Uprooted By Naomi Novik Book Review

Uprooted By Naomi Novik Book Review

Uprooted is a devious book. You begin reading it and suddenly find yourself hooked. So hooked that you think about it randomly, become a huge fan of the author, and you end up reading it multiple times.

Uprooted takes its roots from Polish fairytales. It’s not based on a particular tale, but takes the overall vibe of wonder and oddness and creates something new and amazing.

Uprooted Plot

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood. The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her. But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Uprooted Review

Who knew that a forest could be a super villain. I didn’t, but Novik sure did. The Wood in Uprooted is one of the main characters and it is creepy AF! It really immerses you in the darkness of old fairytales, where terrible things happen. And then somehow Novik makes you empathise with this entity that’s been doing horrible things!

All of Novik’s characters in Uprooted are unique, but Agnieska and The Dragon are my favourites. Agnieska is endearingly true to herself, with a fiery temperament and honesty of gaze. She sees things as they are, and somewhat naively speaks her mind. She’s odd and during the story learns that she’s odd, but then decides to just be odd.

The Dragon is an interesting hero. He’s always grumpy, and usually shouting at Agnieska for some weird quirk or idea. But Novik makes it an endearing grumpy. It’s like she drew all her characteristics from cats to create his character.

It’s a fast moving story. Novik doesn’t spend a lot of time on description and world building. It’s there, but she adds it cleverly into the action and relationships. I can easily get swept up into the pace of the book and read it in one go (or during a flight from Australia to Europe).

And each time I get to the end I’m always disappointed that it has finished. Novik ends it brilliantly, but I’d just be happy to stick around and read more Agnieska and Dragon interactions. Their romance doesn’t have much smouldering or sizzling, and they both seem quite surprised by it, but I still enjoy it a lot.


Uprooted is a reimagined Polish fairytale. The evil villain is dastardly and unique and the characters are pure genius. Get ready to lose yourself in it, and just be prepared to have this book live rent free in your head.

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