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2015 Reads > Uprooted: The Characters (Full Spoilers)

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message 1: by Olga (new) - added it

Olga (meluse) | 24 comments We started talking about Agnieszka in the other thread but what's your opinion on the characters in general? I enjoyed the book and especially the fairy tale atmosphere but I think the characters were a little stiff (for lack of a better word, maybe you have one). There were moments when I really liked them (for example the Summoning scene with Kasia) but there was still something missing. They just didn't seem to come to life for me, least of all the Wood Queen. I'm not sure if I will remember them a year from now.

Did anyone else have that feeling?


message 2: by Hesper (last edited Aug 15, 2015 12:34PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Hesper | 85 comments I had that reaction to Agnieszka and Sarkan, both of whom came across as predictable and one dimensional. It was hard caring about their relationship at all, and I came away feeling like maybe Kasia should have been the romance, or at least one angle in a potential triangle. The supporting cast, I think, was better rendered overall, especially Alosha, the Falcon, and that awful Prince Whatshisface.

I'm still ambivalent about the Wood Queen's characterization, but that's because the attempt to humanize her by giving her a back story never quite worked for me. I get its importance to the plot from a technical standpoint, but I think I preferred the Wood to remain alien and unrelatable.


Jeannette (jmtrivera) | 6 comments Hesper wrote: "I had that reaction to Agnieszka and Sarkan, both of whom came across as predictable and one dimensional. It was hard caring about their relationship at all, and I came away feeling like maybe Kasi..."

I didn't really much care for the romance either. I cared about their relationships as friends (? roommates?) and as apprentice/teacher, but I wasn't really feeling the development of the romance. I would say that I think I will find them memorable though, but that could be because I like fairy tales.


Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments I wasn't crazy about the fact that there was a romance at all, but then I found myself refreshed by the way it paid off. I didn't think it was the usual thing at all.


message 5: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 3951 comments ^It was kinda cool how she pretty much owned him, wasn't it? For all of his decades of sophistication and very different life, he was just plain desperate to be with her.


message 6: by Olga (last edited Aug 17, 2015 10:44AM) (new) - added it

Olga (meluse) | 24 comments Hesper wrote: "I'm still ambivalent about the Wood Queen's characterization, but that's because the attempt to humanize her by giving her a back story never quite worked for me. I get its importance to the plot from a technical standpoint, but I think I preferred the Wood to remain alien and unrelatable.
"


I felt the same way about the Wood. I liked it when it was simply evil and weird. The Wood Queen's story seemed a little cheesy. This "they learned all the wrong things" annoyed me, actually everything about her annoyed me.

It was actually the other way around for me with the main characters and the supporting cast. I liked Agnieszka and the Dragon well enough but the people from the capital seemed all a little cliché to me. I could never really understand Prince Marek. In the first few chapters he tried to rape her and although she didn't forget it, it was still kind of brushed aside.

Jeannette wrote: "Hesper wrote: "I had that reaction to Agnieszka and Sarkan, both of whom came across as predictable and one dimensional. It was hard caring about their relationship at all, and I came away feeling ..."

I think the best part of the romance was when they kissed for the first time. But everything before and after wasn't very exciting ... I guess Novic didn't want to put the romance in the center of the story but I think she could have given it either a little more depth or left it out completely.

Joanna wrote: "I wasn't crazy about the fact that there was a romance at all, but then I found myself refreshed by the way it paid off. I didn't think it was the usual thing at all."

What is the usual thing? :D


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I thing this book would've been on a level with Lovecraft if it kept with the mysterious and unknowingness of the Wood.


Hesper | 85 comments Meluse wrote: "I could never really understand Prince Marek. In the first few chapters he tried to rape her and although she didn't forget it, it was still kind of brushed aside."

I liked what Marek brought to the story as a villain. He uses his privilege to get what he wants without the slightest regard for others. He's an entitled, thoroughly reprehensible human being in ways that feel authentic; he's also a nice upending of Prince Charming.

That said, I agree that the attempted rape could have been handled better, or even left out altogether. It felt gratuitous, like Novik really wanted the reader to get that Marek's scum and this was the cheapest way of achieving that. On top of that, the Dragon blames Agnieszka for the encounter without ever explicitly rethinking his position, or without Agnieszka presenting any substantive challenges to his reasoning.

