STORIES | Five stars to the book with evil and magic, a review of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted.

How did I feel about Naomi Novik’s Uprooted after finishing it? Well, let’s refer to my notes, shall we?

SO FUCKING GOOD! FIVE STARS! I finished with a huge ass smile on my face. I just, ahhh.

Hm… I’m not sure if that really encompasses my feelings. Let’s take a look at my Goodread’s review.


Is this book perfect? Not necessarily. But I loved every second of it.

Okay then. It seems my abbreviated thoughts on this book revolves around five stars and the word “fucking”. How professional of me.

Let’s dig a little deeper into why I love this book, shall we?

Warning: There is some mild spoilage below. Nothing that I would consider to ruin the plot of the book or anything like that, but if you want to go into it knowing only what the blurb reveals, you may want to turn back now or read the headings but nothing else.

Illustration of the Uprooted book with the text: "READ THIS BOOK!" by Asti Stenning

The unlikable but likable characters

I am a character-focused reader so of course I have to start by discussing the characters. And let me tell you, while I didn’t necessarily like the characters of Uprooted, I actually really loved them. 

Think about that a second. I didn’t like them but I loved them. Seriously, the fact that Novik could make that happen makes her a queen in my book.

You see, the characters definitely had their flaws. The girl who the story focuses on, Nieshka, was quite annoying and irritating at points with her defiant attitude and reckless actions. She was, in many ways, a Special Snowflake (warning for those who can’t stand the type) and though it was great seeing her stand up for herself and do things of her own accord, it would’ve been nice for her to think about the possible consequences of her actions before running into trouble at every possible moment.

And the Dragon? The guy who lives in a tower and kidnaps a girl from the nearby town once a decade? Well, he was definitely a cranky old man with no patience. There is no limit to the amount of verbal abuse he spews at Nieshka throughout the book and, really, it would’ve done him good at times to break himself free from his traditions.

But hey, you see all that? You see all these issues with these characters I had? I DIDN’T CARE!

Yeah, Nieshka was stupid at times, but it meant things kept happening! The book kept moving! There was always some nonsense going on because she couldn’t just leave well enough alone.

And sure, the Dragon was a bit of an ass, but I totally understood it! If some girl came in and totally disrupted my way of life after decades of doing what I have to do as the HBIC wizard of the land, I would be pissy and short-tempered with her as well.

For me, there was just a perfect balance for these characters to be unlikable but likable. They had their flaws (don’t we all?), but there was enough understanding on my part to still root them on.

And that’s not even getting into the other characters. Let’s just say for those of you who want strong friendships in a book: Kasia, Kasia, Kasia. I love that girl.

That magic stuff

Haha, come on, don’t you remember my Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them review? I’m a sucker for magic in stories.

I think my favorite thing about the magic in this story is how… evil it was. (That’s not surprising, huh?) I loved that The Woods was this mysterious place full of dark magic where people would disappear and the trees themselves couldn’t be trusted. And that even when the wizards used magic, it was often to fight (even at times against themselves). It didn’t seem like the magic was just used for the hell of it. It was ruthless and intimidating in many ways, and I think that’s a good thing.

I also liked the contrast that appeared between Nieshka’s and the Dragon’s magic. While it did make her seem a Special Snowflake in some ways, it was quite intriguing and I enjoyed reading about their different types of magic and how they melded together.

I’d say the only thing that didn’t work for me at times was the consequence of using magic. This was one of those stories in which using magic exhausts the wizard, with using it too much possibly resulting in death. And yet at times it seemed like the wizards were using magic after magic after magic with some minor fatigue but nothing as serious of a consequence as one would expect. I mean, obviously I don’t know the daily limit to a wizard’s power, but boy, were they put through a lot of work that seemed only to require a nap.

Oh, and I would’ve liked Baba Jaga to have made an appearance or for the book to have dived deeper into her story. I wanted to know more about her.

The bow-chicka-wow-wow

Lastly, let’s end this review with a word on the romance.

I am not a romance reader. I prefer stories without and will steer away if I know a book focuses heavily on the love with between two MCs. Luckily, this book isn’t like that.

Novik is sort of a tease. She gets you excited about the romance that takes place within this book, but then it pulls it apart… and then puts it back together… and then pulls it apart. I actually found myself disappointed when the romance was separated and excited to see what would come when reunited – such a rare thing for me!

There just seemed to be a perfect balance between allowing some intimacy to form between these characters without pulling away from the action of the story. Things happened, as things do, but they always turned back to the trouble at hand.

Plus the fact that neither character ever sacrificed their identities for the other? That they were both stubborn and did what they felt needed to be done without letting their love and affection for each other get in the way? I loved it. It’s much needed in many stories that I read.

(Though I will say wow, I’m not used to reading adult books. Some of those scenes were a bit intense… haha.)

