Since we are very close to the end of the year, I am trying to squeeze some of my most anticipated books of the years in the last days of 2015 and I am quite happy to have managed to read Uprooted by Naomi Novik this month.
This book follows a teenage girl named Agnieszka who lives in the Wood, a corrupted forest which threatens the peacefull valley she lives in. Agnieszka and her people are protected by the Dragon, the most powerful wizard of the kingdom, however his help is not free, indeed,every ten years, he choose a seventeen years old girl to serve him in his castle.
The next choosing is close and Agnieszka is sure that she’s not going to be picked : she’s the clumsiest person of her village, she doesn’t think that she has any special talent and she isn’t really the most beautiful seventeen years old girl of the valley. She isn’t Kasia, her dearest friend. Everyone know Kasia is the one that the Dragon will choose.
Except, she’s not.
Have you guessed who’s the one that the Dragon will choose ? The suspens is real… 😛
So, I really enjoyed this book. It was not what I expected but I think that it was because this book had quite a lot of hype so it’s not that easy to have ‘normal’ expectations going into it.
I liked the character of Agnieszka and how loyal she was to Kasia. It is pretty rare to find really good female friendship in books especially in YA literature. This was a very good one because it felt real : everything was not perfect between them but it did not drove them apart, on the contrary.
However, Agnieszka annoyed me quite a lot during certain scenes. That’s not that she was dumb but just that she was incredibly naive. She’s told a good amount of times not to do certain things and… of course she still does them. And that’s good for the story but I would have liked if she just thinks, at least a little, before acting.
Her character development was great though. She really grew into a more confident and less naive character during the story. I especially loved the way she was the end: the Agnieszka of the last two chapters was way different from the one at the beginning and for the best !
Speaking of the ending, it was great ! I did not expect the story to take this turn and it made me want to see it turned into a Studio Gibli movie. It left me feeling.. good. At peace. And that’s pretty rare for most of the books that I usually read (I am talking about you Golden Son !)
Still, I had two little problems with the book.
The biggest probably was the pacing of the story. Some passages were very slow and too detailled for me and tend to bore me but other passages were rushed. I think that it may be because this book is a standalone and that it must be complicated to decide which things to tell or to pass on.
My other problem was the romance. I am not against them but sometimes I can live without them and this was one of this case. I did not think that the romance added anything to the story and when it appeared I was a little lost. I asked myself if I missed clues of it beforehand because I did not expect it at all.
Overall, I am happy to have read this. Uprooted is a cozy, heartwarming read that was perfect for the holiday season and I would recommend if you are looking for one. I don’t know yet if I am going to pick up more of Novik’s work just yet since I am not interested by her Temeraire series but I will have my eyes open for her next book series or standalone !