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Uprooted Paperback – March 1, 2016
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“Uprooted has leapt forward to claim the title of Best Book I’ve Read Yet This Year. . . . Moving, heartbreaking, and thoroughly satisfying, Uprooted is the fantasy novel I feel I’ve been waiting a lifetime for. Clear your schedule before picking it up, because you won’t want to put it down.”—NPR
“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
“Uprooted is one of those tales you come back to over and over again because it’s just that enchanting. The adventure builds with such tension that you are peeking through your hands at the end, hoping it will all be okay, and Naomi Novik delivers a conclusion that’s deeply satisfying, earning a permanent space on my bookshelf that I’ll revisit often.”—Kevin Hearne, New York Times bestselling author of Shattered
“Reading Uprooted was like rediscovering a favorite old sweater, familiar and beloved. It feels as if it has always existed and has been waiting patiently for me to return to it.”—Maggie Stiefvater, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Shiver Trilogy
“I didn’t know how much I wanted to read a book like this until it was already in my hands. Uprooted has everything I love about Novik’s writing style, with the added bonus of some old-world magic and the flavor of a dark faerie story.”—Patrick Rothfuss, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Kingkiller Chronicle series
“Uprooted by Naomi Novik is enchanting, in every sense of that fine old word. A charming and inviting story that looks unflinchingly at the strangling roots of hurt and revenge.”—Robin Hobb, bestselling author of Fool’s Assassin
“The roots of Uprooted are planted deep in fairy tale lore, but the story that Naomi Novik has coaxed forth is fresh and compelling. It reads like a previously undiscovered origin myth in the best possible way!”—Jacqueline Carey, New York Times bestselling author of the Kushiel’s Legacy series
“I’ve been a diehard fan of Naomi Novik’s work since reading His Majesty’s Dragon, and her new fantasy, Uprooted, is an utter delight. Novik writes the kind of book that wins your heart and lights up all the pleasure of your brain.”—Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble
“Novik has written a living heart-book, its mythology vital, deep, and true. I am in awe.”—Rachel Hartman, author of Seraphina
“This is a beautiful book. The magic is true magic, and the human relationships—especially those between women—complex and believable.”—Ellen Kushner, author of Swordspoint
“The most darkly compelling fantasy I’ve read in ages, Uprooted is overflowing with profound dread and real beauty, and boasts a heroine who blazes with spirit and originality. Not to be missed!”—Christopher Golden, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Snowblind
“Naomi Novik’s Uprooted is a marvelous fantasy reminiscent of Howl’s Moving Castle. Her setting, characters, and the magic they use are all brilliant. I devoured the book in one reading. Well done! I want more!”—Todd McCaffrey, New York Times bestselling author of Sky Dragons
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Naomi Novik is the acclaimed author of His Majesty’s Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, Empire of Ivory, Victory of Eagles, Tongues of Serpents, Crucible of Gold, and Blood of Tyrants, the first eight volumes of the Temeraire series. She has been nominated for the Hugo Award and has won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, as well as the Locus Award for Best New Writer and the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel. She is also the author of the graphic novel Will Supervillains Be on the Final?
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.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
So now comes this new novel and my bottom line verdict is that it is fantastic. It’s straight fantasy but absolutely reminds one of that nostalgic feeling of fairy tales you read (or were read to you) from childhood. After reading the opening two chapters I thought I was on my way into just such a fairy tale, but it wasn’t long before any ideas I had about predicting where this was going were thrown out of the proverbial window. The plot begins as a twist in the age-old concept of a young maiden being picked every ten years by the village elders to sacrifice to the dragon in order to buy its protection. The twist is that this time it’s not an actual dragon but a renowned wizard who requires the sacrifice. And he doesn’t select the pretty young maiden that everybody was planning on but instead chooses Agneieszka, our protagonist, and it is though her eyes that we see the story unfold.
OK…interesting twist but I still thought I knew where the plot was going. I was wrong.
No spoilers from me but suffice it to say that this novel kept me turning the pages way past my bedtime. Ms. Novik is a masterful storyteller and knows how to pace a book to keep the reader hooked all the way through. Her use of language is perfect for this type of tale, combining the lighter fairy tale elements but also taking a deep dive into battle scenes with a hard grittiness that, frankly, surprised me. And the world building…this is how it should be done. It’s obviously fully developed but we aren’t bombarded with extraneous details that we don’t need. We can understand everything and how all the characters fit together but don’t spend much time with info dumps.
