“There was a song in the forest, but it was a savage song, whispering of madness and tearing and rage.” – Agnieszka (Uprooted by Naomi Novik)
Uprooted was one of those new release, but bargain book table finds- I had wandered into the book store (as I often do), without any real purpose, other than to peruse the books in hopes that some new book would jump out with me. The old lady at this little bookstore near my university recognized me by this point (of course), and directed me to this book, happily discussing how much she had enjoyed it. Now, her advice had never been wrong in the past (it was her who recommended Queen of the Tearling, among other, to me), so I bought Uprooted on a whim. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I thoroughly enjoyed this little fairy tale of a novel, from start to finish.
The story follows the tale of Agnieszka, a “dragon-born” girl. As one of the dragon-born, she risks being chosen by the Dragon, the cold, driven wizard who is Lord of her valley home. One might think that the people of the valley would eventually refuse him, but the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the Dragon to keep its powers at bay, despite the price they must pay; one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years. The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka knows that the Dragon will take Kasia; her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her. But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose, but Agnieszka herself. What the Dragon sees in her, prompting her selection, launches Agnieszka into an entirely different world of magic, politics and danger, pushing her closer, not further, from the danger of the Wood. For it may be that only she can stop the advance of the malevolent powers of the Wood for good.