Alert: Gushing Ahead
Agnieszka is chosen by the Dragon to be with him for the next ten years. She wasn’t expecting to be the one chosen. Living on the edge of a corrupted Wood, Agnieszka loves to explore, and the Dragon always chooses the pretty ones, or the ones with skills. All Agnieszka knows is how to get dirty. But the Dragon requires one of the girls to be with him so he can protect the people from the Wood, and the people pay this price even if they don’t know what he does with the girls once he has them. But Agniezka isn’t like any of the other girls he has taken.
“We were of the valley. Born in the valley, of families planted too deep to leave even when they knew their daughter might be taken; raised in the valley, drinking of whatever power also fed the Wood.”
I loved Uprooted so damn much. It was written for me: it has an adorable romance with two people who have to learn to work together, it is a fairy tale retelling, and I actually got to see everything I wanted out of this book. I honestly couldn’t have asked for anything more.
I really love fairy tale retellings, but I don’t get to read them very often. Uprooted is based off of many things, all combined in only the best ways. We have elements of Beauty and the Beast, which most people will know. There are also a lot of elements of Baba Yaga, which has seen a sort of enlivenment in the last decade. Then, there is a lot drawn from Agnieszka Srawek Neiba (Agnieszka “Piece of the Sky”) by Natalia Gałczyńska, a tale that not many of us in the United States has likely ever heard of.
The lead character Is Agnieszka, and she is really not good at doing what other people want of her. She loves the outdoors, and she is constantly getting dirty. She is asynchronous at best with her magic. The magic everyone else can do fine she can’t do well at all and the kinds no one else can make happen, she can do with ease. She is headstrong. And she is awesome. I love her.
The “Dragon” in the tower, the wizard is… mule headed. Convinced he is right, stuck in his ways. Complete fucking jackass until he gets to know you as a person. Then, when he gets to know you, he is only a little bit of a jackass. He is the type that is never not going to be a jerk, but you’re going to love him and his jerky ways anyway. I know I did. His mule headedness is breathtakingly funny at times, because he just cannot get over things as they are. They have to conform to the way that he thinks they are supposed to be. And Agniezka doesn’t conform to the way he thinks things should be.
The relationship between Agnieszka and the Dragon is one of will they won’t they, so it is a slow burn. But I adored it. Agnieszka is constantly pushing the Dragon’s buttons. The Dragon is steadfast in his refusal to look at Agnieszka as a person. But Agnieszka knows what she wants – him. They’re perfect for each other in that way that only makes sense in books. It is cute, it is adorable, and it was all mine to read. I don’t think it would work in real life, but this is a fairytale, and fairytales are meant for happy endings, dang it!
The Wood next to where they live is an amazing storytelling tool. It is evil, and it is pervasive. It is the corruption at the heart of a forest. Something to fight against that isn’t other people, but uses people against each other. And people have willingly lived next to it. Including the Dragon. Including Agniezska and her family. I love it. It is very fairy tale. And I’m glad for the break of people fighting people.
Uprooted was my kind of book. I’m very glad I read it, and I’m glad I have amazing friends who would recommend it to me.