Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

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The Wood is a mysterious forest, pretty much alive and cruel. It kidnaps people of Dvernik, deprives them of their will and changes beyond recognition. The dangerous creatures of the woods scared the people of Polnya for centuries. As a price for defending the people of the villages from the Wood, the Dragon, the powerful wizard, every 10 years picks a village girl to live in the White tower with him. He usually picks beautiful, bright, brave girls and this year everyone is sure he’s going to pick Kassia. However, Dragon unexpectedly picks Agnieszka, Kassia’s best friend. She is plain, not very pretty and very clumsy. The confused and astonished Agnieszka moves to the tower, she hates the Dragon fiercely and determinate to find her way out.

The book isn’t bad, and there were parts I enjoyed, but there were also some moments that ruined the experience for me.

I liked: the Dragon. He was funny and I liked his sarcastic ways to mess with Agnieszka. However, somewhere towards the second half of the book, he was pushed to the background and that was a shame. I would’ve loved to see more of him and his story. He was probably the only intriguing character of the entire book. The general idea was also very cool. The atmosphere of a magical forest, overall fairytale vibe. I normally enjoy these kinds of stories, especially if magical mythological creatures, as Jaga, appear. I also enjoyed the writing style, I had a feeling I’m actually reading an old Slavic fairytale.

I didn’t like; Agnieszka. Boy, she was annoying. She was portrayed as a clumsy, awkward, plain but capable and special somewhere deep inside. However, most of the time she was just plain stupid. The actions that were supposed to be seen as brave to me were just recklessly dumb. Also the romance. I don’t understand how they could fall for each other. There was no chemistry. Sorry.

The length. The plot was progressing nicely in the beginning but soon it got slow, long and boring.

The magic. Explain this to me; how the Dragon couldn’t manage some spells for the all 150 years of his life but a clumsy, dumb Agnieszka showed up and succeeds in the most complicated spells? We were told she was super plain and can’t even keep herself clean and look decent… So, it didn’t make any sense to me.

P.S. Am I the only one who thinks this book is a lot like Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, plotwise?

Rating: 3/5

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