Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Book Review: "Uprooted" (Naomi Novik)

Imagine a world in which one characteristic of the landscape --- geographic or otherwise --- dominated your life: how you traveled, what you watched for when you stepped out your back door to do chores, how you had to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Even who you saw again, or not, depending on that landscape's whims.

For the vibrantly imagined characters in author Naomi Novik's masterful novel Uprooted, that characteristic is the Wood, a vast forested expanse that creeps ever closer to the beloved valley where protagonist Agnieszka has lived all her life, and the reality I've described in the previous paragraphs ... theirs.

According to her brief bio, Novik grew up on Polish fairy tales, and Uprooted is a stunning testament to that childhood. Crafted with all the same dedication, care, and detail as anything by the known greats of fairy tale-writing in other cultures --- the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen --- Uprooted absolutely deserves a place on your shelves.

The work is rife with fairy tale elements, from magical abilities and the oppressive, domineering force of the Wood to wizards and kingdoms and towers, in the best tradition of the fairy tale world with which most of us are likely familiar, thanks to Disney's renditions of long-beloved Grimm and Andersen tales.

I can't tell you how delighted I was as I devoured the novel, probably in the span of two days and certainly to the detriment of my other responsibilities, by the unexpected twists and turns, the beautifully rendered story world, the masterfully crafted characters, and the overarching fairy tale atmosphere, if that makes any sense.

As a result of my reading Uprooted, Novik has become a new top favorite author in my estimation, and her work has a prize position on my bookshelves. In a world of e-books and e-readers, I bypassed those editions and purchased hard copies, which is one of the highest honors I can afford an author today.

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Author: Naomi Novik
Title: Uprooted
ISBN: 978-0-8041-7903-4
Purchase here:

Disclaimer: The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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