I loved the description of the Aether. And of the Realms. The writing was at times a bit too junior in stylA love story, under a truly enigmatic sky.
I loved the description of the Aether. And of the Realms. The writing was at times a bit too junior in style, but then something lovely would come out of it, like:
“Your voice sounds like a midnight fire. All warm and worn in and golden. I could listen to you talk forever."
This theme was my favorite, and I loved how Aria marveled at the rocks in the Real as compared to the rocks in the Realms.
“And in life, at least her new life, chances were the best she could hope for. They were like her rocks. Imperfect and surprising and maybe better in the long run than certainties. Chances, she thought, WERE life.”
Marron was a character that seems like he has a lot more layers and backstory I'd like to hear, and looking forward to learning more about Cinder and Liv in the next book. ...more
I snatched this up as soon as I heard it fit the definition of historical fantasy: set in 1870 Pennsylvania. With a mermaid. The sample chapter hookedI snatched this up as soon as I heard it fit the definition of historical fantasy: set in 1870 Pennsylvania. With a mermaid. The sample chapter hooked me because there's also a wyvern (a young, small dragon) that lives with Clara's family like a pet dog. With wings and dragony slobber. I loved Osbert!
However there isn't much history to this historical fantasy; it could have just as easily been set in a fantasy world as the real one. But it had a lovely fairy-tale feeling to it. It reminded me a of The Last Unicorn because of Dr. Phipp's traveling show and Gallery of Wonders, which was creepy and twisted. However Scarff and O'Neill's gypsy wagon was a lovely counterpoint.
I would have dearly loved to have seen the wyvern and mermaid parts of the story developed more; but of course, because I am crazy about mythical creatures. The mermaid Maren doesn't get much character development because she loses her voice as she transforms into a mermaid, and she basically does nothing in the story except float in a various assortment of tubs and containers, make pouty expressions and shed pearly tears. Osbert, the wyvern, is more active in the story but not nearly as much as I would have liked. The villains confused me. Clara has been accused of being a weak character by some reviewers, but I think her character arc was about overcoming her fears and becoming strong.
What I enjoyed most about this book, beside its old-fashioned fairy-tale feeling, was the theme of being torn between two worlds. Maren is raised as a human and loves her Auntie and sister deeply, but she always knows someday she must leave them and join her merfolk. Clara is likewise torn. A curse also separates Auntie and her husband, Scarff. O'Neill spends most of his time with Scarff, but he spends one winter with Auntie and the sisters so he can see snow, which he has never seen before.
Yet despite the joy of that day, O'Neill wept all night for Scarff. I think he wanted both worlds.
This being torn between two worlds is not a theme I've often seen explored, but when I do find it in a story it resonates deeply with me. It is part of the reason I love Middle Earth so much, and understand why the Elves still living on Middle Earth love their woods, but still pine for Valinor.
Here are few more quotes I liked from this book:
Infatuation is easy to cure, if that is his problem. A little dandelion root, a sprig of harefoot plant, a shaving of nutmeg, and a drop of moonrose nectar mixed into a cup of chamomile. True love is another story, I'm afraid. There is no cure for true love.
A lovely description of Maren's scales:
...they catch the dim light like curved slices of stained glass
And a bit of timeless truth:
The world is not at all what I thought it was. There is more magic in it, and more mystery, and more pain.
I have a fascination for Wyoming, my adopted state, that this author apparently has also, because she captured part of the mystique and also added toI have a fascination for Wyoming, my adopted state, that this author apparently has also, because she captured part of the mystique and also added to it, which I deeply appreciated. I have driven through the Wind River Indian Reservation so many times and wondered about the stories that were hidden within it, and this book richly revealed some of those stories and pathos.
I was very, very impressed with the writing. This woman can write sharp, vivid prose and dreamy prose as well. She can capture the heart of a person in a few words, or the poignancy of a moment that would otherwise seem muddled. I learned so much about tribal life and reservation life from this book, beautiful and painful details both. One thing that struck me is that Arapahoes don't ask someone where they live; they ask them "where do you stay?"
