My rating in stars: 4 stars
My rating in words: Really liked this book
What it’s about:
“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.
“There was a song in this forest, too, but it was a savage song, whispering of madness and tearing and rage.”
Wow. Don’t go into this book based only on the synopsis. The story grows into something so much bigger than what you could expect. I can’t tell too much about the plot because it would be a serious spoiler and I feel like you just have to throw yourself into this book and see where you end up. Though I both understand the hype and I understand why it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I definitely recommend giving this book a try. Just start the story and I promise it will only take about one chapter for you to find out whether you like it or not. I liked it a lot, because of these things:
The writing style and worldbuilding. Both the world and the writing work together to give a very atmospheric, creepy feeling to the whole book. The magic system is kept vague, but I did not mind. I liked how it was portrayed and thought it was written very visually and beautifully. Also the fact that the big villain of the story was a wood was amazing and original! I felt like that really helped the kind of dark and creepy atmosphere.
“No one went into the Wood and came out again, at least not whole and themselves. Sometimes they came out blind and screaming, sometimes they came out twisted and so misshapen they couldn’t be recognized; and worst of all sometimes they came out with their own faces but murder behind them, something gone dreadfully wrong within.”
The characters. Agnieszka is a great protagonist. She’s just an ordinary plain girl with a tendency to look like a mess, but she didn’t feel like a typical ‘clumsy girl trope’ either. She’s stubborn and impulsive but still smart, loving and loyal and I loved that about her. Her interactions with the Dragon were amazing. I’m not gonna lie, they kind of have the ‘opposites attract’ trope going on, but I loved every minute of it. The Dragon is uptight and grumpy and constantly bickering with Agnieszka but it’s born out of this social awkwardness that I found endearing. Though this book has very little romance, there is a bit and what is there is perfection.
“Listen, you impossible creature,” he said, “I’m a century and more older than–“
“Oh, be quiet,” I said impatiently.”
The friendship. What the book focuses more on instead of the romance is one of the best female friendships I have ever read about. Agnieszka and Kasia’s friendship just warmed my heart and I loved that it is kind of what kept the whole story together. Even though there was horror and evil woods and magical corruption and so many things going on, this friendship always felt like a thread running through everything.
“I don’t want more sense!” I said loudly, beating against the silence of the room. “Not if sense means I’ll stop loving anyone. What is there besides people that’s worth holding on to?”
Overall, I really loved Uprooted. If I could nitpick one little thing, then it is that I wanted just a bit more Agnieszka and Dragon scenes. What we got was amazing, but I just needed more. Also, though it is a fast paced book, I don’t think it’s a fast read. Not that that’s bad, but I felt like the writing style does require you to take your time to read.
If you are someone who likes fast paced, creepy magical fantasies and stories that end up going farther than your expectations, give Uprooted a try!
“I don’t think I can do it alone,” I said. I had a feeling the Summoning wasn’t really meant to be cast alone: as if truth didn’t mean anything without someone to share it with.”
“It wasn’t that I wanted a husband and a baby; I didn’t, or rather, I only wanted them the way I wanted to live to a hundred: someday, far off, never thinking about the particulars.”
“You’ve been inexpressibly lucky,” he said finally. “And inexpressibly mad, although in your case the two seem to be the same thing”
“His name tasted of fire and wings, of curling smoke, of subtlety and strength and the rasping whisper of scales.”