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“A very enjoyable fantasy with the air of a modern classic . . . Naomi Novik skillfully takes the fairy-tale-turned-bildungsroman structure of her premise . . . and builds enough flesh on those bones to make a very different animal. . . . The vivid characters around her also echo their fairy-tale forebears, but are grounded in real-world ambivalence that makes this book feel quietly mature, its world lived-in.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Novik here delivers a tale that is funny and fast-paced, laced with hair-raising battle scenes and conspiracies; it also touches on deeper ecological concerns we grapple with today.”—The Washington Post
“Novik takes us on a surprise-filled journey. . . . The resulting warmth and intimacy provide a nicely nurturing environment for her heroine’s unusual adventures.”—The Seattle Times
“Breathtaking . . . [Novik] weaves a tale that is both elegantly grand and earthily humble, familiar as a Grimm fairy tale yet fresh, original, and totally irresistible. This will be a must-read for fantasy fans for years to come.”—Pubilshers Weekly (starred review)
“Drawing on her Polish heritage and fairy-tale tropes, [Novik] has penned an original and fully realized fantastical place guaranteed to enthrall her longtime fans and attract new readers. This exceptional fantasy for adult and teen readers should appeal to those who love fairy-tale influenced stories such as Robin McKinley’s Spindle’s End.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Every so often you come upon a story that seems like a lost tale of Grimm newly come to light. Uprooted is such a novel. Its narrative spell is confidently wrought and sympathetically cast. I might even call it bewitching.”—Gregory Maguire, bestselling author of Wicked and Egg & Spoon
“The magic in Uprooted, with its realistic moral dimension, is so vividly believable that it almost seems you could work the spells. But the book will do that for you.”—Ursula K. Le Guin, award-winning and bestselling author of The Earthsea cycle
“Uprooted has everything I love: a great heroine, new takes on old myths and legends, and surprising twists and turns. A delight.”—Cassandra Clare, New York Times bestselling author of The Mortal Instruments series
“Magical and practical, otherworldly and planted in the real, I could not stop reading this book and neither will you!”—Tamora Pierce, New York Times bestselling author of Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen
“Wild, thrilling, and deeply, darkly magical. An instant classic.”—Lev Grossman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Magicians Trilogy
About the Author
Fascinated with both history and legends, Novik is a first-generation American raised on Polish fairy tales and stories of Baba Yaga. Her own adventures include pillaging degrees in English literature and computer science from various ivory towers, designing computer games, and helping to build the Archive of Our Own for fanfiction and other fanworks. Novik is a co-founder of the Organization for Transformative Works.
She lives in New York City with her husband, Charles Ardai, the founder of Hard Case Crime, and their daughter, Evidence, surrounded by an excessive number of purring computers. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B00KUQIU7O
- Publisher : Del Rey (May 19, 2015)
- Publication date : May 19, 2015
- Language : English
- File size : 3035 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 442 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #287 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This is now the second book I’ve read recently that I’ve considered overhyped. From what I’ve heard it’s another retelling of Eastern Europe folklore, similar to The Bear and the Nightingale, so I guess I can’t really say anything about how the story unfolds as a standard unexpected chosen one tale.
What I will freely bash instead is Sarkan, as in he’s an irritable prick throughout the story and doesn’t get much better by the end. I’ve seen people say in reviews that they ended up liking him, but even as a fellow misanthrope, I just couldn’t relate. At one point, the MC makes contact with him from a great distance away, something that was unheard of in the book world, and his response was to be annoyed. Lovely.
I don’t even mind the rather graphic sex scene towards the end section, a refreshing take on fantasy sexuality (instead of the typical fade to black, or full on lack of it Sanderson style). But I just don’t understand what the MC sees in him. He’s even close to irritable during that, FFS.
The relationship is almost creepy in a Stockholm syndrome way. I genuinely feel like the book would have been better without him at all, similar to how it ended with the MC tending to the sick heart trees; that section was good, and then Sarkan shows up at the end to dispense more boring irritability.
All in all, I’ve decided to start doing more research into what well-reviewed books are based on, because apparently retold Eastern European tales aren’t my cup of tea. Or maybe I’ve missed the point entirely, who knows. Onward to a new book.
