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11 May 2015

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Set to be released on May 19th, I had the privilege of getting to read Naomi Novik's Uprooted early thanks to NetGalley. Of course, getting it for free has had no influence on how I feel about this book.
Every ten years the Dragon takes a 17 year old girl from the kingdom bordering the Wood and keeps them for ten years. Now, he isn't an actual dragon but a wizard who works for the king protecting the lands from the Wood. Everyone figures that this year he'll choose to take Kasia because she's beautiful and talented and brave -- all of the things that he typically seems to seek. Instead he chooses her best friend, Agnieszka, who is awkward and clumsy and has, as he puts it, "an unequaled gift for disaster."

Of course, not expecting to be chosen has thrown Agnieszka for a loop and it doesn't help at all that the Dragon is hyper-critical and not very nice about it. He works on teaching her little bits of magic (how to repair a cooking disaster, organize books, magically turn a ruined dress into an uncomfortable gown), calls her useless on a regular basis, and she avoids him as much as possible. Her one solace in the beginning is the fact that a previous girl has left notes hidden here and there with words of encouragement and wisdom.

As it turns out (as if often the case in fairytales), Agnieszka was the chosen one for a very specific reason -- one that exasperates both of them.

There's so much that I probably could say about this book, but won't.

I couldn't possibly do it justice.

It's been an incredible read with strong females and twists and turns and such vivid imagery and gorgeous use of language that one forgets that the setting and spells are all make-believe. It reminded me in some ways of a more grown-up Howl's Moving Castle ... and, of course, I LOVED that. It's still classified "Young Adult" -- though, "Young Adult" with a sex scene ... so if you don't want to deal with that, skip most of Chapter 27.

I'm hoping that this is the first in a series (not that I need another series to lose track of) because it was that delightful.

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