Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

uprooted

Let me first say that I don’t read fantasy novels. I think the last fantasy novel I read was the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when I was in middle school. I can’t say that I like or dislike fantasy novels…I never gravitate towards them when I browsing new books to read. I decided to read Uprooted because my coworkers were hyping it up; they told me that it was like Beauty and the Beast meets Rapunzel. That peaked my interests. The book also had great reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, so I downloaded it to my Kindle.

The Wood is this creepy place that should be  avoided. People and animals that wander into the Wood never come out; the ones that do come out are never the same. The Dragon is a very powerful wizard who protects the surrounding villages from the Wood. In exchange he takes a girl and keeps her in his tower for 10 year. When he releases the girls from his tower, they aren’t the same. They don’t go back to their home village; they move away to become scholars or marry rich.

Agnieszka is a 17 year old girl who is always dirty (even when she attempts to stay clean) and clumsy. Her best friend, Kasia, is perfect: she’s beautiful, smart, friendly, able to cook, clean etc. Everyone is sure that Kasia will be chosen by the Dragon. However, to everyone’s surprise, he takes Agnieszka.

This is all revealed in the first part of the book and Im sucked in! I want to know more about the Dragon and what’s going on in his tower and I want to know what lies within the Wood. Sadly, this story goes from mysterious and intriguing to downright disappointing.

There was no character development. Agnieszka is introduced as a girl who is clumsy and always covered in grim (she seems to prefer it). She doesnt grow or mature and remains whiny; everything she does is done on a whim, she doesn’t think anything through. The Dragon is just as dry. He’s Oscar the Grouch in wizard form. That’s all there is to him. He’s said to be the most powerful wizard in the land, but he seems to be the complete opposite! He does one or two spells and he’s drained and in the middle of a fight he had to pull out his damn spell book to find a spell! I was not impressed.  Kasia has no personality although she’s the only character who underwent any change. The other characters that are introduced are boring and flat.

The romance between Agnieszka and the Dragon was random. When he first took her, the Dragon tells Agnieszka “Look little bitch. I really didn’t want to take your dusty, horse-faced ass, but there is something unique about you. I took you because I was obligated to. Now get out my face, go wash your ass, and put on something nice.” He didn’t say those exact words, it’s just a summary. Throughout the book they cant stand each other. There is no love/hate kind of chemistry, there are no sparks; it’s just pure anger and annoyance between the two; they get along long enough to work together. Next thing you know, they’re laid up in bed together. WTF?! I didn’t see the purpose of it; it didn’t progress the story and it didn’t change her relationship with the Dragon.

I also found it difficult to keep up with time progression. The plot was all over the place,  I couldn’t tell how much time had passed (weeks, months, or a year). There was too much time spent describing surroundings and not enough time spent developing the characters and making sure the plot flowed smoothly. It’s way too much telling, not enough showing.

I think this book is very over hyped. I gave it 2 stars on Goodreads because I enjoyed the first part and the last few chapters were okay (the mystery of the Wood was revealed during the last chapters). As I mentioned, I don’t read fantasy, so maybe that’s why I found the book hard to digest? In any case, it just didn’t do it for me.

Also, I probably shouldn’t take book suggestions from my coworkers. . .

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