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Sweeping Fantasy | Book Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

If you haven’t heard of Uprooted, you don’t know what you’re missing!!

Book Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Goodreads | Amazon | Naomi Novik’s Website

uprooted naomi novik book review

Title & Author: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Genre: Young Adult – High Fantasy

Release Date: May 19, 2015

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Del Rey

How I Got the Book: Bought


““Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

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.”

Take Note

Uprooted is a book that wasn’t on my radar at all until I started seeing a few book Instagrammers saying this was their favorite book of the year so far. Once I learned it was from the epic adult fantasy writer Naomi Novik (His Majesty’s Dragons books) I was even MORE on board.

If there’s anything you should take away from this review it is these two pieces of information: 1. Uprooted is unlike any other YA fantasy out right now. 2. This book is most assuredly for hardcore fantasy lovers.

If that is enough to intrigue you, go forth and purchase. If not, read on. Or just read on because you want to humor me.

Uprooted is the type of story that you really have no idea where it will go. And let me tell you, from start to finish, Neishka, the main character, takes QUITE the journey. You look back at the end and think – wow, how did this story even START there?!

The Dragon is everything you think a dragon as a person would be: cold, grumpy and very old, i.e. set in his ways. Neishka, young, clumsy and disheveled, is always annoying the Dragon, which makes for humorous and frustrating and tensiony moments.

What I loved most about Uprooted is that there are so many different characters and storylines at play and yet they all weave together to create something bigger than expected.

Things take awhile to get where they need to go but I enjoyed the scenic route getting there. I will say that the middle dragged for me – Neishka takes a bit of a detour herself and that part of the story I skimmed at times.

There were also fighting scenes that were hard for me to follow, but I’m used to imagining a blur in my head during these times, so no harm, no foul there.

What I really DID want was more romance. There is definitely a smidge…enough to make sure I didn’t feel completely deprived, but not enough to make sure I was 100 percent satisfied.

Despite the last three things I just mentioned, I think Uprooted is such a different, special fantasy. How the magic plays out in the story was so interesting – things don’t work as planned which leaves so much room for awesomeness.

Plus, I feel like there is subtle feminism infused in the story, which makes me love Uprooted even more.


Uprooted is an empowering YA fantasy that doesn’t rely on romance (though there is a little) or predictable twists to make it interesting; it brings its own blend of magic, strength and beauty to its world. I recommend Uprooted for lovers of fantasy who desperately want a sweeping saga.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Kara Young Dickinson

    Uprooted was a great unexpected read for me too. It was such a complete book. I felt like I really took a journey and wasn’t rushed through. I found the friendship between girls so touching and the romance was believable, not forced.

  • Stephanie

    So glad you liked it! I really enjoyed it myself. I totally agree, the middle part dragged just a wee bit, and I really wanted a little more romance, but this is the type of fantasy that I so enjoy, and I was just happy to see something unique come out of all of the dystopian and contemporary ranks!