Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Year Release: 2015
Source: Library audiobook
|Listened to the audiobook
Content warning for body horror and parents slapping their children
Uprooted takes place in an Eastern-European world, much like Spinning Silver, but this time focuses on a young woman named Agnieszka who is chosen to live with the Dragon, a one-hundred-year-old magician, while a forest of brutal beauty and magic encroaches on the things she holds dear.
The relationship between Sarkan and Agnieszka rings to me more like Studio Ghibli’s interpretation of Howl and Sophie rather than a Hades and Persephone thing, which made it all the better. The way these reluctant housemates come to care for each other is particularly compelling. Moreover, I really liked how Agnieszka’s personality stayed consistent from start to finish, despite her proving herself a very capable magician herself. She’s still clumsy and loves her friends and family. That, for me, worked really well.
This world is clearly inspired by Poland and Russia, with international tensions that reminded me a lot of conflicts familiar to fairy tales. The way magic works and rebels against the world shared with both nobles and villagers alike felt particularly compelling to me.
Though much simpler in scope than Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik’s first fairy tale is a must-read for those who like enemies-to-lovers and watching people come together to take down a common enemy.