Uprooted by Naomi Novik was released this month and it's a fun fantasy adventure building on many fairy tale tropes. In other words, you're probably going to enjoy it if you read it. I did. It is also new in the UK at Uprooted (UK edition).
I read the first few books in Novik's Temeraire series and then my interest died down. I remember loving the first few books, so I am not sure why I lost interest. But when I saw that Novik was writing in a new world, I was interested again. After all, this book has dragons and fantasy and some fairy tale influence, too, which is a little more in my catnip jar than the Temeraire series. Throw in references to Baba Yaga and other fairy tale tropes such as Beauty and the Beast--I am definitely up for a read.
I was not disappointed. This book offered a fun adventure with some sexual politics thrown in for good measure. I was entertained and amused while relieved with strong writing, too. Because all too often those are not mutual traits for a book. Most importantly, I liked Agnieszka, the heroine. Novik gives her a strong voice and grand adventure that earned this book a place on my permanent shelf--after I lend it to my niece this summer.
Naomi Novik, author of the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed Temeraire novels, introduces a bold new world rooted in folk stories and legends, as elemental as a Grimm fairy tale.
“Every so often you come upon a story that seems like a lost tale of Grimm newly come to light. Uprooted is such a novel. Its narrative spell is confidently wrought and sympathetically cast. I might even call it bewitching.”—Gregory Maguire, bestselling author of Wicked and Egg & Spoon
“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.”
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.
The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.
But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.