Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Uprooted by Naomi Novik: A folktale for adults

The Dragon, a powerful and fearsome wizard, protects the valley from the evil, encroaching Wood and the deadly creatures that inhabit it. As payment for this protection The Dragon chooses one girl every decade and takes her back to his tower. No one knows what happens at the tower, but after ten years the girl is returned, alive…but irrevocably changed. 

Kasia has been groomed all her life to be the next chosen. She is beautiful, graceful, and well-mannered; everything her best friend Agnieska is not. Agnieska loves her home, despite the ever-present malevolence of the Wood that borders her village. Clumsy, awkward, and stubborn, she too knows Kasia will be chosen, and already mourns the loss of her only friend.

When the choosing day arrives and The Dragon paces down the line of waiting girls it is Agnieska that causes him to pause. It is Agnieska that The Dragon, grudgingly, takes. Whether she wants to or not, Agnieska is about to find out what happens in that tower.

I have so many feels for this book that it is actually difficult to review. For me, Uprooted turned back time to my childhood, when I devoured fairy stories and folktales. It is as if Novik channeled the Grimm brothers and Andrew Lang as she was writing, creating a wonderfully faceted folktale for adults that is so reminiscent of those childhood stories that I had to research to find out if it was, indeed, a retelling of a traditional story (it isn't). This is no child’s book, however. It’s darker. And better. And it should be at the top of your to-read list.

Uprooted. Novik, Naomi. New York: Random House Publishing, 2015. Publication Date: May 19, 2015. 5 Stars

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions expressed in the review are mine alone. 

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