Uprooted | Naomi Novik
About the Author
Naomi Novik is an avid reader and a fan of fantasy novels herself. She gave up her career in programming to become an author. She is well known for her Temeraire fantasy series. “Uprooted” won the Nebula Award for Best Novel and the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel in 2016. This is a stand alone book. The narrative is engaging and mysterious through out.
Uprooted is the story of a simple village girl who is put through unsual situations. Agneiszka loved her family and the simple life she had in Dvernik. The village folk, the familiar forest and her dear friend Kasia was her life. But there was the danger of the Wood lurking around. It carried mysterious powers and troubles from within. In exchange of his services to shield the people from harm’s way, their lord the cold and distant Dragon demanded a heavy price. A village girl to serve him every ten years. When the year of choosing came, Agneiszka feared for her nearly perfect friend Kasia. It was the distinguished ones the Dragon chose. Never the ordinary. And Agneiszka was nothing but ordinary, or so she thought. When the day of choosing came, Agneiszka woke up to a harsh reality around and her life was never the same again.
I came to know about this book via a Booktuber. I have read fantasy books before but never have I ever read a book about magic and witchcraft. I know, how could that be? I confess. I haven’t read Harry Potter series. It happens people. Such a clan exists!
Coming back to Uprooted, going by the title and the cover, I assumed it was a different version of the Beauty and the Beast. It certainly had that enchanting vibe to it. As the story progresses, we find it to be more about witches and wizards and their struggle for power. Neishka’s adventurous journey from a wild village girl to a powerful witch meddling with royal affairs is an incredible one.
If you haven’t read the book yet, I suggest you go back. Complete the book and then proceed from here on.
The intial premise is not something you can identify with. Yet, after a few chapters you may find yourself invested in the affairs of Polnya, Rosnya and Dvernik. The hardest part is over for the writer here. Now you are a part of the journey along with Neishka, Kasia and Sarkan, the Dragon. In the middle, the plot shifts into becoming a royal drama as well as a thriller. For a moment, I had the feeling that Queen Hanna was a red herring. I suspected anyone other than her to be corrupted and was disappointed when it turned out otherwise. However, the book made it up by placing much bigger twists than that. In the end we find out that the story is not what it seems to be.
I read the book a few days after the deluge in Kerala. Perhaps that is one reason why the powerful imagery in the book struck a chord with me. I won’t argue if you say I am projecting this.
“They learned the wrong things”
Such a simple sentence with so much deeper meaning. It was then I realised that this was not just another fantasy book. Humans lived in harmony with nature and then they learned all the wrong things and started conquering it. Nature in its fury, is trying to destroy the humans to defend its home. It could only end if we make amends with the Wood or only one of us remains in the end. There is no message more relevant than this in today’s world. No wonder, the book won all those awards.
At times, the description of magic seems a bit vague and uncomfortable to me. Like I said, I haven’t read many books using spells and magic. That might be it. Although at crucial times,the magic is described in detail well enough to keep the reader interested. Overall, it is a mystical and enchanting read!!
You can find the book here : Amazon Books_Uprooted