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.
I received an advance review copy from publisher via NetGalley. A HUGE thank you to NetGalley & the publisher for this opportunity to read and review.
“Uprooted” is a rich original fantasy with a fascinating magical system, an intriguing society/setting, an absorbing history, and complex enjoyable characters. The book flows quickly through the plot line, leaving very little breathing room between conflicts. I loved the adventure in the book.
This book walks that slippery slope between the banks of good and evil. Recognizing them isn’t always so easy. Part of the challenge is discovering where your loyalties lie and what drives you. Agnieszka sees horrible choices made by people who feel their reasons are justified. Choices do not come easily for the main characters, especially when faced with taking someone’s life to protect their own. There is a lot of questioning and thoughtful ruminations about what she’s being asked to do.
Agnieszka struggles throughout the book at being naturally good at something but in her own way. She does not follow the structured testing system - like so many children who struggle in public school systems who are incredibly talented and smart but in different ways than traditional testing.
I enjoyed Agnieszka’s paths to using her magic. I loved the metaphors and visualization of the processes she used to achieve her magical goals. I enjoyed the scenes when she had to blend her magic with Sarkan’s and how they had to grow together. I also loved the magical solutions to problems because they were never easy answers. They came through struggle and trial-and-error. They were intelligent answers to problems that seemed hopeless. Magic was never used as a tool to get easily out of a situation. It always came through learning and sacrifices. It was never simple.
I loved the different relationships, especially Agnieszka's and Kasia's friendship. The author is great at developing her characters by using relationships with people around them. I also very much enjoyed reading where Kasia’s character went in parallel to Agnieszka’s. They both had expectations on their lives when growing up, however, these ended up being vastly different from where their lives ended up. Acceptance and forgiveness of these differences was a well-written piece of their character growth. I liked the growth of Agnieszka’s and Sarkan’s relationship as well. In fact, I missed his presence when Agnieszka had to travel without him for a while. I felt the aloneness that Agnieszka was feeling when she was not with the Dragon in his tower.
I was enchanted by the ending of the book. While evil may be overcome in one sense, there are ripples of it that still need to be tended. Agnieszka’s work is far from over, but the ending for the wood queen and her people was beautiful in its emotional weight and its farther reaching implications. I loved the story behind the woods and its people. I loved how it all unraveled. I also loved how it paralleled what both the Dragon and Agnieszka were struggling with regarding being rooted to life while being isolated at the same time due to their differences from the community. There was a bittersweet beauty to the ending of the book that I loved.
I relished the narration of the book. The world, the characters, the mystery of the Woods, it was all fantastic. I loved how thoughtful the narration was. My only complaint is that there was a sex scene in the book. The cover gives it a young adult feel. However, I feel the situation was too mature for younger audiences. As an adult lover of fantasy/fairy-tale-like stories, I thought this was a wonderful book! Beautifully written and imagined.
Just released December 2016: "The Forgotten" volume 2 "Heir of the Heretic"
Reviewed and awarded the
2016 Indie Editor's Choice
by the Historical Novel Society.
Long listed for the Historical Novel Society 2017 Indie Award.
Goodreads profile at: https://www.goodreads.com/JElse