Uprooted

Uprooted - Naomi Novik Maybe 4.5? The only thing that kind of bothered (but not really) me was that Agnieszka was 'not like other girls'(TM) - and by 'bothered' I mean that there are so many books with heroines 'not like other girls' and it would be a nice change to once see a heroine who is just like other girls.

But then again, this is not Naomi Novik's fault, especially since she manages to sort of subvert the trope, making Agnieszka both 'worse' and 'better' than 'other girls' in certain ways and thus making her - guess what - just like other girls, which makes up a very clever writing.

Although belonging to YA sphere, Uprooted deals with rather dark themes that have thought-provoking real world parallels. Which is quite all right, after all teens, too, can very well see the problems of our time, so why not having them reflected in a work of fiction that challenges the readers' thinking.

If this was a story I had been told as a young girl, I would have most likely fancied myself as Agnieszka, mostly for her connection to nature which I very much used to feel myself. Or, put otherwise, Agnieszka felt like a kindred soul to me.

The characters in general, from Agnieszka and Sarkan to minor ones, are amazing. Novik depicts the characters and relationships between them in a way that feels authentic for a 17-year-old, not despite, but precisely because of Agnieszka's at times somewhat superficial, simplified, or idealised perception which changes and develops alongside the plot just as Agnieszka herself.

However, what I loved the most was the way this book is rooted (pun intended!) in Slavic folklore and mythology, which really spoke to my Slavic heart and made this book an absolutely fantastic fantasy read.