I couldn't become invested in the romance after that.


Jeannette (jmtrivera) | 6 comments Hesper wrote: "Meluse wrote: "I could never really understand Prince Marek. In the first few chapters he tried to rape her and although she didn't forget it, it was still kind of brushed aside."

I liked what Mar..."


I more felt like the Dragon was being (typically) irritable than actually blaming Agnieszka for the encounter, especially after he says that Marek just wanted to anger him. That said, it didn't endear me to either Dragon or Marek. I never trusted Marek, and for a long time, I wondered if he was the corrupted one rather than his mother. As for the Dragon, while I eventually came to trust that he knew what he was doing magically and became okay with him in that sense, the romance never felt right. If you can't be compassionate to someone at any point when they're experiencing fear, loss, or confusion, why should they fall for you? It wasn't relatable and didn't seem necessary to the plot until the very end - and even then, a solid relationship based on friendship or apprenticeship or colleagueship would have been more real to me.


message 10: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 3951 comments Hm. I thought he was being compassionate in his crusty, curmudgeonly way. For example, he was willing to try Luthe's Summoning at some fairly significant risk to himself even though he was sure it wouldn't have any beneficial effect.


Jeannette (jmtrivera) | 6 comments Hmm, I guess that's true, John. But I do still think it's just not enough of an emotional connection to me to base a romance.


message 12: by Joanna Chaplin (last edited Aug 19, 2015 05:56AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments Meluse wrote: "What is the usual thing? :D "

In a usual romance, her happiness would be intertwined with his fate and their relationship. I guess I just found the combination of physical attraction and the lure of the magic working together without her hoping or even wanted more was refreshing. She knew what she wanted, to exactly what extent, and when he indicated consent, she took it. They have changed each other, but they're still extremely independent. I didn't take the last bits to indicate that they were going to be "happy forever after" but more like colleagues with the occasional benefits.


message 13: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 3951 comments I thought the ending was going to wind up with him dead and her pregnant with his child. I'm actually fairly surprised she didn't wind up pregnant.


Hesper | 85 comments Joanna wrote: " She knew what she wanted, to exactly what extent, and when he indicated consent, she took it. They have changed each other, but they're still extremely independent. I didn't take the last bits to indicate that they were going to be "happy forever after" but more like colleagues with the occasional benefits. "

That. The conclusion was the best part of it imo, as a lot of the romance arc until that point struck me as contrived for the sake of plot. In some ways, the ending feels more like the start of a romance, albeit a non-traditional one, than the romance's actual start. They're on equal footing at the end, more or less, which makes them both more capable of making or breaking any potential relationship they might have. I really liked what Novik did to the forever after.


message 15: by Olga (new) - added it

Olga (meluse) | 24 comments Joanna: "I guess I just found the combination of physical attraction and the lure of the magic working together without her hoping or even wanted more was refreshing. "

I liked that too ... the way they could connect through magic. That was a great idea. Makes you want to be a sorceress yourself. And you're right, she was independent in the end, healing the forest and taking the Dragon's place. I actually really loved the ending. She could stay in her village, the Wood was gone and she seemed to have become so confident, healing the forest and sitting at the table with the adults. You can really see her having a nice, fulfilled life.

John: "I thought the ending was going to wind up with him dead and her pregnant with his child. I'm actually fairly surprised she didn't wind up pregnant."

I don't know why but I remember thinking the exact same thing when they had sex.


Lindsay | 593 comments There's also the aspect that Nieshka and Sarkan have time. So much time, of which they're both aware acutely. Sarkan for having lived such a remote and emotionally isolating long life, and Nieshka from her conversations with Alosha. They don't need this relationship to be an all-encompassing passion. I don't think either of them are capable of it. And they're very aware that they're in it for the long haul. I saw the gentle acknowledgement of their relationship with Sarkan seeking Nieshka out in the village to be in this vein.


Sarye "Meluse wrote: "I could never really understand Prince Marek. In the first few chapters he tried to rape her and although she didn't forget it, it was still kind of brushed aside."

I think that's how it is with the royalty isn't it? The king/prince can have whoever he wants regardless of the fact that he's forcing someone into it (Agniezka says something like that) and it's just... normal. No big deal. I'm not telling that's ok just how it probably would be in that society.


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