Uprooted by Naomi Novik is one of those standalone fantasy stories you wish there was more of. Young Agnieszka lives in a village near an evil Wood that only exists to spread its dark corruption and send monsters out into the world. A wizard named the Dragon protects the valley from the Wood, but in exchange he takes one girl from the village every ten years. Agnieszka is sure that her friend Kasia, the most beautiful girl in the village, will be taken at the next Choosing. To everyone's surprise, however, Agnieszka is chosen instead and must go to live in the Dragon's tower for ten years. It is then that she begins to learn that the world is much more frightening and in much more danger than she had ever imagined.
One of my friends had raved about this book for months, and I was fairly hesitant at first to read it. When I picked it up, however, I read it in a total of three days. One of the most captivating things about this book is the feeling it gives you: it immediately transports you to that fairytale land of dragons and magic, but with its own twist. One aspect that surprised and delighted me was the originality of the antagonist. The villain of this story is a forest, something I have not seen before or since. It is something I had never thought could be so well done, but Novik literally and figuratively brings the Wood to life. In addition, the writing of this story was beautiful and very descriptive. Uprooted is, in short, spellbinding.
-Mariam, (Dusen)Berry Blogger and member of the River Teen Advisory Board