On a side note. I’ve read a few reviews that go on about the horrible way Sarkan treats Nieshka, and how it’s SUCH a bad model for relationships. While I agree he isn’t the nicest guy sometimes, he just seems more like the isolated, grumpy cat kind of person who’s seen too much in his life, not the horribly abusive older man taking advantage, as he was made out to be by some reviewers. Sure he shouldn’t call her an idiot, but he showed his true character through deed more than word, and more than once demonstrated his willingness to put her before himself.
All in all, a book that kept me hooked throughout, and rarely slowed down. If you aren’t too sensitive to some violence, I’d recommend it.
I could really relate to the main character. I understood the way she felt, her frustration and the way she coped and succeeded. Doing things her way, the way that was comfortable, not the "correct, spelled out way". It took me back to my old Polish neighbors that I would visit as a child. The comfortable life, herbs hanging from the rafters, hot sweet tea..
I wish there was another one to read...
Top reviews from other countries
I just recently finished reading The Mirror Visitor and was blown away by that gem, so after one unique fantasy I was dreaming to get into some more magic and romance and adventure and thought that this one would be a perfect book to dive into after the previous one.
Unfortunately, I was very disappointed.
The premise itself ( village at the edge of the woods, magical powers, a dark wizard etc.) is all well and good, and I like that sort of fantasy environment.
Now the writing itself though, I was doing a 'facepalm' after 'facepalm', and yes, yet again, another 'facepalm'. Nothing flows, first-person prose made me cringe so many times.
First-person perspective is hard to get right in the first place and the last book which I found to have believable and comprehensive First-Person view was The Hunger Games book trilogy. However in this one, I honestly thought that I was reading a teenager's attempt at writing fan fiction, instead of a professionally published and edited literary piece composed by a fully grown professional writer.
Sentence structure was choppy and in some places I had to concentrate just to try to understand how the writer was imagining a certain scene since the sentences were not well written, or at least not written in a way that portrays a scene logically. Therefore, it would have been wiser for the writer to opt for third-person perspective.
Character wise, I was disappointed to discover that the main character did indeed embody a cliched female protagonist of a YA novel. I was honestly expecting more.
The 'I'm a 17 year old special girl with magical powers' thing has been overdone to oblivion and frankly I should have known better, but again, was feeling hopeful and optimistic about this one based on all the Awards and marketing.
So maybe, the main protagonist would have appeared more real if she was in her mid 20's instead? In her interests, and the depth of her personality she wasn't developed enough for my liking.
Though I found that I liked the male protagonist, The Dragon and found him interesting enough.
Supporting characters could have been further developed as well.
The romance angle - I have seen this type of romantic story play out ten times better in half a dozen other books with better character development and world building. A mediocre effort in my opinion. A dark romance is refreshing and intriguing, only if done right and well written.
So in conclusion, it felt more to me like the marketing department did a far better job at selling the book then the writer at actually composing it. The cover is beautiful so it'll still look nice on my shelf.
No offense to the writer at all, but I have really read much better fantasy/romance/magic stories.
One of the things I loved and I saw a reviewer point out is how the two main characters are together its quite like how belle and the beast are in beauty and the beast, where ones stubborn and ones grumpy and the friction between the characters that creates which I loved. I liked that Agnieszka seems to always be a mess, its not even that she cooks and gets most pf it over her its even things like standing in a dress in no time itll have mud on it or get a rip in it, this flaw of hers is a nice constant "flaw" of hers throught the story that has every one around her annoyed/ exasperated. The fact that this is a stand alone works in its favour as the book has a nice fast pace to it though this does sacrifice a little bit of world building with regards to explaing the magic or more about the wider world it really isnt missed. Agnieszka doesnt need to know how the magic works though little bits and peices are revealed to give a bit about how it works which was enough for me i feel the slight mystery of it helps with the folktale vibe of the story.
It’s a story of someone finding her place in the world, in terms of magic, personality, life, heart and home. It’s a story of a fight against evil and the complex, shifting shades of grey that haunt every moral decision. It’s a love story and a story about change.
