the evil forest.

Uprooted has a very fairy tale feel to it. A little Beauty and the Beast, a little Sleeping Beauty, a little Hansel and Gretel? The plot and mystery pulled me along even when the characters failed to engage. This was necessary in the middle of the story when the tension level and pacing decreased significantly, then went from 0 to 60 in a hurry.

I love that the main character isn't all about romance (which is also more of a frustrated friendship that slowly develops). She has a best friend she loves like a sister and will do anything to save and a family that supports her. However, I failed to become deeply invested in her, perhaps because our personalities are a little opposite. In a lot of ways, I identified more with the best friend, Kasia. (Whom I think would make an awesome protagonist in a spin-off/sequel, particularly with Solya there to cause trouble.)

On a side note, there are many moments throughout the story where the MC is thinking of or about something and another character (usually a wizard) has a line of dialogue that seems to answer her or respond to her thoughts. I wasn't sure if this meant she was actually saying something out loud or if they were mind readers.

The ending is a little too "hippie," "make love not war," and a little too easy in my opinion. But it has a nice little epilogue-like section that should satisfy everyone's curiosity and tie up all the loose ends.

2 comments :

  1. this book sounds quite interesting :) you have intrigued me, even with a 3 star rating lol

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    Replies
    1. Haha, thanks! And 3 stars is still a solid "I liked it," so yes, definitely recommended. :)

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