So that’s it! My long ramble on Naomi Novik’s Uprooted is complete. Is it a perfect book? Not necessarily. It is sitting high on my favorites shelf? Absolutely. It’s a book it seems readers either love or hate, and this reader is definitely sitting pretty on the love side of things.

Plus, it’s got a pretty cover. (Well, the UK version anyways.) If you don’t buy the book for the story, at least enjoy it for the cover!

Let’s Chat

Have you read Uprooted? Let me know what you thought below! I’d love to know how our opinions contrast! And if you haven’t read it yet, do you think you will? What can I do to convince you it’d be a good life decision? Because it would be, promise. 

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9 thoughts on “STORIES | Five stars to the book with evil and magic, a review of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted.

  1. I weirdly didn’t love this as much as I thought I would…but I mean, I still loved it!! I ABSOLUTELY ADORED THE CREEPTASTIC FOREST. Omggg best evil trees of ever. I see so many books being like “ooh look at our evil forest” and having the lamest one ever. 😂 This SO delivered. I love it haha. I’ll just pretend I’m not lowkey sad that Dragon wasn’t actually a dragon.😂😂😂
    I’m so glad you enjoyed this one so much!! Your review was so epic. 😀


    1. YESSSS TO THE CREEPTASTIC FOREST! I think the best thing about it was just how intelligent the whole thing was. It wasn’t just some disturbing place that kids would disappear in. It had this whole system of how it trapped people and what it used them for and plans upon plans upon plans of how to destroy the world and it was SO GOOD!

      I’m sorry to hear you didn’t LOVE it though. And yeah, haha, maybe it would’ve been a little more exciting if Dragon was actually a dragon. I think I could love him a little more if that were the case 😉


  2. The UK version is gorgeous, and I’m sad I can no longer get a hardcover of it anymore. But I do very much like the UK paperback cover. But again, paperback.

    So I skimmed this because you mentioned spoilers and I’m like NO CHANCES. I like going into things super not knowing anything. BUT THAT LITTLE DRAWING OF THE COVER YOU DID THERE. SO CUTE. YOU ARE SO TALENTED. YOU PUT MY DRAWING SKILLS TO SHAME. (I mean my drawing skills are non-existent but you know what I mean)

    I’m so glad you loved this, and I really hope I have the chance to get my own copy of this soon 🙂


    1. It’s so bizarre to me how rare the UK hardcover is now. I’m assuming it’s just because the UK doesn’t do hardcovers that much to begin with that they don’t do a bunch of runs? I only picked it up when it was published because I loved that specific cover, didn’t realize it’d become a rarity!

      I just looked up the UK paperback and yeah, that one is good too (I still like it better than the US one). It’s a shame they didn’t stick with the original hardback one though because I think that’s still my fav and would look good even as a paperback. Silly publishers!

      Aw, thanks Valerie! Yes, skimming is definitely okay if you want to go in blind. Just know I loved it and I highly recommend you read it 😄


  3. I love your photos! I have a weird relationship with this book. I gave it 5 stars because I thought it was very well written, and I appreciated the feminist take on what is usually a very anti-feminist fairy tale. On the other hand, I didn’t actually enjoy the process of reading it. I’m used to speeding through books, and reading Uproot was such a struggle at times. (Part of the problem was that I was at my parents’ cabin, where I’m always exhausted and in a cloud of allergies.) Anyway, I’m glad you didn’t have that problem and were able to appreciate it fully. I also loved the friendship between Kasia and Neishka.


    1. Haha, I think it was the actual opposite for me! I’m so used to dragging through books these days and was shocked how once I got sucked into it I couldn’t stop reading! I mean, it still took me longer than most readers in the blogosphere but still, I actually went out of my way to pick it up which is uncommon for me.

      It’s interesting to me that you gave it five stars though! Something like that would’ve made me knock it down a star, even if I couldn’t tell it was necessarily the book’s fault or just me. Maybe that’s why I always seem like the critical one in my book club group. I hold nothing back when it comes to the book, even when it may not be it’s fault, haha.


      1. That’s the best kind of reading experience!

        I’m really not sure how much of it was that I felt it deserved 5 stars and how much was that I felt as if I *should* have loved it enough to give it 5 stars, you know? Maybe I’ll reread it some day and see what I think then. And I still don’t think it’s bad to be the critical one. 😛


  4. I read a good chunk of this book, but I WILL PICK IT BACK UP AGAIN SO WE CAN TALK ABOUT IT. I like the Dragon and I like Nieshka. I don’t know why I put the book down. I promise to keep on reading it again. PROMISE!!!


    1. Aw, it’s okay! It’s not for everyone and I don’t think it’s a particularly fast read. But yes, if you do need someone to talk to shoot me a message! My memory is always horrible so I may not be the best to talk details about but I’m good for just shouting things I love, haha.


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