Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

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.
Tags: bookblog 2016, hugos 2016, writer: naomi novik
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