Saturday, January 18, 2020

Review: UPROOTED by Naomi Novik

Rating: 2/5 stars

I wanted to love this book so much; I genuinely thought it would be my new favorite book. But unfortunately I found myself very distanced from the story and not enjoying the plot as much as I thought I would.

The synopsis on the back sounds interesting, but I quickly discovered the synopsis comprises only the first chapter of the book and I had no idea what the rest of the story was about. I kind of expected Agnieszka and the Dragon to just stay in his house practicing magic the whole time and fall in love, but instead they left to go into the Woods a bunch and then the Prince came, and there were some court politics, and some other people got involved, etc. and basically it wasn’t at all how I expected it to go.

But on top of that, I felt like the story was very slow and I found myself not really enjoying what I was reading. Like I said, I really wanted to love this book, but after about 40% though, I had to stop lying to myself and just admit that I was bored...

Plus I’m not sure who any of the characters were besides Agnieszka, Kasia, the Dragon, and Prince Marek; everyone else blended together to me and I didn’t care about anyone. Same with the towns. We desperately needed a map or something because every time a new town was mentioned, I just glazed over it because I had no idea where anything was or why it was important.

The more I read, the more detached I became from the story and the characters. I didn’t like how the magic worked and found it to be messily structured but also repetitive. Agnieszka constantly uses the same spells over and over so I felt like we saw no progression in her learning magic. Also, I really didn’t like how the relationship between Agnieszka and Sarkan developed and I thought it felt very contrived, especially later on in the story. This is the first time I remember ever not loving the protagonists’ relationship in a book, and I was disappointed by that. I was actually cringing during some of their scenes together because they just didn’t work at all and he was so rude to her that I couldn’t figure out why she liked him in the first place.

Uprooted has one of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen and its description sounded like something I’d normally love, but almost every part of this book didn’t work for me. The beginning really was the only portion I enjoyed. I read The Near Witch last year, and that book turned out to be exactly what I thought Uprooted would be as far as atmosphere and magic quality and character development go. It was a fairytale-esque story that felt ethereal and beautiful and was about a girl going into the evil forest to save someone, but it did everything right.

I know Uprooted is beloved by many, and I genuinely wish I loved it as much as I loved The Near Witch and had the same experience reading it as everyone else, but that’s just not the case, sadly. I still want to give Naomi Novik a chance though and read Spinning Silver and His Majesty's Dragon, so I hope those books work out better for me than Uprooted did.

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