I am starting a new series titled Book Shelf. Here, I am writing about books I have read and loved, sharing some of the space on this blog for another passion of mine–reading. I am an English teacher by day, and in my classroom I give book talks to my students often, and I ask them to do the same. We share books we love and hold dear to our hearts, write about passages that resonate with us and challenge us, and discuss the author’s craft and the beauty of the written word. We’re cultivating a love of all things books, and it’s turning into a wonderful thing.
In my book club with fellow English teachers, we each get a turn at choosing a book for our club to read. My friend chose this one. Fantasy is not my favorite genre, (however, I feel the need for a disclaimer here, because The Hobbit is my ABSOLUTE favorite book and it’s fantasy), and I probably would not have chosen this on my own volition, but I found that I couldn’t put this book down from the moment I read the first sentence. Sooo…maybe fantasy is my genre.
Uprooted, by Naomi Novik, genre–fantasy
This novel is about a young woman named Agnieszka who is taken from her quaint village near the Wood, which is corrupted and evil, to live in the Dragon’s castle. The Dragon is a wizard who has protected her village for a century; he only asks every ten years for a young woman to be handed over, no questions asked–and he gets to choose. Nieshka, as she is fondly called by her friends, goes to the Dragon’s tower bravely, but soon finds out that she will prove more useful in saving her family and village from the evil Wood than she, or the Dragon, ever imagined.
I give this book a 9 out of 10. As I said earlier, I could not put it down. It is full of imagery and plot twists and turns. I lost many hours of sleep reading this book. However, I would suggest not reading the battle scenes right before you fall asleep. I had some weird dreams. There were a few confusing parts, and I found I had to go back and reread sections to try and sort out my confusion. (And in our book club, we had a fun discussion going over the few sections that I still didn’t understand.)
“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.
He doesn’t devour them really; it only feels that way. He takes a girl to his tower, and ten years later, he lets her go, but by then she’s someone different. Her clothes are too fine and she talks like a courtier and she’s been living alone with a man for ten years, so of course she’s ruined, even though the girls all say he never puts a hand on them. What else could they say? And that’s not the worst of it–after all, the Dragon gives them a purse full of silver for their dowry when he lets them go, so anyone would be happy to marry them, ruined or not. But they don’t want to marry anyone. They don’t want to stay at all.” (3-4)
See what I mean? Hooked.
Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. Enjoy! xoxo