Our Dragon doesn't eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley.
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests, and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its evil at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years. Agnieszka is terrified when she is chosen, but she finds that the Dragon, the Wood, and magic itself are far more complicated than she ever thought...
I loved this gorgeous young adult fantasy steeped in the rich traditions of Eastern European folklore. The story quickly swept me up and I found myself absorbed in the tale of Agnieszka and the Dragon as they battled to keep the Wood at bay. I also really liked the quiet humour which underlaid the first person narrative. My only niggle was that there was so much crammed into the plot, especially in the last half of the book, that it felt a bit rushed. I wanted to both devour Uprooted in one sitting because I was desperate to know what happened next and also wanted to slow down and savour the story properly... definitely one for a future re-read!
At its heart, Uprooted is about the power of love; love may make you vulnerable and desperate at times, but the ties it creates are powerful.
Recommended For: Anyone who likes their YA fantasy full of folklore and magic
Read On: Spinning Silver is another retelling by Naomi Novik, as is To Kill a A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. Another tale of a malevolent and ancient forest aimed at adults is In The Night Wood by Dale Bailey.