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No one went into the Wood and came out again, at least not whole and themselves. Sometimes they came out blind and screaming, sometimes they came out twisted and so misshapen they couldn’t be recognized; and worst of all sometimes they came out with their own faces but murder behind them, something gone dreadfully wrong within. I'll tell you right now: I was rather a bit upset that the big bad is an evil forest, but the idea is much older than all our modern tree-hugging sympathies, so in effect it still came across as something fresh. How odd!

Agnieszka worries for her best friend, Kasia, who is the most beautiful girl in the village. Everyone is sure Kasia will be snatched up by the Dragon at the next Choosing. Instead, much to her surprise, Agnieszka is chosen to serve the Dragon, and that's when she discovered how dark and frightening the world really is. Because there is something elemental about the way Uprooted is built: it delves into the origins of storytelling, using the foundation of fairytales to tell a story that is at once familiar and comforting as well as subversive and progressive. And extremely beautiful. And somehow, hilarious? Also, romantic. Clever. Oh yes, and sexy. Oh wait, there's more. The Dragon also insulted her by calling her an idiot every steps of the way. About more than THREE times in the book. All of these elements are known quantities in fairy tales – the magic with Uprooted lies with the nuances and subversions (some subtle, others not so much) that Naomi Novik weaves into her yarn. That, and the fact that Novik has a killer way of writing action, magic, and danger that literally has you on the edge of your seat. (On two separate occasions I missed my subway stop to work because I was so engrossed in Uprooted– it’s the Thea test for true submersion in a story.) Magical and practical, otherworldly and planted in the real, I could not stop reading this book and neither will you!” —Tamora Pierce


Also, one of my favourite things was the creepy Wood - a literally evil forest that is alive with a dark corruption that will claim you if you ever enter it, or get touched by one of the monstrous beings that come out of the Wood. How weird and creative and scary... I LOVED it. This debut seeks to give us an inside look into Emmett Idaho (the author's hometown) and what happens when people choose to leave or stay in a small farming community. In which we discuss the brilliant, beauteous, dark, and enchanting new fairy tale from Naomi Novik. You see, Uprooted tries to to lure you in with it's rather gorgeous and intriguing front cover, and admittedly, I was rather excited when I'd read the plot. But now, I feel like I've been totally conned. Conned out of five hours of my precious reading time, but most importantly, time out my life. If you want to learn more about Bookshelves specifically, please read the Bookshelves FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).

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 Through notes left by previous girls, Agnieszka gathers that her role is mostly household duties. But the reason for his choice is that she has magical abilities, and he starts teaching her simple spells. Agnieszka finds these acts of magic difficult and unnatural.Each character is vivid and fully realized. In the Dragon we see someone who is not nice, at all, but who always gets things done. He’s rude and verbally abusive, but he constantly puts his life and wellbeing on the line to do what’s right and goes above and beyond what is expected of him, and never asks for any recognition in return. In contrast, we have everyone at court, like Marek and the Falcon, who are all flashy and politically savvy, and always manage to present themselves as celebrated heroes without actually doing anything useful. Both types are common in the real world, and this representation rang very true. You intolerable lunatic,” he snarled at me, and then he caught my face between his hands and kissed me. I was under the impression this would be a bit more of a memoir (a la J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy) about a young woman grappling with her roo From the author of the Temeraire series comes this hugely imaginative, engrossing and vivid fantasy novel, inspired by folk and fairy tales. It is perfect reading for fans of Robin Hobb and Trudi Canavan. Uprooted tells the story of a young village woman named Agnieszka, born in a year where she is eligible to be taken by the Dragon – a powerful wizard who protects her village and the rest of the kingdom from the encroaching evil of the poisoned Wood. Every ten years, the Dragon leaves his marble tower and selects a girl from the villages of the valley to live with him. No one knows what the Dragon does with these girls during their servitude – just that after ten years, the girls emerge from the tower, free and healthy, but always determined to leave the valley and village behind for bigger and better things.

Ok so to start with this book took me months to read...MONTHS I tell you. Actually looking at the dates on Goodreads it was close to a year but I did start and stop a lot so... I can normally devour a fantasy book twice this size in half the time . I just wasn’t interested. a b c Nepveu, Kate (10 June 2015). "Naomi Novik's Uprooted Isn't The Book I Expected — It's Better". Tor.com . Retrieved 12 November 2022. Barring any upsets on my upcoming short-list for the Nebula, I think this one is going to be second favorite of the bunch. Ok, from the blurb, you probably think that the story centers around a guy named Dragon (or a dragon named Guy?) and the girl he falls in love with...fairytale style. It's just so goddamn charming. It's exciting and creepy with regards to the plot and world, but it's made especially wonderful because of the character dynamics. Agnieszka and the Dragon are hilarious together - they operate with a kind of love/hate dynamic that makes for some really funny scenes and some heart-warming ones.Honestly, I was feeling a bit of trepidation before reading this, and I'm very happy to say that I didn't have any issues with the novel. Several decades ago Robert Nisbet called the problem of rootlessness, of community lost, "the towering moral problem of the age." But despite the problem's crucial importance, it is one that is ignored no less in our day than it was in Nisbet's. Now as then, Americans move to and fro, seeking wealth, importance, and novelty, but rarely looking for home in the broad sense. A penetrating exploration of that problem, and its consequences for both places and the placeless, is badly needed. Unfortunately, Grace Olmstead's Uprooted is not that book. A sense of nostalgia hangs over the tale as the world changes inevitably and we learn of entire villages and civilizations disappearing forever. But there is also a sense of hope in spite of all the darkness, of wonder and discovery, of healing and renewal. A hope for an end of the vicious cycle of violence. There are many aspects of the book that demand deeper examination, but I’m going to focus on the three things that sang to me the most: the rules of magic in Agnieszka’s world (and related to that, overall worldbuilding and deep-rooted corruption at the heart of the Wood), the subversive thematic elements (especially concerning female characters and traditional notions of heroism), and the powerful relationships that define each of these characters. If you want to know whether or not Kasia is saved, you'll have to read the book for yourself (which you should do anyway, b/c AWESOME), but I will tell you that Agnieszka finds something in the Wood, and that something reminds me of one of my favorite Christian Schloe illustrations:

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