Rating: 4.5 Stars
Published: June 2015
“Magic was singing in me, through me; I felt the murmur of his power singing back that same song.”
Dvernik is a town in the valley of Polyna. Agneizka loves her home, she has roots there. But always known that her best friend, Kasia, would be taken by the Dragon. Every 10 years, the Dragon, named Sarkan, takes a girl from the valley, no one knows why. This is no ordinary dragon, he is a wizard would lives in a tower and protects the valley from The Wood. The Wood is alive. It has a strange sort of magic and it preys on the people of the valley. Kasia wasn’t taken by the Dragon like everyone though, instead, he chose Agneiszka (Ahg-nee-esh-kah).
There’s hints of Polish culture throughout the novel, I love the entwining of that and fantasy/ modern fairy tale. It really reads like a fairy tale. It’s more detailed, sure, but it feels like I’m reading some tale written long ago.
I knew practically nothing about this book when I picked it up at the bookstore. I just thought it looked interesting and I loved the idea of an Eastern European setting. I’m part Polish (mostly Lithuanian) so it’s fascinating to read for me. I loved the mention of raguolis, though, I didn’t realize that Poles had a version of it, too. (Side note: in Lithuanian, it’s either called a sakotis, which means branched or a raguolis which means spiked. And that’s really how it’s made. The dough is poured over a spit, it’s really fascinating to see made. There can be some pretty tall cakes, too.)
“Kasia would be rolling the beautiful fine senkach cake on its spindle before the fireplace, pouring on the next layer of butter at each turn to make the pine-tree spikes.”
I love the detail about the magic, how intimate it can be when shared. How much a part of you it is. I love that Sarkan is in uncharted territory. Neiszhka is showing Sarkan things that he could never comprehend. Jaga was some mystical force that was supposedly only a story. But she followed suite. She learned about magic in an unconventional way, a way that Sarkan never believed in. But she made him believe and open his eyes up to entirely new possibilities. Together, they changed how to save the world. That’s the best relationship; when you can show each other something new.
“He looked at me, baffled and for the first time uncertain, as though he had stumbled into something, unprepared. His long narrow hands were cradled around mine, both of us holding the rose together. Magic was singing in me, through me; I felt the murmur of his power singing back that same song. I was abruptly too hot, and strangely conscious of myself. I pulled my hands free. “
The language rolled around on my tongue and spun stories in my head. I could picture magic in the old country. The story languished. It took it’s time. I couldn’t see where it was going but I enjoyed the scenery. It was nice not to be able to tell exactly how it would play out.
The book was almost a character study. A lot of detail was given to the many characters and I loved that. Kasia and Neiszka’s friendship is beautiful, simple, and perfect. They protect each other. They hope. Sarkan is great. The court is complicated. The villagers in the valley are superstitious and protective of their people.
I love the words that were used for the spells. They roll off your tongue and sound like they could actually work. katboru, vanastalem, fulmia, irronar, lirrintalem. The scenes with magic with enchanting, especially the illusion of the rose that Neiszka & Sarkan cast together. The magic that Neiszka has is organic. She makes it seem real.
I like when feelings sneak up on you. Slowly, you’re unguarded and you don’t even notice it. Then it’s there and you realize how right it is. There was something so terribly satisfying about page 353. The build up was wonderful.
“If you don’t want a man dead, don’t bludgeon him over the head repeatedly.”
Over all, Uprooted was beautiful. It was different. It was slow. It was one of a kind and I’m so glad I read it.