Novik's Uprootedis a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable fantasy novel set in a world inspired by the Kingdom of Poland. Novik takes a number of fantasy and fairy tale tropes -- the beautiful maiden, the unconventional girl with hidden powers, the dangerous wizard, the arrogant royal, the woodland horror -- and twists them slightly, creating a story that while not exactly unpredictable is nonetheless different from what one expects. She also adds depths to fantasy conventions, giving the characters credible motives without undermining notions of right and wrong and convincingly mixing the practical with the fantastical.
Novik makes good use of the concept of roots, both literal and metaphorical. The Wood is quite literally taking root in the valley, swallowing up village after village and entangling the people who get caught; the magic used to fend off the Wood similarly depends on a deep connection to the land. But Novik also plays with the way people are rooted to their past, their families, their hometowns, and what happens when those roots are severed -- or when one refuses to become rooted in the first place. Watching Agnieszka recognize her roots, and the Dragon allow himself to form roots, was quite satisfying. I know Novik has said this is a stand-alone novel, but I'd love to have more of these characters and this world.