Book Review: ‘Uprooted’ by 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.”

I recently read this book for the second time and it is just as brilliant as I remember. The novel follows Agnieszka, a young woman who lives at the border of a magical, malevolent Wood. She and the other villagers are reliant on an immortal wizard – the Dragon – to protect them from it.

But his protection has a price. Every ten years, the Dragon takes a girl from the valley to serve him in his tower. For all of Agnieszka’s life, she has believed that he will take her best friend.

Yet when the day comes, he picks Agnieszka.

‘Uprooted’ is an immersive story that combines high fantasy with politics, romance and Polish folklore. The writing is beautiful and highly inventive. Novik makes the threat of the Wood feel real, building the tension all the way to the end.

Agnieszka is a compelling protagonist and the Dragon is complex but likeable. However, apart from a few exceptions, the side characters are quite forgettable. Kasia, Agnieszka’s best friend, is particularly underdeveloped.

Nevertheless, Uprooted is one of my favourite books. It is full of mystery, magic and horror. I recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy!

Rating: 8/10

Genres: high fantasy, romance, adult, young adult, standalone, fairytale

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.