Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Uprooted-Naomi-Novik-cover  Title: Uprooted
 Author: Naomi Novik
 Rating: 5/5
Source: I won it in a giveaway hosted by Mel@The Daily Prophecy. Thanks, Mel! By the way, here’s her review of Uprooted.

I received the book on May 19, I think. Just a bit before it was published, but I started reading it a week or two later, since I was in the middle of having my last uni exams and also dealing with my Bachelors Thesis (which is all now happily done!).

I was surprised by the book’s cover. Well, firstly, because it as a hardback, I wasn’t expectingUprooted-Naomi-Novik-cover2 that. Not that I really knew what to expect, except for the fact that I’d only seen the cover on the right, so I thought that’s how it’s gonna look.

For me the book had a slow beginning, but I’m not entirely sure whether it’s really the book or it was me, as I sort of had difficulty getting into the book. I guess I just didn’t yet feel like it and it was the last weeks of getting my Thesis done, printed out, bound, defended and all that jazz. So I warn you, you might be faced with a slow beginning.

But slow doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s just a bit slow and a bit hard to get into, for example, the magic in the book is actually very nice and it really makes you feel like you could do it, but it took some time to get into it. But, yet again, maybe that was just me.

But when I finally got into it, it was great. Magical, a bit creepy and fun. And there’s some steamy action as well. Twice, actually. That first scene – making the rose illusion – I really liked it. While the second steamy scene had me giggling. Something about being impatient is said, it’s just. Oh, so giggle-worthy.

Overall, the book had so much story. Somehow, I just didn’t expect that, that is, I didn’t expect everything that happened there will happened. Yes, I thought they will fight the Wood and there will be magic, but I didn’t expect everything else. Basically, I didn’t expect more than half of the story. But there’s sort of a bit of mystery, there’s, as expected, magic and a bit of romance, and friendship, but there’s also a back-story. In the end, everything gets explained. I don’t think there’s anything unresolved left. I guess it’s sort of to be expected from a standalone, but it doesn’t always happen, especially with so much story. To me, there was just so much in the book. But nothing of it seemed too much.

Even though it’s a standalone and everything seems fully resolved, I wouldn’t mind reading more about the world and characters. I guess I’ll just read the book again. To me, it is definitely worth a re-read.Uprooted-Naomi-Novik

As for the characters. Agnieszka, the main character and our story teller (everything is in her 1st person POV). Sometimes she acts sooo dumb, mainly in her actions – she gets something in her mind and just does it, without really thinking about consequences, and there are consequences. While other times she felt older than her 17. Which might just be me, because, for some reason, I seem to have a problem of feeling disbelief for the thoughts and actions of characters under 18/19. While the main male character, Dragon, who is not an actual dragon as some have been led to believe, could have benefited fro, a bit more character development, reasoning, etc. We do get some back-story about him, but I’d like to know more. That is also a reason for a sequel.

A really cool feature were the wizard names. For the most part, Dragon is Dragon, but then someone starts calling him Sarkan. Ar first I thought it’s like his real name, but turns out, it is just the same Dragon, only in the ummm language of magic. Something like that. So Sarkan is Dragon, while Solya is Falcon. And when the magic language name is said, you can supposedly feel some magic, e.g., at one moment Nieshka describes pronouncing Sarkan as feeling fire, warmth and wings, something like that, while Solya made her feel watched, if I remember closely. At it all adds up to the magic the wizards perform. Most of them have their own thing, something like a specialty, a way of performing magic. In the end, there are so many details to the magic system and it’s all so well-developed. For those who find it of importance, there is also a cost the magic – it depletes your strength. I really liked the magic, once I got into it. Although, how a wizards name is chosen, what’s supposed to happen in that “ceremony”, is still unclear to me, but not knowing is not really a drawback.

There’s a bunch of fun and giggle-worthy moments. For some I just laughed inwardly, but for already mentioned patience phrase in a heated moment I just could hold back a loud laugh, just as I couldn’t stop myself from laughing when I read Kasia’s letter to Nieshka at the end of the book. Hilarious.

And, no, I didn’t have any problems reading the name Agnieszka. I already knew its pronunciation, but it also is explained in the acknowledgments. The only drawback there is the fact that the acknowledgments are at the end of the book, so it’s kind of not really helpful – you’ve struggled your way through 300+ pages and then, suddenly, you’re enlightened. Not that it’s really bad, but it could have been in the beginning of the book. At least the explanation of the pronunciation.

While reading, I first thought of giving the book 4 nuts, but the last third or fourth of the book brought the rating up to 5 nuts. [A SPOILER MIGHT BE COMING] I can’t really explain everything that made me give it the fifth nut, but one of those things (because it is one that I can formulate and explain) is the chapter/part that tells how Agnieszka is walking around the wood, fixing it, clearing out the Wood from the woods. [SHOULD BE SAFE TO READ NOW] There was something so … heartwarming in those moments.

I really loved the book. Yes, the main character was sometimes stupid and annoying, but she seemed to learn from that and she grew throughout the book. And there was magic, badass bad guys and badass good guys, and various other guys in between, and romance, and giggles, and friendship (which was the greatest driving force for Nieshka for at least half of the book). 5 nuts to Uprooted.

5nuts

Definitely worth a read!

What did you think of Uprooted?

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