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Heidi Hart

By day, I'm a domestic violence prosecutor. By night, I read romance to restore my faith in love, relationships, and humanity in general. 

"Uprooted" by Naomi Novik

Uprooted - Naomi Novik

I'm very conflicted about this book. I had heard great things about it, and when I started it, it was immediately clear why so many readers sing its praises. It's beautifully written, and the Wood is the most chilling, most disturbing, and most imaginative villain I've ever encountered in literature. I also loved the bond between the narrator/heroine/Chosen One Agnieszka and her best friend Kasia, which is the central relationship in the story. (This book easily passes the Bechdel Test.)


And yet, as I read, I developed some serious reservations that lead me to warn that this book is not for everyone. First, it's pretty gruesome and violent. That doesn't bother some readers as much as it bothers me. It wasn't gratuitously violent, and the violence was in keeping with the plot, but it was disturbing enough that I couldn't read this book before bed -- and since bedtime is when I do the lion's share of my reading, it took me about five times as long to read Uprooted as it usually takes me to read a book of this size. That always reduces my enjoyment a little, because the more I have to stop and start, the more disjointed the reading experience feels.


The second thing that really, really bothered me, was the "romance" aspect between 17-year-old Agnieszka, and the Dragon, the centuries old wizard who takes a 17-year-old girl as a servant every decade. Because of the age difference and the vastly differential power dynamic between the two of them, the physical aspect of their relationship was super squicky and inappropriate. It also wasn't very believable or compelling. The Dragon was grumpy old goat, and Agnieszka could have admired his wisdom and guidance without wanting to get in his pants.