The Saturday Reading List: Uprooted

*Sorry for this being a day late.*

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

The Stats:

  • Fiction, Fantasy, Fairy Tale
  • 3/5
  • Warnings: Kind of dark. Also, if you like fast paced books this probably isn’t one for you.

From the book cover: “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.

Zo’s Review:

Magic? Check. A scary “Dargon”? Check. A likable/relatable heroine? Eh…

Honestly, Uprooted was a weird book for me, not in terms of the premise but in terms of how I felt about the characters. Usually, the sign of a well written character – for me at least- is whether you feel something for them whether it’s like or dislike. For the main character Agnieszka, for whom the the story is told from the perspective of, most of the times I felt indifferent towards her. When she was first taken from her home by the Dragon I was like “eh” and when she found herself in multiple life or death situations where the entire fate of her world was at stake I constantly wondered when her big character development was supposed to happen and I would feel something towards her. Something. ANYTHING.

I will admit, I could be bias. I tend to dislike first person narratives, especially if the reader only gets the perspective of only one character. There were many times where I wish I knew more about the other characters, like the Dragon. It was somewhat explained when and why he began doing the things he did but it was told so matter of factly that it seemed to lack that level of revealed character depth that one tends to usually feel when a character’s backstory is revealed. I really wasn’t sure if I even liked these characters until the very last page and even then, it more of a “well, they’re on the ‘good side’ so I have to like them, right” type of mentality than anything else. It kind of felt like I was being hit over the head repeatedly by the author in hopes that I would feel something for a character who had done nothing to really earn those feelings for me.

“Oh look, I’ll make her trip a few hundred times and make her unable to be around food without messing up her clothes. See? She’s not perfect so therefore you should like her as your heroine because her imperfection is shown via her needing a bib when she’s around food”. Yeah…no. She kind of reminded me of a Mary Sue…

However, what I felt it lacked in character depth was more than made up for in regards to the details and overall history of the world that Naomi Novik created. Though I may not have cared too much about Agnieszka I loved the world that she lived in. It was one of those books that at least while you’re reading it you could imagine was real and always had been. I haven’t read any of Novik’s other books but I wouldn’t be surprised if she excelled in this area in her other books as well.

Overall, Uprooted was not the most memorable book for me. It wasn’t bad but I doubt I’d be sadden if this book got lost in the mess that is my bedroom, never to be found again…

The different covers of the book.

What do you guys think? Have you read Uprooted already? Have any other book suggestions that I should add to my Saturday Reading List? Leave your thoughts behind in the comments. Just be respectful please.

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