Published by Pan Macmillan on May 2015
Source: Competition Prize
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, ambitious wizard, known only as the Dragon, to keep the wood's powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman must be handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as being lost 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 no one can predict how or why the Dragon chooses a girl. And when he comes, it is not Kasia he will take with him.
Ok, let me first say… this cover – GORGEOUS! It’s the UK edition, designed by crush.co.uk, and personally I think it’s perfect!
What’s more, the story within the pages of this gorgeous book is just as perfect as the cover! This is a beautiful work of fantasy that combines magic, fairy tales and a little romance to create an epic story.
This was my first venture into Naomi Novik’s work. The synopsis of this book had me thoroughly intrigued and despite my unfamiliarity with the author, I was counting down the days until I could get my hands on this book.
The valley where Agnieszka lives is under the protection of a wizard, the Dragon. His magic holds back the corruption of the nearby wood and protects the residents of the local villages. Once every 10 years the Dragon selects one local girl to serve him in his tower. Agnieszka’s best friend Kasia is widely expected to be selected, but the Dragon chooses Agnieszka herself.
Novik’s writing is stunning. I found myself just enjoying the writing, savouring her turn of phrase rather than racing on to find out what happens next. I had the most vivid images in my head of the world and its residents, almost as though I’d watched a movie rather than read a book.
I found the world Novik has created to be fascinating. The combination of the magic, the history, the characters, the enemy, it was all fantastic. As for her protagonist, Agnieszka, she’s a brilliant character, a strong heroine. I thoroughly enjoyed her developing relationship with the Dragon and her friendship with Kasia – again a testament to Novik’s writing.
I’m being deliberating vague in this post as I don’t want to spoil anything. I want you to just enjoy the whole journey of this beautiful book. Basically though if you’re a fan of myths, legends, fairy tales, stunning writing and well-built worlds you will want to read this book!
Have you read Uprooted? I’d love to know what you thought of it.