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Book Review| Uprooted by Naomi Novi

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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.

I received this book from my OTSP Secret Sister, though I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now. It’s always caught my eye when I walked into a bookstore, but I can be choosy when it comes to my fantasy books. I always heard great things about it, though, and now I know why. It took me a few days to really get into, but once school ended, I was really able to give myself to the book completely.


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The Woods: Novik uses The Woods in the common archetypal way: they’re the source of evil, a place where people go in but don’t come back out. Within literature, forests are places of the unknown. Nobody knows the origins of Novik’s Woods, or why the woods are magical. Woods are usually a place of transformation, which is a recurring theme between many different characters.
The “unknown” part of this can also be attributed to The Dragon, since the townsfolk know little to nothing about it.

Agnieszka: Taken by The Dragon, we soon find out she’s actually a witch, but she finds the spells The Dragon tries to teach her just don’t fit well with her. She’s your typical “main character” of our time; she isn’t beautiful or pretty, she’s constantly dirty; she doesn’t find herself “special”; she defies The Dragon often and can be pretty temperamental. However, being our main character, she easily fits into The Hero archetype, specifically that of The Initiate.

The Dragon: A powerful magician whose job is to protect many towns and provinces, his dislike for Agnieszka is immediate. He is constantly demeaning her; he scowls at her dirty clothes, yells at her when she can’t figure out a spell (and yells when she does), and he finds comfort in the orderly way magic is – until Agnieszka shows him otherwise. The best archetype I could find for him was the Evil Figure with the Ultimately Good Heart. We are introduced to The Dragon as a thief of young women, but the more we read, the more we learn about him.

Kasia: The ignored “chosen” girl, Kasia is constantly spoken about in high regards. Agnieszka finds her to be almost perfect; Kasia is braver, prettier, more talented, smarter – the list goes on. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER However, she’s captured by The Wood and is possessed by the evil within it. Before being taken by The Wood, she would fit more into the Platonic Ideal archetype. In fact, for most of the story she would. The only time she would fit into another archetype, The Creature of Nightmare, is when she’s possessed. The character who embodies the Creature of Nightmare throughout the book would be Queen Hannah/ The Wood-Queen.


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Uprooted was an enchanting novel filled with fascinating, complex characters, each one completely different from the next. The writing alone was spellbinding; each sentence pulled me deeper and deeper into the world Novik created. While there were a few city names I found difficult to pronounce, Novik kept the general world knowledge as a need-to-know basis. No map was needed, nor was a glossary. I did end up reading over the words used for spells rather than trying to sound them out; I know I would just butcher them, so I didn’t even bother.

If you’re a fan of fantasy, books that aren’t parts of trilogies, books with a hint of romance, complex characters and storylines that keep you questioning until the very end, I would highly recommend Uprooted.

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Aside

#OTSP Secret Sister Box 1

If you’re a bookworm who frequents Twitter or Instagram, you may have seen a lot of posts tagged #OTSPSecretSister. Created by Alyssa, Amy and Brittany, the Secret Sister Project is kind of like a Secret Santa, except it’s for 6 months out of the year and it’s focused on bookish folk. I first heard about it last year when I kept seeing a friend of mine (Lindsey, since I’m tagging everyone) posting all these pictures to Instragram and Twitter with the same tag. I looked into it and found out when the next sign ups would be, and then I signed up. Each month, you send a box (and some letters or postcards or whatever you want!) to your secret sister and, in return, a different sister sends you a box/cards/goodies. I’m not posting anything at all about the things I’ve gotten for my sister because I really want to try to stay as secret as possible. I usually hate surprises, but I’m not even trying to figure out who my sister is. I decided that I would share the box I received from my sister, partly to brag and partly to give people ideas at great little gifts. Below is a picture of the very first box my Secret Sister sent me!

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If you couldn’t tell by my blog name, I absolutely love flowers and floral designs. If I owned a house, 99.9% of all patterns in said house would be floral because I’m pretty much a 90-year-old woman in the body of a 23 year-old. When I opened my box and saw all the flowery floralness, I let out a huge squeal that scared my husband. I just love all of it. The thing with the pink flowers is actually a solar dancing flower and, unbeknownst to my Sister, I am effing obsessed with these things. Whenever I see them in people’s cars or in a window to a store, they just make me happy. They’re just dancing because they’re in the sun. You go little plastic flowers!

The notepads really come in useful at work. I work at our local Books A Million, so I’m surrounded by books on a daily basis. If something catches my eye, I write the title down so I don’t forget about it. By the end of the day, I have at least three to five scraps of paper to take home with me. Now, I can just use my handy dandy notebook! No more paper scraps for me!

I still need to find a place to put the decorative lights. I would love to put them near our desktop computer, but that’s kind of my husband’s spot and I don’t know how he’d feel about being surrounded by flowers. As for the sunflower, I think I’m going to plant it tomorrow (Aug. 22). I hope the weather is still good for it. Do you think I could keep it in the house? I’ll have to really look at the directions because I want it to last. The sunflower seeds are a healthy snack to go with my PCOS. I felt bad for my sister because it’s hard enough for me to try to eat/snack healthy, so buying stuff for another person based on the disease is a pain in the ass, I’m sure. She’s been wonderful and extremely supportive, though. I’ll probably scarf them down this weekend!

I can’t wait for the weather to get just a little chillier so I can wear my new scarf. It’s been insanely humid lately, so wearing anything more than a t-shirt is completely off the table. Once it cools down, I’ll be able to showcase my awesome flowery scarf!

 Go Set a Watchman was at the very bottom of the box and I was so damn excited for it! When I went for my BAM interview, I saw that I could get 40% off with my membership. I held off because I didn’t want to spend the money yet, figuring I’d be back anyway. I’m so glad I never bought it because it is such a great gift to receive. I have at least three books to read before I can get to GSaW, but I am so excited to read it. I’m terrified, because To Kill a Mockingbird was one of my favorite high school reads. I’m just going to take it as a completely different book and not let it ruin or change my opinion about characters I loved as a kid.

The Secret Sister Project is great for enforcing a book buying ban on yourself. After getting my box, I realized that I have a horrible problem with overbuying books. Now I’ll be able to refrain because I know my sister is doing her best to make these boxes great, and I don’t want to ruin it. Unfortunately, it’s so hard trying not to spend money on your own sister! I keep going over the $20 mark! Now with my new job, I’ll be able to save a good amount with my employee discount. Woo!

Have you heard about the Secret Sister Project before? If not, are you totally interested in it now?! Let me know in the comments below!

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