After reading Uprooted for the second time this year, I still stand firmly behind my opinion that this novel is one of the best that I’ve read in the genre. This isn’t one of your innocent YA fantasies which are basically some ridiculous love triangle with a hint of something that resembles fantasy world-building.
The novel has length and the author has given much effort to world-building and the magic system. There’s a typical medieval setting with a bonus of blood, gore and scary stuff. The only thing that I would’ve appreciated more would be a map at the beginning to show us the true size of the corrupted Wood. Perhaps it was in editions other than the one I had.
The thing that I enjoyed the most was that the motivation our heroine for acting was her love for her best friend and her drive to save her. Agnieszka isn’t perfect and she admits to being jealous of Kasia. She isn’t a typical main character that can’t make mistakes. She makes them often but she takes the blame.
The author borrows a lot of her ideas from Slavic folklore, which isn’t very common in fiction. Other than vampires, the creatures from Slavic mythology aren’t very popular. Here we have a different version of the old story of Baba Yaga who is usually depicted as a fearsome witch with chicken legs and iron teeth. Here though, she is a powerful forest witch who helps people and whose spells and charms have a homely feel. Also, the names of all of the characters are Polish. Being Slavic myself it’s a refreshing sight after reading many western novels that have mostly Anglophone names and mythology.
Other than that, the writing style is very fluent and easy to read (even though the fact that the author used the word vomited more than I was comfortable with; I really hate that word) and I wasn’t able to notice any major plot holes. The characters were very lovable, if not relatable because there isn’t a lot of character growth.
The romantic relationship between Sarkan and Agnieszka wasn’t explored enough. It felt like the author added it to the story just because it was expected, as this is a retelling of the classic Beauty and the beast in a way, and not because she wanted them to fall in love.
There will be a film adaptation of Uprooted in the years to come and it will be produced by Ellen DeGeneres, which is pretty exciting.