Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Every ten years, a local wizard, Dragon, takes a seventeen-year-old girl (the most special girl from that age class), and keeps her for ten years. He releases her with a good amount of silver, and usually, the girl stays in her home village for only a short while before going to a larger city. The villagers give girls to Dragon, as he is the only one who is able to keep the influence of a nearby forest in check. The forest is evil, and everything that comes from there is corrupted and changed. Even pollen brought by wind causes plants to bear fruits that are deadly dangerous.
Agnieszka will be among the girls Dragon chooses as his companion. She might be selected. She and her parents aren’t very afraid, though. She is pretty plain and extremely clumsy, always with a dirty face and torn hem. Her best friend, Kasia, is the most beautiful and smart girl in the village, with wonderful grace, and everyone is sure that she will be the one picked. To everyone’s surprise, Dragon picks Agnieszka. Life in the castle seems pretty grim at first, but it turns out that Agnieszka is a witch who wasn’t aware of her abilities. Dragon tries to teach her, but with poor results, as she doesn’t seem to really grasp the kind of magic Dragon uses. But there might be other styles of magic…
A pretty good book, especially the beginning. The later parts, with more action, weren’t as good, but this was a very worthy and enjoyable book with a very interesting take on magic. The writing was also top-notch. And what was especially nice was that this book told a story. There might be other adventures for Agnieszka, but this story was finished pretty completely and satisfyingly. You don’t always need a trilogy with four parts and 5,000 pages to tell a fantasy tale. This will probably place pretty highly on my voting list.

438 pp.

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