Many fairy tales involve the woods, often warning young children to stay away because bad things like monsters dwell there. But what if the woods itself was the actual monster? That’s what Naomi Novik explores in Uprooted. Sure, there are a few traditional monsters ready to drag you kicking and screaming into her malevolent Woods. But it’s not just the monsters that you need to worry about – the very trees are out to get you!
Luckily for the people of the Valley, there’s a powerful wizard who keeps the Woods at bay. All he demands in return is one girl from the Valley to serve him unquestioning for ten years. When the time comes for him to choose another girl, everyone knows he’s going to choose Agnieszka’s best friend, Kasia. Kasia is the bravest, most beautiful girl in the Valley. But when the time comes, it isn’t Kasia who the wizard chooses. Agnieszka gets whisked away to the wizard’s tower without even a moment to say goodbye to her family. Agnieszka knows she isn’t brave like Kasia is; how will she deal with ten years serving the wizard?
One of the best things about Uprooted is that the book constantly changes. The summary I just gave you is basically what’s on the back of the book. But Uprooted is so much more than the simple fairy tale it starts out as – you’ll never know what to expect next (especially from Agnieszka, who manages to quite literally break all the rules)! And you don’t have to just take my word for how great Uprooted is: it’s won multiple awards in 2016 including the Nebula Award for Best Novel and the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel.
Shauna Kosoris is a member of the Thunder Bay Public Library staff.