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Uprooted, by Naomi Novik

This has been widely tipped as a potential Hugo finalist, and among the BSFA long list was second on both Goodreads and LibraryThing by number of owners, topping my statistics overall. I am not sure that it will go all the way. I generally liked it - it's very well rooted in its home culture, which in this case unusually is Poland, the creepy horror of the ancient forest and evil tree magic is very well done, and the narrator is well-drawn (there's a particularly good couple of chapters where she as a country girl tries to fit into court life in the capital city). But I felt it fell down by relying heavily on two particular YA cliches: first, the narrator, plucked from obscurity to serve in the castle of the local wizard, turns out to be unexpectedly gifted; and second, the magic that she and her colleagues wield is always just sufficient to get us to the next stage of the plot and no more. So I'm not sure that I will vote for it.

I'll note that Her Majesty's Dragon, by the same author, was similarly far ahead of the other 2007 Hugo finalists for Best Novel by ownership on online libraries, and topped the poll on first preferences, but in the end came behind Rainbow's End and Glasshouse, scraping third place from Eifelheim by a single vote (not mine). That was the year that Novik was the only female author nominated in any of the fiction categories.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
coth
Jan. 23rd, 2016 05:42 pm (UTC)
I'm very fond of her dragon books, and the way the dragons have different characteristics and different relationships with humans in each continent. But I haven't read this yet, and reviews like this - which set out a number of elements of story that I'm not particularly keen on - are the reason why.
cygny
Jan. 23rd, 2016 07:49 pm (UTC)
I have this on my to-buy list, even if I haven't gotten around to finishing the Temeraire series yet. I really liked the first book, but was sort of disappointed later on.
girfan
Jan. 23rd, 2016 08:03 pm (UTC)
I haven't read any of her other books and was given this by a friend. I really liked it and loved the Polish background and the friendship between the two women.
bopeepsheep
Jan. 24th, 2016 07:26 pm (UTC)
I am mostly "meh" with Temeraire but loved this.

I'm not sure I agree with "unexpectedly" gifted - isn't it the case that that's what he's been looking for all along, and why he picked her (her response to the test)? So he's expecting it, even if she isn't. Not necessarily expecting what he got, of course. :D
inulro
Jan. 24th, 2016 09:34 pm (UTC)
Did somebody say creepy forest? I'm in.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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