The Blurb (from Goodreads):
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.
But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.
Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver has my vote for one of the best reads of the year. As soon as I finished reading it, I ordered Uprooted, hoping for more of her vivid, spellbinding storytelling magic. I was not disappointed. Uprooted is just as brilliant – I tore through it in a single sitting, unable to put the book down. This is just how I love my fantasy – wondrous, intelligent, compulsive, and rooted deeply into the real (in this case, Polish folklore).
It’s impossible to explain the plot without spoiling it, so I’ll just let you know its about a young woman named Agnieszka who thinks she is very ordinary … until the day she is chosen by the local wizard to go and serve him in his isolated tower at the edge of the malevolent and sentient Wood.
Agnieszka is clumsy and shy, but also fiercely loyal and loving. She wants only to protect her friends and family, but finds herself drawn into a life-or-death struggle with the Wood itself, one which will leave her utterly changed.
Her work reminds me of some of my favourite fantasy writers – Robin McKinley, Juliet Marillier, Katherine Arden, Kim Wilkins and Lois McMaster Bujold. Utterly enchanting!