Uprooted by Naomi Novik

UprootedUprooted by Naomi Novik
My rating: 5 of 5 teacups

Hey! You there! Please listen. On May 19th this book will be released – on that day go to this page or this page or another retailer of your choice and download the free sample of this book. If, by the end of that small sample, you are not convinced that this book is amazing, never think of it again. BUT, I sincerely doubt that will be the case.

Because it took me ONE CHAPTER – well, a few pages really – to make me realize that this book was going to steal every bit of my spare time until I’d devoured it all. And it did. It was magical, surprising, incredibly well-written, and so very funny. And not funny in a Terry Pratchett comedy/fantasy kind of way, but just funny because these characters are so real and charming.

There are those well-drawn, vivid books that have great world-building, beautiful descriptions without being overly descriptive, and get lauded by critics. Then there are those books that are delicious chocolate-ice-cream-with-sprinkles pieces of entertainment that drag you in and just provide so much enjoyment. Uprooted is a rare beast – because it’s both.

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.

What a magical, though strangely honest and thoughtful book. I’m avoiding saying too much about the story because the blurb is deliberately vague for a reason, but I will give you a little something. Uprooted opens in a village where once every ten years, the Dragon (actually a man and wizard who rules over the land) comes and picks a seventeen year-old girl from the village and takes her to his palace. Nobody knows what happens to them, but they are not seen for the next ten years and they always come back changed.

It made me smile because it sounds a little like the premise for Cruel Beauty (which I loved) and A Court of Thorns and Roses (which I didn’t love), but it’s better and different than either of those. There’s a touch of the romantic (and the heart-poundingly sexy), but Novik is both a tease and someone not concerned about being PG – which made the book infinitely better on that front than either of the other two mentioned.

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.

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 can’t praise this book highly enough. I’m desperately trying to string together the right combination of words to make other people pick this up. I just hope I’ve been successful, because it was truly a magical, entertaining experience.

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