What I would have loved even more would have been more direct quotes from the Arapahoes, less synthesized through a white women's lovely writing. Though to give her credit, she was very humble about her whiteness, her pretensions to write about another race, another culture. I was surprised at how Stanford's family and tribe embraced her, but I think that was because she came in brokenness and not in pride.
From the preface:
The day I met Stanford Addison, I sat with him outside his corral watching the horse inside it try to escape.... Stanford watched until she was finished. Then he said in a low voice, "I can't save you."
I wasn't trying to write an authoritative book about Native Americans or Native life. I was there to write a book about Stanford's evolution from what he had been, a bad-boy outlaw, into the renowned spiritual healer he had become. But I didn't get the information I needed in the quick question-and-answer sessions that that been the staple of my worked as journalist. I learned to wait and watch. And a lot of what i ended up watching was what was going on inside of me. Only when I was nearly finished with this book did I realize what it was about - the journey I took following Stanford's gentleness back toward its source, a journey so joyful, painful, and different from anything I'd experienced that there was no way to prepare for it.
Which brings me back to the mare, breathing hard and kicking up dirt and trying to make sense of where she had found herself. That was exactly what I did for much of the time I spent at Stanford's. I, too, skidded to a halt and silently pleaded with him to save me, or at least explain what was happening. But he couldn't. Or wouldn't.
The thing is, not only horses get broken around here. Everything does, starting with the ground itself....a new mountain range broke though the ancestral Rocky Mountains, leaving the original range's broken remains leaning against the flanks of the Wind River Range... in 1878, at the end of the Indian wars, the Northern Arapaho people arrived at the upthrust of the Wind River Range in their own state of brokenness, defeated and hungry.
And then there was Stanford. His accident had smashed his spine and ...left him in a wheelchair. Along with his physical paralysis had come some powerful healing gifts... He had been broken...his body changed forever, but so was his heart. This happened in different ways to a lot of people around Stanford.
I have more quotes I want to add as I have time. ...more
I finally get this book reviewed a year after reading it, after I just re-read it, and everything was fresh in my mind... and then I delete it by acciI finally get this book reviewed a year after reading it, after I just re-read it, and everything was fresh in my mind... and then I delete it by accident??? Sobs.
I don't suppose anyone has a Goodreads email with my review they could send back to me?
This was such an amazing end to the trilogy. End? Cue more sobbing. ...more
It is a great testament to this book's magnificence that I read it without once being reminded of another book (except for a nod to the dangerous OldIt is a great testament to this book's magnificence that I read it without once being reminded of another book (except for a nod to the dangerous Old Willow in the Lord of the Rings) and yet when I breathlessly finished reading it I could immediately say: this had the classic feel of my favorites: it had the awkward, strong girl hero like in The Blue Sword; it had the darkness and danger and complicated magic of Sabriel in it; and it's definitely a top notch girl friendship book even though the friendship of Neishka and Kasia is nothing like Karou's and Zuzana's in Daughter of Smoke & Bone. But it's just as golden. And that ending, oh, it had a surprising, beautiful, soul-wrenching quality to it that reminded me of the climax of A Wrinkle in Time while being utterly different.
But Neishka herself is so unique I can't think of another heroine to compare her too. I loved that she was at one point mistaken for a young (and more trustworthy) Baba Yaga; she had that orneriness about her. (Speaking of Baba Yaga, this book had the wonderful feel of Eastern Europe and Russia about its edges and in its names). Neishka also reminded me of a mischievous wood elf. Not a proud Lord of the Rings type, but more like Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, or Anne of Green Gables always getting into one of her scrapes, if these girls had been a little older and allowed to run more frequently barefooted through the woods and track mud back into the house.
Which brings me to the Wood, and what an enigma it was. It was evil, oh so very evil, and I really struggled with that because, you know, Ents!! And even Huorns (scary things, but they used their dreadful power to destroy evil). This Wood was like that scene of Snow White running through the forest with the trees snagging her dress and trying to grab her that terrified me endlessly when I was 5 years old. This Wood made you feel five years old again, surrounded by trees with horrible eyes staring out of them. This was much worse than the Old Willow trying to swallow up Merry and Pippin. This was so WRONG. But there's a reason for the wrongness that finally makes sense in the end.
