Friday, July 17, 2015


By Naomi Novik
Del Rey, 2015. 438 pgs. Fantasy.

Uprooted is Naomi Novik’s first foray outside the Temeraire series. Though still firmly set in the fantasy realm, this is quite a bit of a divergence from the Napoleonic wars setting of her alternative history series. Uprooted has far more of a traditional fairy tale feel and indeed pays homage to the Slavic folk tale, Baba Yaga.

A mysterious wizard known as the Dragon selects a young woman from a rural village near his tower every 10 years as payment for protecting the region from the malevolent influence of the evil Wood. Agnieszka, always muddy and disheveled, never thinks that she will be chosen, but when she is selected to serve the Dragon, she soon discovers she has a rare and powerful talent for magic. As Agnieszka's magic grows, her journey sends her on a deadly quest where she will experience the terrible intrigue of the royal court, a true and unbreakable friendship, and even a little romance.

While, there will always be a special place in my heart for Naomi Novik's other characters, Temeraire and Captain Laurence, Novik should be applauded for her well-written novel with beautiful descriptions, interesting characters, and action-packed plot. Fans of fractured fairy tales will not want to miss this.



MB said...

The first few chapters felt like a more grown up version of a favorite of mine, Beauty by Robin McKinley. However, Novik's novel quickly becomes less of a fairy tale retelling than a fully realized story all its own with a nod to its fairy tale predecessors. This book had me hooked and I'll definitely be checking out Novik's Temeraire series.

ER said...

I am already a fan of Novik’s Temeraire series, so I was excited to see something else written by her. This book did not disappoint! I loved the magic, and the compassion shown by Agnieszka for the evil Wood she had grown up fearing all her life. I liked that both the Dragon and Agnieszka help each other with character growth. The Dragon helps Agnieszka be brave, and Agnieszka helps the Dragon allow himself to develop a connection with his valley. I especially liked how Agnieszka’s use of magic defied all the set rules for how magic is supposed to work.