“From Root to Flower..”
Uprooted by Naomi Novik was such a gem to find! I don’t usually read this particular kind of fantasy book, however once my journey into this fantastic story had begun, I could not put the book down.
The story begins talking about Agnieszka, the main character, and the small town she lives in. Her town is bordered by corrupted woods that harbor creatures that lurk in dark shadows and capture the villagers that wander in too far to the woods. In order to hold the woods back from taking the entire village, every ten years a female must be given to the powerful wizard known as “The Dragon,” to serve him without question.
Agnieszka and Kasia are best friends and both know they will be in the dragons line up this year. They both know that the Dragon will be taking Kasia from their village, and Kasia’s family has made her spend her whole life training for when the Dragon would take her to his tower overshadowing the woods.
As the girls from the village line up, the Dragon walks coldly, assessing each as if picking the ripest fruit from the vine. As Agnieszka and Kaisa stand near each other, knowing that this will be the separation of their friendship for a decade to come, suddenly the Dragon stops, and life for Agneiska is forever changed as she has become the chosen one. Before there can be a stunned cry, Agnieszka is whisked off by the Dragon to his tower by a transport spell, and Agnesika is left sobbing and unsure and alone in the Dragon’s tower.
What Agnieszka finds is a cold, hardened wizard that sees her as she is, a clumsy, untrained, defiant girl. She drops things, and is always dirty from a spill or from wandering lost in her thoughts, all of which angers the Dragon. What Agnieszka did not know prior to being taken is that she is a powerful witch, just untrained and stubbornly willful. When her best friend Kaisa is taken by a creature from the woods, Agnieszka will do anything, including leaving the Dragon to save her childhood friend.
What results from this seemingly innocent gesture is a war that Agnieszka could not have foreseen setting off. From giant praying mantis like creatures, to “walkers”, to the evil in the wood using each captured soul as a means to gain power, a battle ensues for keeping the woods at bay. Throw in a captured Queen and her son now grown and looking to rescue her, and black “corruption” seething and worming through the bodies of those who enter the woods, and a power push for control of lands, you now have an EPIC fantasy read.
Being naive has a price, but can an all powerful wizard and the clumsy, hard headed witch he is trying to train be enough to fight the armies amassing all around them? What if the Queen, ensnared in a heart tree over 20 years, then rescued is no longer a Queen, but an extension of the woods? How did the woods become so corrupt? Can Agneiszka manage to stop warring countries as well as hold off the woods all while dealing with the grumpy, insensitive, brash wizard she is meant to live ten years with?
This is a definite must read fantasy book. This was such a refreshing change and the writing is absolutely amazing! This was definitely a 5 out of 5 star novel for me, and this was not my usual genre or preference. I am so glad I took the chance and read this novel by Naomi Novik and am going to look into her other dragon series and will let you know how that goes as well!
But for now my friends, go take a walk in the woods with Naomi Novik, and hope you too can get out Uprooted!