Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Every 7 years the wizard, the Dragon, takes one of the girls from Agnieska’s small village in exchange for protection of the wood. This year everyone knows that her best friend Kasia will be chosen. But when the time comes it’s Agnieska that is taken to serve the Dragon.
This is one of those books that is on my favorites list, but is so hard to say why without giving spoilers away. Let me just say before I really dive in that this book has a magical feeling that leaves you wishing for some hidden magic in the real world.
Everything about this story is slow pacing. There’s never a moment that we aren’t given the perfect amount of time to really get to know the world, the characters, and the overall story. I can see some people thinking that the book might be slow, but I fell in love with the creepy undertones that filter in as the story progresses. From the moment that Agnieska is chosen to serve the dragon, her fear of the unknown is completely palpable for me. The story is more or less about how she learns more about what it means to work for or with the Dragon and what the task entails. Through the story, she does step outside that role which makes it so much more about herself serving more than her dragon, but her home all together.
The romance in this book is such a slow burn, and is not even the focus of the book. It has such an underlying role that it sneaks up on you, and is woven into the plot seamlessly.
The World Building
You guys all know that Slavic inspiration is one of my favorites, so having this set in a magical world with those roots is always a drawing factor for me. Built upon that is this magical world that isn’t just spread out through everyone. I love that the wizard holds most of the magical elements in this story, it brought out a sort of reverence for his character and role within the world. I loved the limitations of the magic within this homely world.
Agnieska is one of my favorite heroines. I think it’s because she is so frustratingly simple and yet so stubborn. While she turns out to be special in her own way, her character doesn’t falter from start to finish as she grows with her character arc. She goes from this timid girl to this passionate girl who wants nothing but the best for her people and country. She grows from feeling insignificant in the shadow of her best friend to being a major player in saving everyone.
French for Rabbits – Goat