Agnieszka is a wonderful narrator, uncertain and afraid, angry and passionate, charming and honest. Her voice is clear throughout the book and even when we only see what she does, the plot is still very clear, and the other characters drawn with enough lines to make them complex and understandable, even as we see them through her eyes. And Sarkan, I love. You never find out too much about him; it’s just drabs, snippets, and he always seems impenetrable and aloof, even when he’s helping or annoyed or there. He’s beautifully written and is a wonderfully solid presence. Kasia is the only one who is less well-rounded of the major characters; she seems uncertain, unable to fight for herself, and we rarely see what she thinks. I would have liked her to be a little stronger, a little more of a presence; but then she could have overshadowed the major characters, so I can appreciate why she is drawn with subtler strokes.
The plot is enchanting; dancing from moment to moment, easily transferring between places. I admit I found the middle frustrating, the Court scenes; I nearly stopped reading! It felt like a return to the fantasy tropes, the little woodsy girl trapsing around the court, being made fun of, and eventually she’ll find her place or grow up or…I don’t know, I just raged silently against it. I wanted to return to the interesting part of the story! But I did keep reading, and the story caught me again. It’s got war, love, hatred, evil…it’s exciting and thrilling, had me turning pages and not wanting to stop. And then end is lovely. A really rounded, fitting one.
Love, love, love. A hard copy is on my wishlist and it’ll stay on the bookshelves as a read and re-read; it’s something that I will be happy to go back to, pick up and dip into, read through without wanting to stop. It’s brilliant writing and a beautiful story.
When I began reading Uprooted it reminded me at first of a cross between Beauty and the Beast and Howl's Moving Castle. It starts, very cleverly, with the tale of a village by a wood, guarded by a Dragon who chooses a maiden every ten years to take back to his tower. Our heroine, Agnieszka, is confident he won't choose her, because she's messy and clumsy and outspoken - surely he'll pick her pretty friend Kasia instead?
The first trick the author plays on us is that the Dragon is actually a very powerful wizard, and the plans he has for those girls he's taking from the village are not quite what everyone believes...
As the story develops it grows into something different, into its own fairy tale, about a Wood that corrupts and why, and the battle between what lives there and those who want to raze it to the ground. Rather than having a beginning, middle and end, Uprooted is almost episodic, detailing Agneiszka's adventures as she learns to work with the Dragon to help her people and solve the mystery of the Wood's power.
Uprooted is a YA fantasy with crossover appeal, and while there is a bit of a romance it is mainly about Agneiszka's journey as she learns more about her surroundings and herself. It is a thoroughly enchanting story and I loved the characters, especially Agneiszka and Sarkan, and the unusual ending, which I won't spoil for you. The only parts that left me cold were the battle scenes, because that's not my thing, and sometimes Agneiszka seemed a bit immature - but then Uprooted is YA and I'm not the target audience!
One of my favourite reads this year!
Let's start with the characters. The reason why I couldn't continue reading was because of the Dragon, the so-called hero of the book. I was perplexed as I saw another reader saying how much they laughed at this book. I have not cracked one smile, my friends, not a one. So he's an a-hole to rival all a-holes - for the hell of it, it seems. No real reason, truly. I think he just woke up in the morning and thought, 'Today, I shall be an even bigger a-hole than yesterday.' That must have been his life goal.
Moving along. Agnieszka. Oh dear, where to start with her? So, she wasn't supposed to get chosen. Why? Because she's not pretty. It's always the pretty ones that get chosen by the Dragon, to live ten years with him - we find out, toward the end why he does it - then go free, like sophisticated butterflies because the Dragon educates them or whatever. Point is, they are no longer simple village girls. So, Agnieszka gets chosen because she has powers the Dragon decides to bring forth.
This is where I would always put it aside, then try continuing, always failing. I think what was really disappointing was the so-called 'love story' between these two. I quickly realized that this author's definition of 'love' differs from mine and hey, to each their own! I think, this time around, I managed to continue reading it - painfully slowly - because I have put aside the silly idea of ever liking these two characters and of falling for them, as a couple. The idea, itself, wasn't the worst I've encountered but by God, the author's writing style makes it seem like I'm reading a never-ending book. I swear, I had one hundred pages left and, even though I kept on reading, it became harder and harder to care, to reach the big conclusion because it felt like more and more pages were magically popping up, after the initial one hundred.
I think the only character I liked was Agnieszka's best friend but her name eludes me, so sorry. Anyway, I can't say I recommend it but you can give it a try, if you like.