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Naomi Novik - Uprooted (2015)

Very glad to pick this up in the Dealers Room at Novacon (from http://www.booksonthehill.co.uk) as it won the Nebula and was shortlisted for the Hugo.

Um. It's a perfectly good book and I enjoyed reading it.

I should stop there. It's not fair to pick at a perfectly good book about which I have no real complaints. But I find myself underwhelmed. I like Novik's Temeraire books for their consideration of multiple different kinds of engagement between humans and dragons, and was hoping for something like that in this book, but I didn't find anything.

Agnieszka, a simple country girl, aged seventeen, deals simply with her simple problems. After she is plucked from her childhood she grows into her magic, saves her friend, wins the war, finds her way home. The landscape is well-realised, people are nice (except when misguided), the magic system is charming, evil is sinister, messy attempts to deal with the evil well conveyed.

On reflection, I think the first person narrative is the problem for me. As a mode of writing it's supposed to provide immediacy and immersion, but focussed through Agnieszka's simplicity I felt detached from the action, and impatient with the characters.

Don't let me stop you reading this if young adult fantasy is your thing. It's perfectly fine. Really. Every age needs its high body count comfort reading.

Did this really win the Nebula? Against Ancillary Mercy? WTF?


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
22nd Nov, 2016 11:23 (UTC)
I really liked it but checking my reading book I see I read it in May along with a load of Dr Who so may have suited the need for escape from all the politics.
22nd Nov, 2016 16:32 (UTC)
I liked it in a non intense way but I felt much less involved with its characters than with Lawrence and Temeraire. I understand that some readers found the later Temeraire books rather too dark and that Novik was losing readers towards the end.
22nd Nov, 2016 16:50 (UTC)
I liked much of the book, but found the romance with the much (MUCH) older wizard teacher to be badly conceived. I think it would have been a stronger book if they had collaborated as teacher and student, and if he had gently disabused her of the notion as him as an appropriate partner.
1st Dec, 2016 01:37 (UTC)
I was unhappy with the May-December element disturbing, too. Part of it was wondering why did there have to be a romance at all? Argh.
22nd Nov, 2016 21:48 (UTC)
I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's the most Robin McKinley book I have read since Robin's last novel. I completely understand that you were hoping for something different.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


Caroline M

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