Uprooted is set in a small village nestled in a valley in the kingdom of Polnya, next to an enchanted forest, inside which many villagers are regularly lost and persecuted by dark magic.
The villagers rely on an immortal wizard called the Dragon to stay safe from the forest’s powers. The price they must pay for the Dragon’s assistance is the service of one young village woman for ten years, during which she cannot return to her old life at home.
The protagonist of the novel, a young woman named Agnieszka, fears that her best friend Kasia will be chosen for this terrible role. But instead of Kasia, who is considered more beautiful and braver than herself, it is she who is chosen by the Dragon.
Uprooted draws deeply from Slavic folklore, including the figure of the Baba Yaga, as well Novik’s Polish heritage.
The novel has been extremely successful, and has won top awards for speculative literature, including the 2016 Nebula Award for the Best Novel, the 2016 Locus Award for the Best Fantasy Novel, and 2016 Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature.
Lev Grossman has called it “an instant classic”, and Ursula LeGuin has said that the magic in the book is “so vividly believable that it almost seems you could work the spells.”
A film adaptation is forthcoming.
Published in 2015.