Then there is this interesting tangle of a - romance? - not quite the right word! about it too. I expect a lot of people to go up in arms about 17 year old Neishka taking advantage of 150 year old Sarkan; I expect even more outrage over the horrible way he mocked and name-called our heroine, but I've thought about it carefully and I think the author took care to explain the complicated creature that was the Dragon (Sarkan). He was like an army drill sargeant in charge of shaping a spindly raw recruit into a fighting machine, only to discover she was his equal, but in an entirely unexpected way. It was when they discovered that their magic was so different but complimentary that I truly fell in love with this story. And Sarkan's crankiness is so very adorable (in a sort of Gandalf way), because along with it we'd get these tantalizing hints that under all the crusty salt he was golden:
I darted a quick glance at him. He was staring down at the dough trying to keep his scowl, and flushed at the same time with the high transcendent light that he brought to his elaborate workings: delighted and also annoyed, trying not to be.
Oh another thing I loved about Sarkan are all the spells he planted in his tower. Neishka is creeping down one of this hallways and THIS happens:
The carpet widened until it filled all the hallway I couldn't see and stretched away beyond. It didn't feel like wool anymore. I stood on warm lapping scales, soft as leather, rising and falling beneath my feet.
And oh gosh there is so much more that I love about this story. The wizard's library, the Charovnikov:
"Oh, - " Ballo hesitated, and then he went down the hall to a shelf of ledgers, each of them nearly half his own height: he muttered some small dusty spell over them as drew his fingers along, and one page gleamed out far down the shelf. He lifted out the heavy book with a grunt and brought it to the table.
I loved the Dragon's library too in his tower, and how of all the books in his library, Neishka happened to grab the one about Summoning the Truth. Even better though is how she and the Dragon used the Truth both in the first half of the story and then even more stunningly at the end.
I had the feeling the Summoning wasn't really meant to be cast alone: as if truth didn't mean anything without someone to share it with; you could shout truth into the air forever, and spend your life doing it, if someone didn't come and listen.
In stark contrast to the time Neishka chose to conjure illusion instead of Truth because that was what the courtiers wanted: "they wanted to feel themselves part of it, of the queen's rescue they wanted to be living in a song." The same courtiers that puzzle her when she first arrives at the King's city but after three days she immediately sees through them.
It had never occurred to me that Alicja had been looking for a target of malice. We weren't stupidly cruel to each other in Dvernik. Of course there were quarrels....But when harvest came, your neighbors came to help you gather and thresh, and when the shadow of the Wood stole over us, we knew better than to make it any darker.
This was just one of the themes running through this book like the river Spindle running through the valley and the Wood. Of all magic spells, Truth is the strongest but how many people actually want truth? How many of us seek illusion instead? And how hard it is to face Truth in another person, how they REALLY see you? What Neishka and Kasia had to face in each other?
So. well. done. Oh, by the way, speaking of Kasia, I grinned at this about her:
There had been a tourney to celebrate Stashek's coronation, and he'd asked Kasia to be his champion, much to his grandmother's dismay.
Another more subtle theme swirled around Sarkan and his tower and how he stayed away from the people of his valley, walled up behind enchanted stone.
He'd kept himself apart for a century behind these stone walls full of old magic. Maybe he would let me come in, but he'd want to close the doors up again behind me. He'd done it before, after all. I'd made myself a rope of silk dresses and magic to get out, but I couldn't make him climb out the window if he didn't want to.
Which leads me to this drop of loveliness:
But I realized now without quite thinking it through, I'd half-imagined myself a place here in the tower. My little room upstairs, a cheerful rummaging through the laboratory and the library, tormenting Sarkan like an untidy ghost who left his books out of place and threw his great doors open, and who made him come to the spring festival and stay long enough to dance once or twice.
Note: this is not a young adult book, even though Neishka is 17 years old. There are two extremely violent battle scenes and two sex scenes.
I received a digital copy of Uprooted for my honest review. I was not paid or in any way compensated for raving about it. I truly, honestly, deeply enjoyed this book. I plan to buy myself a copy to always keep, but thank you to Del Rey and Net Galley for giving me a sneak peek....more