My book group chose Uprooted by Naomi Novik as the January read and I’m so happy they did!
Agnieszka loves her village, set deep in a peaceful valley. But the nearby enchanted forest casts a shadow over her home. Many have been lost to the Wood and none return unchanged. The villagers depend on an ageless wizard, the Dragon, to protect them from the forest’s dark magic. However, his help comes at a terrible price. One young village woman must serve him for ten years, leaving all they value behind.
Agnieszka fears her dearest friend Kasia will be picked at the next choosing, for she’s everything Agnieszka is not – beautiful, graceful and brave. Yet when the Dragon comes, it’s not Kasia he takes.
Wow! Wow! Wow!
I loved this book from the very first page and didn’t want it to end. It’s the first book I’ve read by Namoi Novik and she is definitely an author I will be looking to read more of. As I stated above this was a book group choice and we had the biggest turnout ever for it (about 20 of us). Some loved it like me, some had a few issues but they all seemed to have enjoyed it.
Uprooted is a very easy read, the type of book you can devour in a day given the opportunity. I tried to stretch out the reading to savour it, but there were very few breaks in scenes so once I started reading, the book has its hooks in me and refused to let go.
This is a standalone novel, and I felt it worked perfectly as one. The title works on several levels and I love the simple, but brilliant cover design.
The magic was beautifully imagined; it was the star of the book for me. The woods were genuinely creepy and their menace was felt throughout the story.
The only downside for me was that I didn’t feel an emotional connection with the characters. I liked them, rooted for them, but was not immersed in the characters as much as I was their story.
A few times I felt Agnieszka was a little too naïve. She also discovered the means to defeat the enemy too easily. Her magic’s instinctive yes, but sometimes it felt a little too convenient.
This doesn’t detract from a masterful story. I will be recommending this book to everyone and can’t wait to read it again.
5 epic stars
Have you read it, and if so what did you think?
A question for readers and writers:
This is the second book I’ve read this year that uses very few scene breaks. The action flows along so smoothly and without pause that even if you want to stop reading you can’t. I always thought shorter scenes with cliff hanger endings were the best way to hook your reader and keep them engaged. But those breaks do give the reader a chance to put the book down.
I want to know what you think about the two different techniques. What do you apply to your writing? And readers, which type of books do you prefer?