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Book Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

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First things first: The writing, descriptions, and plot were mesmerizing to me. I’m still thinking about the Wood.

I read this for the BabblingBooks April book club! I already knew I wanted to read it, so it was great timing.

Book information and recommendations before continuing: You will find this in the adult section. It could have been Young Adult with the removal of a particular scene and maybe a little of the violence? It does not have much profanity at all that I can recall. I’m a more conservative person when it comes to reading, so I thought I’d put that out there for fellow readers. I usually stay in the YA and younger sections, since Middle Grade is my favorite. So I’d recommend Uprooted to lovers of fairytales, beautiful writing, creepy forests, and those who either don’t mind an adult scene or are willing to flip past it.

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This is the first book I’ve read by Naomi Novik, but her writing is incredible. I loved the names, the fairytale feel, the Polish folklore inspiration and complexity of the plot.

Some of my favorite quotes:

“If you don’t want a man dead, don’t bludgeon him over the head repeatedly.”

There was a song in this forest, too, but it was a savage song, whispering of madness and tearing and rage.

We were of the valley. Born in the valley, of families planted too deep to leave even when they knew their daughter might be taken; raised in the valley, drinking of whatever power also fed the Wood.

Even the mountains, my constants, had disappeared. Of course I’d known there were parts of the country with no mountains, but I’d imagined I would still see them somewhere in the distance, like the moon. But every time I looked behind me, they were smaller and smaller, until finally they disappeared with one final gasp of rolling hills.

I gave this 4 out of 5 stars.
The reasons I didn’t give five stars:
I wasn’t a huge fan of Agnieszka and the Dragon’s “relationship”. As I read pointed out in other places too, he never apologizes for his abusive language or that he didn’t protect her from roaming hands of the Prince’s. I think one little line like, “I’ve been an insufferable beast” would have worked. (haha) Like a Mr. Darcy situation. Because I did enjoy his dry humor.

I also wished Kasia had more of her personality shown. She literally had the personality of wood for most of the book, though I loved her when she did shine. I also still don’t know why a seventeen year old girl was chosen every ten years. Why a girl, why seventeen, why for ten years? Why not a thirty year old farm hand boy? If being a servant was all that was needed, then why the odd need for a young girl? Did I miss something?

Despite my above rambling, I loved Agnieszka as a character and the writing enough to still love this story.

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