Uprooted by Naomi Novik | Book Review

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Rating: 2/5

Favourite Quote: “There’s no kindness in offering false hope”

Review: Uprooted was simply terrible. It had all the ingredients to make it wonderful; magic, witches, wizards and an enchanted forest full of horrible creatures. But all this falls flat and the author has somehow managed to make all these elements boring.

We’ve got the characters, all flat and boring. Agnieszka, our protagonist who claims to be ever so plain and ordinary, of course turns out to be ever so special. The usual. She faces no true hardships, easily overcomes everything thrown at her and goes through no character development at all. And what annoyed me most was that she never questioned anything! She never asked why am I here? What is my purpose?

Then there’s the Dragon. To him the girl he kidnapped is “tedious” and “horsefaced” (though SPOILER he has no problem with said horseface towards the end in one of the most unnecessary and out of place sex scenes ever). And worse he calls her an “idiot” for defending herself when a Prince tries to assault her. Asking her if she’d like to “try and persuade the King that your virtue was worth the life of his son”. The sexism then continues a few pages later when he asks her; “Don’t all peasant girls dream of Princes and ball gowns?”.

The rest of the characters are not worth mentioning. They’re almost like cardboard cut outs that follow Agnieszka around and are only there because at some point they will need to be saved or will have some problem that needs to be solved. None of them have a personality and they barely interact with Agnieszka or each other.

Then there’s the storyline. The author skips ahead a lot by saying “a week later” or “a few days passed” but then spends pages and pages describing surroundings in tedious detail. The following is an actual sentence from Uprooted: “Trees and brush overhung the water, willows trailing long weedy branches into the reeds that clustered thickly at the water’s edge, between the pale tangle of exposed tree roots against the wet dirt”. How is this sentence even allowed? It doesn’t move the story forward and doesn’t add to the current event being portrayed. It’s simply boring.

So basically Uprooted becomes this horrific mix of slow paced but technically faced paced. As if a child is trying to tell you a story with just the good bits but gets distracted constantly and goes off on a tangent.

Oh and don’t get me started on how the magic was written. It was either in great long sentences consisting of the most annoying made up language ever. Or it was vaguely brushed over and we’d just be told that Agnieszka was currently singing a song of magic. The words to these songs were never revealed and instead we’d be told how the magic felt or tasted or how it looked.

Overall nothing is really explained properly and I was left with a lot of unanswered questions. The characters were all miserable and one dimensional and didn’t interact enough. And the story was just one long winded bore, that consisted of different people being saved, and that was hard to force myself to finish. I would not recommend this to anyone.

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