I understand this book is being marketed as YA although I confess to not really understanding the distinction anymore. The only thing remotely YA about this is the fact that Agneieszka is seventeen years old at the beginning of the story. Rest assured there is no “dumbing down” of the plot, the rich characterization, or the language/word choice. True, there is no swearing to speak of but there is violence aplenty. Lots of fighting action and violent deaths, plenty of creative use of well-imagined magic, and a tasteful but on-stage sex scene all combine to make this one a keeper. And the plot about the woods…the intelligent life force of the dark woods and how it consumes people…oh yeah…no spoilers. You’ll have to read that yourself.
This book is complete in and of itself. I could see how there may be a sequel or two (or seven) but there may never be more.
Well done Ms. Novik. Highly recommended!
One moment someone wants to help you, another moment they want to hurt you, then they want to help you again. There's no deep or dramatic connection to any of these characters. Even the best friend, Kasia, is dull and uncharacterized - she just follows the protagonist around and does her bidding and serves basically as a bodyguard, but provides the bare minimum for advice or emotional support. Some best friend. Even the protagonist, Agnieszka... you're not even sure what she's here to do. What does she want? What is she trying to achieve? She is driven purely on situational impulse. Things just... happen to her. There is no thinking, planning behind anything, only impulse and intuition, which while it makes for one steamy bed scene, doesn't make up for a whole book of pretty much stringing together random events. In fact, the way the plot goes, basically she's probably destined to be tangled and just go along with it - that's probably why the queen was drawn to her in the first place. She becomes less of an actor and more of a reactor; the fact that she achieved anything in this book is pretty much dumbfounded sheer luck (I'd be annoyed too if I were Sarkan/Dragon and always had to save her skin). It's like she's running around humming "ah ah ah ah stayin alive". In the beginning, I liked Agnieszka's spunk and the Dragon's irritation and their weird Jane Eyre dynamic, but toward the middle and end I'm not even sure I liked any of the characters at all, many of them, immortal as they may be, were just pieces on a chessboard without feelings and loyalties and lacking some element of humanity. Honestly the Woods could have taken them, Prince, Falcon/Stoya, and everyone else, and the world would have been better off for it. Agnieszka's defining emotions in latter half of the book were mainly of guilt, pity, and desperation. The absence of sorrow or horror made it unreadable, to draw from all situations this condescension, to think you can do anything because you feel like it and don't consider the consequences because it'll most of the time turn out all right. She hardly makes a compelling noble protagonist. I didn't feel attached to any of the characters except perhaps the Dragon, though he didn't end up playing a huge role in the second half of the book at all, just tagging along and trying to survive.
I literally am just bursting with questions. Many scenes are described in a hurried and half-comprehensible way, where you're not sure what's going on or who died or why or even sometimes where Agnieszka's allegiances lie. It's fine when things are all scenic and serene, but awful in a battle scene (which there are many of). Like the Wood Queen - one minute it says she had a sword in her "and then she was gone" and the next minute "she escaped". Very ambiguous. And the slow ballroom and library scenes (anything in the capital really) were entirely useless, adding to nothing in the plot except making Agnieszka seem cluelessly blonde and inept at socialization. How did Agnieszka break her bond on the valley and leave? Also, why didn't Agnieszka receive a nickname like Dragon or Falcon? How is it that no one takes Agnieszka seriously but then suddenly they do and she's making decisions and not explaining anything everyone's just ok with it? What was the Wood Queen actually trying to achieve with all these slow traps and plots between Rosya and their kingdom when she has the power (and definitely has the rage) to obliterate entire armies? Why didn't the corruption show in the Wood Queen earlier but showed up later? Who are these tree people and are they still alive? Nothing is explained well. It's so frustrating to have to go back and read only to have no idea what you just read.
This could have been much better executed with a plot of this caliber, with this many twists and turns. Unfortunately most of them can leave the reader spinning and confused.
Well, for me, the narrator, Julia Emelin, spoiled Uprooted. She read the parts of female main character, Agnieszka , in a halting style. The narrator read the other parts fluently. I felt relieved when the narrator read any other character's words. Why did the narrator or whomever choose to use this broken up, halting style of reading? To express Agnieszka's naivete? Anyway, I disliked the narration so much that I couldn't listen to it. I am glad that my first encounter with Uprooted was the written version. I will go back to my paper copy and finish reading.
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