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review 2018-01-07 10:22
Uprooted
Uprooted - Naomi Novik

by Naomi Novik

 

After enjoying one of the author's other books and hearing this one was good from many sources, I had to try it despite having little idea what it was about. As it turns out, I really enjoyed most of it!

 

Every ten years a girl is chosen by the local wizard to come live in his tower and rumors about what happens there are rife, though the girls always come back and insist the magician didn't lay a hand on them. They always end up leaving the village and finding a life for themselves elsewhere afterwards.

 

Meanwhile, the villagers live in the shadow of a forest that contains some sort of evil, with creatures who capture those who come too close and take them into the forest never to return.

 

This is one of the most original Fantasy stories I've read for a while. The magic is very well done and the characters are also done well, each of them distinctive in their own way. The challenges that face the main character, Agnieszka, range from trying to keep safe from the hazards of the forest to trying to help her best friend who is up against dangers from all sides, to dealing with the royal family and the pitfalls of murderous politics and the court wizards who see village girls as expendable at best.

 

It was a fascinating story and one that I kept going back to ahead of my other reads up until about the last third. Then it seemed to lose its way and become a little too surreal to hold attention. Many of the plot points were left unexplained, including why the magician specifically took a girl every ten years, although there was a reference to it with inadequate explanation.

 

It also hit one of my pet peeves with a single graphic sex scene. Why this has become a thing with recent books that wouldn't even be described as Romance much less Erotica I can't imagine. Yes the nature of the relationship was relevant but a move by move about who did what to which body part is completely unnecessary and ruins an otherwise good story! It also makes it unsuitable for young readers, who might have been a primary target audience for this story.

 

There was an end, but with too much left unexplained.

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review 2017-12-30 22:05
It Started Out Fun and Bendy Then Turned Wooden and Hard
Uprooted - Naomi Novik

Audiobook
2.5 star story for me
The narration was a 5 star
The first half was amazing I was completely lost in the woods, the tower, the village. There was a beauty and the beast feeling to it. There was a difficult man, a young witch, a world steeped in mystery and possibilities. I was excited to explore this new world. Then things stoped changing and developing in the story and it got stale for me. I felt like I was wooden, and was being repeatedly beaten in the woods with a gnarled branch. I heard, in the woods, from the woods, of the woods, woods, woods, woods, ARGUH ! Enough of the woods ! I never wished for a chainsaw before but I was driven to it. The girl, she was strong-ish, independent in a cold way, and thought about everything far to much, inner dialog drag on. It dragged on in another area that droned on, success. So many dramatic struggles, so many sacrifices, far too many failures. I was tried of reading this wooded loser story that just wouldn't end. Oh that is a terrible way to feel about a book, I know. I should have dropped it, but I expected a moment to happen and felt I'd worked hard to read it finally. Fizzle, fizzle, what that's why ?, the woods still, the end. It wasn't worth the hours nearly 18 hours of listening.
I own her dragon series but after this touch of her writing style I'll not read it. She is the author for me.

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text 2017-12-18 19:29
Reading progress update: I've read 20%.
Uprooted - Naomi Novik

So far I am loving this audiobook, fantastic narration, Great story, wonderful characters with a mystery to solve. I have had this for over a year why did I wait so long ?

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text 2017-12-10 22:41
Reading progress update: I've read 6%.
Uprooted - Naomi Novik

It's time I read something off my A-list. I even paid for this one!

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review 2017-10-24 17:09
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Uprooted - Naomi Novik

“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.

 
**********


Uprooted is a book that, despite seeming so interesting did it take me a long time to get to it, mostly because it seemed so thick and time-consuming. And, when I finally started to read it did I read it during one day. I'm actually a bit impressed by that myself since the book is 435 page long. But, then again I did start it after (or around can't really remember) midnight, slept and then read all through Saturday. A perfect day!

What I like about Uprooted is that the blurb doesn't give away the story, it only gives a hint to the beginning of the book, there are just not any spoilers to what will happen. And, that's pretty much how I'm going to do with my review. Try to spoil as little as possible because the story is so good, and the best is going in blind and just discover everything for yourself. What I can tell you is that Agnieszka starts off in this book as very clumsy, seriously, she drives the Dragon nuts. However, she will evolve through the books progress, and the person that we get to know at the beginning is, but a memory towards the end of the book. Speaking of the Dragon, I liked how Agnieszka and his relationship evolved through the book as well. They really start off on the wrong foot and it will take some time (and clumsy accidents) for them to be more of a team.

Also, the setting of the book, the worldbuilding, and the history of the land is a strong point with this book. I could easily imagine the world and its characters. One of my favorite moments is towards the end of the book when we get an explanation for what went wrong in the past, why the Wood is corrupted. It's a sad and very moving tale.

Uprooted is a great fantasy book. I liked it very much. However, I did not love it enough to give it a higher rating. It was not hard to read, but I had moments when the story felt a bit sluggish. Not that it was boring, I just didn't feel captivated all the way through the book. That said, it's still a fabulous book, and I recommend it warmly.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review!

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