In some ways, Uprooted is a very typical fantasy novel. The heroine lives in a village where every 10 years the local wizard Dragon takes a village girl, and keeps her for 10 years. The wizards protects the village from The Woods which is full of evil spirits and general badness. The girls are allowed to leave after 10 years with enough money to support herself for a long time, and always say he never laid a hand on them. When the girl leaves though, she does not go home to the village. Agnieszka was born in year where she would be part of the group presented to Dragon, but she’s not too worried because everyone is sure he’ll take Kasia, Miss Perfect and Agnieszka’s best friend (it helps if you’ve been exposed to Polish names and general mythology). As expected, things don’t go as expected and he takes Agnieszka. There are problems at first, but our heroine soon recognizes that Dragon, aka Sarkan, is not really that bad. When Prince Marek shows up, the adventure begins. Agnieszka learns magic, goes to the royal court, saves the day a few times including rescuing Kasia from The Woods, and eventually she and Sarkan confront the core problem that has caused The Woods to be such a menace for so long.
I can understand why this book has gotten the rave reviews that it has. It’s a fun story because, although the general plot is not new, the twists and turns along the way are interesting and unique. The supporting characters are some of my favorites, especially Alosha, Stanek, and Solya. I wish all three of these characters had gotten more attention and a little more depth.
What I didn’t like as much was how the love story was handled, and number of times Agnieszka’s intuition suddenly kicks in to answer a major question or solve a problem. There are several times where she either has a sudden realization or a random idea that just happens to be a solution to the present problem. The love story is not unexpected but the way it is presented suggests that the 2 characters involved are only attracted to each other because of having just combined their magic to pull off a major spell. Yes, it’s easy enough to see how else the love could have started based on standards plot and character traits, but without a little more exploration of the personal relationship before the magic draws them to each other physically, it seems forced and without much basis.
Overall, it’s a fun, easy read.