Uprooted Is A Fairy Tale for Adults, And A Very Good One Too

Uprooted is a stand alone fantasy novel from Naomi Novik, author of the Temeraire series. I never read Novik’s work before, so I read this novel without any expectation. And I love it! The novel really hooked me up from the very beginning. I finished this novel relatively fast, even faster from Shadow of Self, a novel by my favorite author. The story is just so engrossing, and took turns to places you wouldn’t predict. It is a very great experience reading this novel.

The story started off really similar to Beauty & the Beast. A girl ‘kidnapped’ by a mysterious wizard called the Dragon, and forced to live in a secluded tower with him. The Dragon was brass, arrogant, and rude. The girl was confused, lonely and afraid. Luckily, the story evolved fast. Soon enough, our hero, Agnieszka, could lift herself up from her misery. And from there onward, the story grew even bigger than our two main characters.

I think this novel is one of those novels that is really hard to pinpoint the exact genre. Sure it’s a fantasy novel. But is it like Game of Thrones? It did have some kingdom and court politics, but not too much. Is it like Mistborn or Kingkiller? It did have magic and fight scenes, but the fight didn’t feel like action-packed sequences as in Sanderson’s novel. It might be more similar to Gaiman’s novel in terms of its general creepyness of the form of “The Wood”, the main villain of the story. At times, it certainly felt like a horror novel. Especially with Novik’s vivid writing, you could easily visualize what’s happening, the atmosphere, and especially the feel.

Oh God, the FEEL. You feel so much when reading this novel. It’s difficult to explain, but the best I can do is, when Agnieszka was feeling desperate, scared, confused, or angry, you would feel them too. And I think that’s a sign of a great writing.

And the romance. Let’s talk a bit about the romance. As a guy, coming to this novel, I was afraid that the love story would be too Stockholm syndrome-ish, you know, because it started off like Beauty and the Beast. But my fear turned out to be unfounded. Agnieszka turned out into a very interesting and strong female character who could really drive the story (sometimes to the worse, not worse as in bad story, but worse to the characters :D). To be clear, there was romance in this novel, and it was quite important for the story. But the romance was never distracting; in fact, I actually quite enjoy it.

There is magic in this novel. I mean, literally; the Dragon was a wizard after all. The magic wasn’t really explained too much, so it’s more like Harry Potter’s magic. But what’s great was-this is may be predictable but SPOILER ALERT anyway- the style of magic that Agnieszka used. Her magic was.. very lyrical. It’s like watching someone who was making sketches, confusing at first but then after more strokes you finally could see what she was trying to make. And I think it’s awesome.

If I have one critic, it would be toward the end it gets a little cliché on nature vs men theme. I expected there was some out-of-the-head explanation for the main antagonist “The Wood”. Why it behaved as it did. But when the revelation finally came, it’s a bit underwhelming. We have been here before, is what I’m trying to say. However, I still think the ending was pretty good. And because it was a stand alone novel, the ending tied everything up quite nicely.

I really highly recommend this novel, especially if you like Gaiman’s work and was looking for a novel with a strong & interesting female character. I’m interested to read Novik’s Temeraire series, but my reading list was a bit full right now, so yeah, maybe some time.

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Originally published at anggakho.wordpress.com on February 24, 2016.

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