Date started: January 25, 2017
Date ended: February 19, 2017
I wanted to love this novel. I wanted this so badly. I did enjoy the book but I think there was so much hype leading up to actually picking up Uprooted that I was let down when the story wasn’t what I wanted or expected. This is not to say that I hated it but I ended up only liking it.
Firstly, I felt betrayed. I felt lied to because nothing was what it seemed. One of the main characters is called The Dragon so, in my mind I’m expecting a Smaug-like character was kidnapping these girls and terrorizing the villages if they disobeyed. Nope, this was not the case. The Dragon is just a man named Sarkan. Just a magician who doesn’t even shape-shift into dragon! Sadly, I felt that he was also the most dynamic character out of them all. The rest of the characters just felt flat and stereotypical except for him. But then he is just an insufferable asshole and Agnieszka still ends up falling for him! Uh, hard pass for me please. But he was the most dynamic character out of all of them.
The main character, Agnieszka, got on my nerves. There was nothing remarkable about her. She’s clumsy, unhygienic, and mousy. She does get a little stronger and feistier as the story continues but she wasn’t a standout character to me like I prefer my leading ladies to be. By the end of the book, I liked her okay, better than I did at the start, so there’s that.
The pacing of the plot was a little annoying. I felt like things were just rushed. Thing after thing kept happening, which is great thing normally, but these were minor issues. Throughout reading Uprooted, I felt that the real meat of the plot was being pushed to the back burner and then at the end the author was like oh shit and rushed to wrap everything up.
The pacing also leads into Novik’s writing style which annoyed me. Most stories and authors choose dialogue and action to force the plot forward. It’s a typical style for creative writing but not with this story. I was captivated at the beginning because of how the words created a picture in your head. Steadily as I continued, I realized that the author was more about TELLING the plot instead of SHOWING the plot. Meaning there wasn’t a ton of dialogue it was a lot of descriptions of what was happening.
At the end of the day, I liked the book. But it was a hyped up book from reviews and in my mind, and I feel that it just didn’t pan out. I loved some of the writing style because it read like a old fairy tale, but then it never went into being an action book or dialogue book. It reminded me of the first time I read The Illiad, it was more about telling the story, like telling a story out loud – all talk no action. I will look for more novels by Naomi Novik in the future, but will ignore the hype before reading it myself.