Here's my review for a standalone novel named 'Uprooted'. Don't hesitate to add your own thoughts.
Title of Book: Uprooted
Author of Book: Naomi Novik
Publisher: Del Rey, 2015
Awards Won: Nebula Award for Best Novel, Lucos Award for Best Fantasy Novel, Nominee for Hugo Award
My rating: 4.5/8
Synopsis: Agnieska is a 17-year-old teenage girl living in the town of Dvernik by the Wood. But there is a terrible curse at her village and noone would go to the Wood. Luckily, a man named Dragon, who lives in a tower inside the Wood, knows how to resolve and can defeat the curse. But this has a cost. He comes to the town every ten years and takes a teenage girl with him. He keeps her in his tower for 10 years and then he lets her go. Agnieska is terrified as she had heard many rumors about Dragon. Her best friend, Casia, would be perfect for him, beautiful, smart, creative...and the time has come- they are both teenage girls.
But when Dragon comes, it is not Casia he takes...
On to the review.
Plot: Well, the plot was very predictable at the first 5 chapters. The Dragon would obviously take the protagonist with him and not whom we expected. Also, the girl's reaction when she arrives at the tower is boring and easy to predict. Later on the book, somewhere in the middle, there are a lot of plot holes. The author introduces a bunch of people that appear randomly. The protagonist's reaction when she meets them is confusing and sudden.
Also I do not like plagiarism. *spoilers*The whole 'Beauty and the Beast' thing was gross. Okay, the romance was a plot twist but either copy BatB completely or not at all. The plotting changed and changed involving more romance. Ugh.
Structure: The book's structure was sufferable. It had a setup, a conflict, a (not-so-much-for-me) resolution.
It was pretty simple, with simple chapters alltogether creating the story. The paragraphs didn't match though frequently. The author jumped from subject to subject.
Setting: The setting was in some random (non-existant) magical villages and at some random period of time. This could obviously confuse the reader because the narrator's point of view seemed to know everytging about it, while the reader did not have a clue. Especially the locations.
Author's Style of Writing: This, was surprising. At first it seems very outdated and something that could be perfect in the middle of the 19th century or something. But later on it becomes modern, like it is written in the early 2000'. For me, it becomes better, obviously. But it brings a whole new 'romance' detail and characterisms and it becomes boring again.
Detail: 448 pages (a lot of them with no reason to exist). Many unesessary paragraphs which were just blubbering. But the author did emphasise on the important parts and wrote nice descriptions so well done, bravo.
Characters: We really do not get much info about the heros nor we understand certain things about their characters.
Dragon: Him for example. We never get to understand why he is so 'lonely' or such an idiot. A nice backstory that explained all these that evolved throughout the story would fit. Not all in once, but nicely involved. Also I didn't like him. Okay, Agnieska is a piece of shit to him but why must he do the same? He takesa beauty every ten years and *spoiler* teaches her magic, for what? To meaw and cringe all the time? Big no.
Agnieska: Ah ah ah. Agnieska. The biggest dissapointment of all. Let's take it from the beggining. She is sad, ok? Her best friend is supposed to be taken. But naw naw naw she is at the same time relieved she won't be taken instead. Wtf? Are they friends or nah?
She deserved to be taken. Let's move on. *lots of spoilers*. When she goes at the tower she acts (predictably) like a piece of shit and meaws and bitches and vomits all the time. And then the romance comes. But she continues to act like a piece of shit. And when Dragon leaves temporarily because of the Chimaera she predictably tries to run away. That bitch. She could have been described better. I generally do not like female emotional crying bitches for protagonists and she wasn't an exception.
Casia: We don't learn much about her. She had some nice moments throughout the story and was generally more sufferable than Nieska. But she managed ro stay a piece of shit in all the story so...yeah bravo Casia bravo.
Conclusion: It is a great read if you want to read something, to judge it harsh and find all the flaws. It also gives you the opportunity to make fun of the people there and I liked that. I would recommend it to waste your time. It had some nice scenes and some funny piece of magic I don't disagree. Bravo.