Learning from Using a Strong Female Lead in ‘Uprooted’

Author Naomi Novik

Uprooted header short

My book reviews contain no spoilers are not your typical book review — mainly made up of mindless ramblings of an avid reader.

Genre – Young adult fantasy

Book Blurb – The book blurb is different from most of the one’s I’ve read because it doesn’t provide much indication of what the book is about. Instead, the blurb gives backstory describing the society in which the protagonist is raised.  It describes the odd ritual that her and her friends are forced to take part in; a choosing that will change one of their lives forever.

First Line“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley.”

After I’ve finished a book, I love going back to reread the first line to see if it sets the tone for the book. And this one does. Misconceptions and misunderstandings, both natural and evilly induced, are the reasons for almost everything that occurs in this novel.

The story is written in first person point of view (POV) of the main character, Agnieszka (quite the mouthful), a seventeen year old girl. We get no insight into the thoughts of anyone else. This works well in a novel where she is thrust into a world that she knows nothing about, and the reader learns along with her. It keeps the interest of the reader up.

This is not a typical young adult fantasy; the romance does not take centre stage or dominate the protagonist’s thoughts. I enjoyed this aspect since it shows that boys and relationships are not the be all and end all of young women’s lives. She had more important and pressing things to worry about than someone she might have feelings for. I also loved that Agnieszka had a mind of her own and followed it, the hell with anyone’s disapproval.

As far as the fantasy aspect, I found the character’s solutions to challenges repetitive. I enjoy fantasy novels that challenge the characters to learn new ways of solving more and more complex puzzles.

Novik also uses an inordinate amount of colons — you know :  — in her writing. It took me out of the story several times because I was trying to figure out how she could have written the sentence differently. I don’t even know how to use a colon unless it is with a list. I never notice punctuation. Actually, you aren’t supposed to.

Overall, Uprooted is a solid book and I looked forward to reading it. As a stand alone novel, the ending was very satisfying. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy.


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