I had two books in mind for my top pick of 2015, but Uprooted ultimately won because of its excellent portrayal of friendship between women and the earthy, old-world magical system utilized by protagonist Agnieszka. Novik's writing is always a delight; I wanted to savor the world she created for as long as possible. Recommended By Shannon B., Powells.com
For Agnieszka, getting chosen as tribute to serve the wizard Dragon in his remote castle is the worst fate that could happen to an ordinary village girl with a stubborn streak. But things only get more complicated when her best friend is taken by a creature from the nearby corrupt Woods, and some of Agnieszka's secrets, and powers, begin to surface. Recommended By Aubrey W., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Naomi Novik, author of the New York Times bestselling and
critically acclaimed Temeraire novels, introduces a bold new world
rooted in folk stories and legends, as elemental as a Grimm fairy tale.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories
they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers
passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and
he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and
immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and
kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us
against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the
bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full
of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep
its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one
young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as
terrible as falling to the Wood.
The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows — everyone
knows — that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave
Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and 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.
“Drawing on her Polish heritage and fairy-tale tropes, [Novik] has
penned an original and fully realized fantastical place guaranteed to
enthrall her longtime fans and attract new readers. This exceptional
fantasy for adult and teen readers should appeal to those who love
fairy-tale influenced stories such as Robin McKinley’s 'Spindle’s End.'” Library Journal (starred review)
“Breathtaking . . . [Novik] weaves a tale that is both elegantly grand
and earthily humble, familiar as a Grimm fairy tale yet fresh, original,
and totally irresistible. This will be a must-read for fantasy fans for
years to come.” Pubilshers Weekly (starred review)
“Novik takes us on a surprise-filled journey. . . . The resulting warmth
and intimacy provide a nicely nurturing environment for her heroine’s
unusual adventures.” The Seattle Times
“Novik here delivers a tale that is funny and fast-paced, laced with
hair-raising battle scenes and conspiracies; it also touches on deeper
ecological concerns we grapple with today.” The Washington Post
“A very enjoyable fantasy with the air of a modern classic . . . Naomi
Novik skillfully takes the fairy-tale-turned-bildungsroman structure of
her premise . . . and builds enough flesh on those bones to make a very
different animal. . . . The vivid characters around her also echo their
fairy-tale forebears, but are grounded in real-world ambivalence that
makes this book feel quietly mature, its world lived-in.” The New York Times Book Review
“Uprooted has leapt forward to claim the title of Best Book I’ve
Read Yet This Year. . . . Moving, heartbreaking, and thoroughly
satisfying, Uprooted is the fantasy novel I feel I’ve been
waiting a lifetime for. Clear your schedule before picking it up,
because you won’t want to put it down.” NPR
About the Author
Naomi Novik is the acclaimed author of His Majesty’s Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, Empire of Ivory, Victory of Eagles, Tongues of Serpents, Crucible of Gold, and Blood of Tyrants, the first eight volumes of the Temeraire series. She has been nominated for the Hugo Award and has won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, as well as the Locus Award for Best New Writer and the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel. She is also the author of the graphic novel Will Supervillains Be on the Final? Fascinated with both history and legends, Novik is a first-generation American raised on Polish fairy tales and stories of Baba Yaga. Her own adventures include pillaging degrees in English literature and computer science from various ivory towers, designing computer games, and helping to build the Archive of Our Own for fanfiction and other fanworks. Novik is a co-founder of the Organization for Transformative Works.
She lives in New York City with husband and Hard Case Crime founder Charles Ardai and their daughter, Evidence, surrounded by an excessive number of purring computers.