Uprooted by Naomi Novik
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love, love, LOVE this book! It was so fun to read and there was never a dull moment. At first I thought it was the typical story of a girl whisked off by a wizard to train as an apprentice but no, there were so many elements to this book, you would be surprised.
So the main character of the book was this girl named Agniezka, who never really expected that she will be the one chosen by this mysterious wizard to be his apprentice (they call him the Dragon but his name is actually Sarkan, which means "dragon" LOL :-D ) because her entire village believed that Sarkan will pick Kasia, Agniezka's friend, who was beautiful, elegant, and just the perfect girl. Agniezka was just average looking, not really proficient in anything aside from getting herself dirty, and she was clumsy and all. So everyone was really surprised when Sarkan chose Agniezka instead of Kasia and before she knew it, she was in Sarkan's tower.
Now without getting into so much details, Sarkan grudgingly trained Agniezka in doing spells (cantrips) and it became apparent very soon that despite Agniezka's lackluster appearance, she was a naturally powerful witch. This is just my personal view, but I think she is either a reincarnation of Baba Jaga (an ancient powerful witch) or she was descended from her. In any case, Agniezka was soon making it known that it will be unwise to underestimate her because she HAS POWER and she is not to be messed around with.
Now it is revealed that Sarkan's primary role is to safeguard the people and the land from the evil brought upon by the Wood. The Wood is actually this place where strange and awful creatures roam (twig-like beings who kidnaps people, big ferocious wolves, and large monstrous mantises to name a few) who seemed deadset in spreading misery and pestilence to the people living in the valley. It really made me so interested to read about the Wood, it was fascinating and horrible at the same time. Even if you don't go inside the Wood, it could spread pollens carried by the wind and infect people, usually making them go mad and kill themselves and the people around them.
Anyway, let me just share my thoughts about the characters. I liked Agniezka but I just wish she cared more about her appearance. If I had a spell that will enable me to change my outfit into one fabulous ensemble to another, you can be sure I will probably be changing clothes at least 5 times a day. But I guess that's part of her charm, that she was so unaffected and lacks of artifice. She does make up for it by having a smart and sensible head on her shoulders.
I liked Sarkan with reservations. I do get the moody and aloof exterior he has, but I sort of got exasperated that he continued to keep Agniezka at arms length. I guess he was truly hurt by his past love and that made him jaded about love. Oh boy, by the way, this book is not a young adult novel. This is definitely a New Adult. I was so surprised when Agniezka and Sarkan did the "deed." I mean, when it happened, I was so shocked. Not that I'm a prude or anything (maybe I am), but it was so unexpected and I kind of crossed my fingers that Agniezka would become pregnant and Sarkan would be man enough to ask her to marry him.
I liked Kasia because she was a loyal friend till the end. I was half-expecting her to betray Agniezka, probably because she may resent her friend for being picked instead of her. I am glad that it wasn't the case. I thought that she and Prince Marek would fall in love and that she will be queen but I guess what happened to her was okay as well.
So all in all, this book was great and I wish there was a sequel. This book is kind of dark because of all the people dying and the atrocities, but still it was magical and interesting. Giving this book a definite 5 stars!
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