source: galley from Random House
publication: May 19, 2015, Del Rey
I'm just going to do a mini-review of this one because there's not really much I can add to the myriad of fantasy authors who have already put their stamp of approval on this book.
Firstly, I think getting as many fantasy authors as they did to blurb this book was a bit of overkill. It ramped up my expectations too much—which, maybe, was my fault for being an easy mark, but still. None of this is to say I didn't like the book, because I did, but it dragged a bit for me, especially toward the end.
I absolutely loved the first half of Uprooted. I loved the character development and being able to see where Agnieszka might go in terms of her character and her power. I loved her friendship with Kasia and that comedically tense relationship she had with the Dragon at first. I loved that that relationship changed in nature but stayed the same, how the two of them grew to respect each other but still bickered, her stubbornness and smiles coming up against his obstinance and scowls. One reviewer on here complained about the Dragon's personality, but I found him entertaining and endearing (and their relationship is definitely not unhealthy. *eyeroll*). He is my kind of character, especially when paired with someone as indefatigable as Agnieszka.
All of this said, the second half of the book became a bit of a chore for me. I would put it down after a chapter and not pick it up again for a week. I can't tell you how many other books I finished while I was trying to get through the second half of this one. Maybe it's personal preference, but the secondary characters made this novel less enjoyable for me, and distracted me to the point where I didn't really know what was going on anymore. I would read entire pages and then have to read them again because I felt like my eyes had glazed over them without comprehending. Possibly the most frustrating part was that I knew how the book was going to end, and I almost didn't feel the need to find out how it would get there.
I really liked the magic in this story, how it felt so very tied to the land and the people. It almost seemed more like magical realism than high fantasy for me, which is why I feel like the political things got in the way—especially since I didn't care about the characters involved in the politics. Heavy political elements usually work in high fantasy novels, and I am all about it when characters I adore get swept up into such games, but I'm not so interested when it's about a prince who almost raped the main character. I don't care about who is king when, no matter what, he's going to be the kind of idiot who argues with an ancient wizard about the ancient magic that's coming to destroy his kingdom.
That's not to say they ruined the story; they just didn't help me connect with it. Which was fine, I guess, because I had no problem connecting with the other aspects of it. The writing is fantastic: beautiful and accessible at the same time, and again, Agnieszka is an awesome protagonist. The Dragon and Kasia—oh, Kasia, how do I love thee? let me count the ways—are just the kind of people a story like this needs.
Overall I would say this novel definitely recalls a more classic fantasy style, and if you're into any of the authors whose blurbs surely can't all fit on the cover, you'll love it. Come for the magic, stay for the main characters.