Uprooted by Naomi Novik: A Modern Day Fairytale

This story reminds me of The Hobbit in style and Into The Woods in storytelling skill. It’s the kind of tale that tucks you in at bedtime. The classic coming of age, good versus evil, magic and malevolence storyline that makes me smile and wish for the nights spent reading with a flashlight under my blanket because I wanted to read instead of sleep.

When I finished with Uprooted I wanted to pick it up and start reading all over again, which is rare for me. It takes a lot to make me want to stay in a world when there are so many others waiting to be explored. I originally selected this book because I liked the cover and I will read just about anything. I hadn’t heard of Naomi Novik’s popular Temeraire series (which is now on my to read list). However, when Lev Grossman, Cassandra Clare and Tamora Pierce all vote yes to a book that is a pretty good sign.

Novik is able to take classic young adult tropes and help you time travel, back to being a teenager, your first love, a glorious moment of triumph. Yes, Agnieska is your usual YA heroine. She has the prettier best friend, the secret talent, and self-doubt for miles, but her clumsiness is endearing and when she stands up for herself you want to shout for joy with your inner child. My Polish roots make me love this character even more because the story itself is inspired by a Polish fairytale. Novik shows you this through her description of village life, a simpler time, a place where people loved the land they worked.

I am usually all jokes and side comments, but I cannot joke about this book. It really affected me in a way that YA literature rarely does. Unlike the other run-of-the-mill YA books out there, this one has earned the right to be called literature for me. I loved it pure and simple.

Guys, it even managed to pull out a really good plot twist that would only be obvious to a savvy reader.

Agnieska’s trials and successes are the reader’s trials and successes because Novik has the heartrending skill of showing emotion with her word choice. When Agnieska fell in love, I fell in love, even in spite of the obvious problems with her boyfriend choice.

And then there is The Wood. The best villains are ones with a unique backstory, a personal quest, and a redeeming characteristic and The Wood not only has these things but also a deeper complexity. By the conclusion of this story you learn to appreciate The Wood and accept this amorphous concept as a character in it’s own right. It is a glorious thing to have a complex antagonist that plies for sympathy and fear.

I loved this book so much I even loved the epilogue. Five bright, shiny, glittery, gigantic stars to Uprooted.

Procrastination and a touch of Serious Face,
The Red Queen

P.S. Did you get the sense I really loved this book? The End.

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