NEBULA AWARD WINNER • HUGO AWARD FINALIST • “If you want a fantasy with strong characters and brilliantly original variations on ancient stories, try Uprooted!”—Rick Riordan
“Breathtaking . . . a tale that is both elegantly grand and earthily humble, familiar as a Grimm fairy tale yet fresh, original, and totally irresistible.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • BuzzFeed • Tordotcom • BookPage • Library Journal • Publishers Weekly
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.
Praise for Uprooted
“Uprooted has leapt forward to claim the title of Best Book I’ve Read Yet This Year. . . . Moving, heartbreaking, and thoroughly satisfying, Uprooted is the fantasy novel I feel I’ve been waiting a lifetime for. Clear your schedule before picking it up, because you won’t want to put it down.”—NPR
In this breathtaking departure from her Temeraire alternate history series, Novik drops readers into an instantly immersive Polish fairy tale. The so-called Dragon is actually a man a wizard who takes young women from a rural village as payment for protecting the region from the poisonous influence of the evil Wood. When Agnieszka is chosen to serve the Dragon for 10 years, she finds within herself a rare and incredible talent for magic. She is disaster prone and homesick, but nonetheless steps up to the role of heroine when the situation demands it. Soon, Agnieszka's fabulous journey expands to encompass a deadly quest, the terrible glamor of a royal court, a true and unbreakable friendship, and just a touch of romance. Novik's use of language is supremely skillful as she weaves a tale that is both elegantly grand and earthily humble, familiar as a Grimm fairy tale yet fresh, original, and totally irresistible. This will be a must-read for fantasy fans for years to come.
Beautiful story, Relatable Heroine You Want To Root For
I love the way the story is written, as though you’re an observer peeking in on this section of time. There are subtle threads of romance but the story is really about a woman coming into her own during a tough adventure. 10/10 would recommend！
Horrors, Wonders, Magic, and… but that would be telling
Naomi Novik has taken tales from Polish mythology and crafted an engrossing world. It is a hero’s journey; the hero is a young woman - Agnieszka - coming into her own as she discovers her own powers and the responsibilities that go with them.
Growing up with the ever present threat of The Wood, a source of malevolent magic, she is selected at age 17 to fulfill a tribute of 10 years of service to the powerful wizard whose task is to defend against it. She never expected to be chosen, nor did she know why she was - because the wizard realized she had magic ability of her own and needed to be trained.
The title of the tale is “Uprooted” because that is a recurring theme throughout. Agnieszka is uprooted from all the expectations she had had growing up as a peasant, but as she progresses through the story, a comparable overturning happens to all who come in contact with her.
Not least of all is the effect on her wizard mentor who finds both his understanding of magic and his own life overturned by her. And without giving away too much, the ultimate confrontation with the villain of the tale also defies expectations .
Novik has crafted a fine story with rich characters living in a well-realized world. It is a wonderful stand-alone work. There are - so far - no sequels and no prequels, although there is plenty of potential for more stories from the world Novik has put together.
I really got attached to the characters.