Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Once every ten years, a village girl of seventeen is selected by the wizard in the tower known as the Dragon. Everyone believes the beautiful Kasia will be chosen, not her best friend, the plain Agnieszka whose only talent is finding things like blackberries near the dangerous, corrupted Wood. But when Anieska is able to hold a ball of fire in her hand, cool as marble, the Dragon begrudgingly takes her as his apprentice. In the tower, the Dragon tries to teach basic spells to help her do ordinary tasks like improve her cooking or keep her clothes clean. But looking through the immense library, Agnieszka finds a spell book by an old witch of legend, Jaga, whose form isn’t formulaic and precise like the Dragon’s. Agnieszka learns to seek the weak or damaged places and reinforce or remove them, her magic a complement to what already exists, even bolstering the Dragon’s magic. Together, the young, compelling apprentice and the ancient master must battle the corruption the Wood is sending not only to the village, but even to the palace, and aid the Prince in an attempt to rescue his mother, lost for twenty years. Filled with the beautiful poetry of magic and the thrilling dangers of corruption, Uprooted is a saga for anyone who’s ever wondered what became of the beauty who lived in a tower with a Dragon sorcerer.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did the people of the village fear the Dragon so much, despite all he’d done to protect them, especially from the Wood?
  2. For more discussion questions, visit https://owlcation.com/humanities/Uprooted-Book-Discussion-and-Recipe.

The Recipe

In the tower kitchen, there were “drawers of spices that smelled like Midwinter cake” and Agnieszka baked an apple with the spices for the Dragon. When he taught her to use magic to improve her cooking, the baked apple was replaced by “a tartlet full of apples sliced paper-thin, glazed over with honey.” During the battle in his tower, Sarkan brought back a sealed glass jar full of cherries in syrup for he and Nieshka to eat, deep wine-red sour cherries from the orchards outside Viosna. To Agnieszka, they tasted of home, and the valley’s slow magic resting in them.

Apple Cider Cherry Apple Pie Bites



  • medium Gala apples, peeled and diced small
  • apple cider
  • salted butter, at room temperature
  • pitted, jarred dark red cherries, NOT maraschino cherries
  • cherry juice, from jar
  • cornstarch
  • water
  • unbleached all-purpose flour
  • granulated sugar
  • cinnamon


  1. For the full recipe and instructions, visit https://owlcation.com/humanities/Uprooted-Book-Discussion-and-Recipe.


Similar Reads

Naomi Novik’s Temeraire Series begins with His Majesty’s Dragon, a story about a young captain in the Napoleonic wars who confiscates a dragon’s egg on board a captive ship, and bonds with the dragon Temeraire to help in the war of Britain versus France.

Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia McKillip also contains a girl who is forced to be “crammed into a room full of old, ragged-edged books with not even an arrow-slit window for air” deep in the bowels of a castle. But Nepenthe discovers there an ancient book that translates an old fairy tale about a conqueror and his magician and how they claimed the entire known world for their kingdom. She is also befriended by a wizard from the neighboring floating school of magic, and together they unravel the connection between the old text and a rising threat to the current kingdom.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince both involve witches and wizards learning about new ways to cast spells and the power a small book can have to reveal the past and change the present.

Other books that are modern retelling of children’s fairy tales are Wintersong, about the Goblin King who takes a girl captive to be his queen of the underground, or Briar Rose by Jane Yolen, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson, Beauty by Robin McKinley, Poison by Sarah Pinborough, or Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley Cartwright.

© 2017 Amanda Leitch


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