From the moment I saw Uprooted I couldn’t help but think “that looks like my kind of book” but like many other books I see and like the look of I knew it was one I wouldn’t get round to reading any time. Uprooted was going to be one for the ‘tsundoku’ pile. Not too long after its paperback release and number of friends and colleagues kept going on about Uprooted. So another few months past and it got to January 2017 and I was deep in a reading binge, what better time to start Uprooted?
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started Noami Novik’s novel, it’d been ages since I’d read (and enjoyed) a full on fantasy book. I tend to lean towards fantasy that has its roots in reality. I didn’t read the blurb of Uprooted but kept in mind all the people who had recommended it.
I was tired when I started this book, I wasn’t sure if i was in the right mind for to start a book in which I was so unfamiliar with the author. It had been a long day at work, my daughter was poorly and I was read to settle in with an episode of Fleabag. It took me a little while to get into Uprooted. The novel starts with Agnieszka being chosen by a sorcerer called The Dragon to be his servant for ten years. Being taken away from her friends, family and the village that she loves, Agnieszka is distraught especially when everyone thought her best friend Kasia was certain to be taken by the Dragon.
Agineszka is a fantastic leading lady, she’s a bit of a mess, scrappy and but she’s strong willed and you can tell she determined. She’s not necessarily book-smart but makes up with common sense.
Novik’s writing is so enjoyable, its fluid, fairytale-like and way more engaging than I was expecting. I was roaring through this novel and the evening I started this I found myself 100 pages in and fully invested. It was the first proper fantasy novel I’d really sunk my teeth into since Lyonesse.
When I was about half way through Uprooted was bringing back all the memories of the fantasies I’d enjoyed when I was younger like Kyou Kara Maoh, Howl’s Moving Castle and Ink Heart.
The last quarter of the novel includes a dramatic fantasy battle and Novik’s writing is so good, she’s stops it from getting too OTT fantasy. The writing had me thinking of the sort of believable fairytale like The Bloody Chamber in some parts and sometimes felt like I was reading a grown up version of Diana Wynnne Jones’ work.
The ending of Uprooted was ace and left feeling warm and satisfied. I enjoyed Uprooted so much and it’s an amazing bit of escapism. Agineszka reminded me of Lyra from His Dark materials by the end and The Dragon was so mysterious at the start so when the book reaches its conclusion I was captivated.