Monday, August 3, 2015

Book Review: UPROOTED by Naomi Novik

UprootedUprooted by Naomi Novik
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had never heard of Naomi Novik (award-winning author of the Temeraire series) before a neighbor recommended her latest book to me and my 14-year-old daughter. (If you hadn’t either, hooray, there’s more than one of us.) In her latest book, UPROOTED, Ms. Novik weaves the tale of Agnieszka (ag-NYESH-kah) who is uprooted from her home and, although she is the most unlikely candidate, goes on to try to save her village and her country from a horrible evil.

UPROOTED has hints of Harry Potter and Hunger Games with a dash of Pride and Prejudice, and like those books, it’s crafted with amazing writing. The author’s verse is every bit as enchanting as the magic it describes. The book focuses on the magic all around us if we only pay attention—the magic of the natural world. There are also hints of the Grimm fairy tales: the woods are a scary, dangerous place but also a place that deserves care and respect, which is where the heroine, Agnieszka, comes in.

Interestingly, you will not find UPROOTED in the Young Adult section, possibly because the author already has a reputation as a fantasy writer for adults. However, since the movie rights of the story have been purchased (by Ellen Degeneres, no less) UPROOTED is bound to end up on your young adult’s bookshelf sooner or later. In my opinion, it is much less violent, not as sad, and less adult-y than many YA novels. There is an attempted assault, but it is well-handled and not graphic. Romance does have a role in the story, but not enough to bother my 14-year-old daughter who won’t finish a book if lovey-dovey stuff looms too large in the plot.

UPROOTED is a highly enjoyable read, packed with adventure and amazing prose. By the end, you may wish that Novik had chosen to tease this entertaining tale into a few more books rather than just one novel that is over much too quickly.

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