Agnieszka, which is a finger-twisting name to type, is a very particular girl with hidden talents and gifts. She has always known that her best friend, Kasia, is going to be taken by the Dragon, who is the most powerful wizard in the kingdom. But all of that changes the day Kasia isn't picked but Agnieszka is. From there, it is a wild adventure and Agnieszka has the most important role to play against the great evil of her world. She really rises to the call.
The Dragon, who is also known as Sarkan (though not frequently referred to by that name), is a very mysterious figure of great power and knowledge. To the villagers like Agnieszka and Kasia, he is distant, cold, and great, but he is also the protector and guardian and is the first line defender against the deadly and evil force called the "Woods." He is an intriguing character, and Naomi Novik crafts him well.
The only romance in UPROOTED is between Agnieszka and the Dragon. It is a very subtle romance. All of the signs are indeed there, and readers do have to dig into the subtext. Their magical relationship isn't overbearing on the story and plot, but it does have an excellent spot in the book and makes a good (and also fascinating) subplot.
The story is rather long, about four hundred pages or so. It can be split into two books and few would see the difference. Still, the pacing is perfect and the story flows smoothly. Transitions are great, and I barely notice any errors (if there are some). The world building may be rather confusing at some points, because the descriptions of the Woods are complex. I'll do my best to simplify it here. The Woods is a living, breathing forest of pure evil with the intent to harm others. It targets humans as their victims. Witches and wizards are its favorite victim (because of their power), though any human can probably do.
In conclusion, UPROOTED is an adventurous, wild, spellbinding, and magical journey of Agnieszka. It has a strong heroine with amazing and unique supporting characters. The villain, which is the Woods, is a character few can hate despite what it has done. The book is very addicting and fun, its magic somehow reaching into our world and corrupting me to read UPROOTED again. Please send someone to help me.
Rating: Five out of Five