Uprooted by Naomi Novik
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
[Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley.]
I've only ever read one other Naomi Novik book, and that was her first Temeraire book. I loved it. Which is why I jumped at the chance to read this one. She did not let me down. I can't gush over Uprooted enough, it was just so seriously great.
Agnieszka is taken from her home unexpectedly at the choosing, when the Dragon, the territory's wizard, chooses a girl from one of the villages to spend 10 years with him locked up in his tower. No one knows what goes on there, but they all suspect that he has his way with them for ten years, so they all come out "ruined" and end up leaving town for good. Kasia, her best friend, was supposed to be chosen, she was the prettiest, and the smartest, and the most talented. But he looks at Agnieszka and takes her instead. She spends her first few weeks confused, resentful, and scared, and the Dragon doesn't make things any better with his miserable attitude towards everything she does.
But Agnieszka has magic in her, and while it's not the same kind of magic the Dragon has, she is able to learn and grow. She does things he never thought possible, and puts the entire kingdom in an uproar when she goes into the evil Wood to rescue Kasia.
At times the book read almost as YA, but you could tell that it was a genuinely adult fantasy, not one of those frou frou YA "fantasies" that are more love and kissing and hand-holding than real magic. There are fearsome battles, awful creatures, an interesting wild kind of magic, and seemingly hopeless odds. A tiny dash of romance was just enough to make it perfectly tingly.
I was hoping for something awesome and I was not disappointed. Highly recommended to anyone who loves great fantasy. This is one I plan on buying so that I have a hard copy of it!
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