[Spoilers] The First Time I Wish There’d Been More Romance
I was given permission to use both fanworks contained in this post. Definitely check out their pages and ask permission before using their images. Links are in the picture captions and at the end.
Have you ever read a book that had a perfect ending? So perfect that it just annoyed you to no end? Well, for me Uprooted is the first book of 2016 to make me feel this way!
Uprooted is about Agnieszka from Dvernik and how she comes to embrace her witchling powers in order to save and protect her family, her village, and the world from the Wood.
But aside from the fun and interesting plot that we see in Uprooted I was also fascinated by the budding romance of the Dragon and Agnieszka. Since I immediately drew a connection between Beauty and the Beast with Uprooted, a part of me figured our two protagonists would end up together.
Which (in a way) they did. So then, let me rant about their ending, and just as a note I didn’t hate it because it was bad. I hate it because it’s good and it’s over and I’ll never get to see more of these great characters! It’s so tragic…
I don’t usually like romance in the books I read because it takes up so much of the story. There’s a girl and a guy, they like each other and their love is apparently the thing that gives them strength. Of course, to me that’s utter nonsense since you guys have only known each other for a few days or weeks, this doesn’t feel authentic! Or even worse, it distracts them from what’s happening and they become lovesick characters…*sigh*
In Uprooted Agnieszka gets her strength from her best friend Kasia who drives her to do stupid and impossible things. Impossible like ignoring the fact that the Wood’s corruption is lethal and that anyone who’s gone into the woods should be put to death. It’s this hope that there’s another way that lead to their being a possible cure to those who had only gone to the Wood for a short period of time.
Their devotion doesn’t feel forced because they’ve grown up together (the book starts off emphasizing this), been friends for the longest, and now they fight side by side. And it’s probably because of this that I wouldn’t have minded seeing more romance in the story, especially at the end.
I know a lot of people were put off with how the Dragon was such a prick but I honestly liked his character. Yeah, he was a douche to Agnieszka when they first met but then he started to change as he realized she wasn’t utterly useless. Instead of seeing his insults towards Agnieszka as authentic, I started seeing them turn into endearments. They lost the bite they had from the beginning. He also tried to teach her magic even when their methods were clearly different: he always wanted to record the process and know results while Agnieszka just went about her magic as trial and error. She tried anything that felt right.
In short, he tried to teach me as best he could, and to advise me in my blundering through my new forest, though it was foreign country to him. He did still resent my success, not from jealousy but as a matter of principle: it offended his sense of the proper order of things that my slapdash workings did work, and he scowled as much when I was doing well as when I had made some evident mistake.
Unfortunately for me, there are only two scenes that are intimate in the book. The first one happened when Agnieszka and the Dragon use their magic together to cast an illusion in his tower. They end up all over each other (kisses and touches) and when that happened I was like, finally! The second was a bit more awkward…though not unexpected since Agnieszka would mention that she missed him while in the Capital. And right before she sneaks into his room she’d been wanting to hug and inhale him, haha
Of course, after we know that these two end up together (when they kiss), it’s easier to find moments where it’s just the two of them being cute. For example, when Agnieszka arrives at the castle, she finds the note that the previous girl left about food and going about avoiding the Dragon. She notices from that point that she’s different from all the others. And yes, she comes to learn that it’s about her magic but there were parts that I thought were specific to them both.
One was where the Dragon tells Agnieszka about his experience with Corruption (his crush on the Queen). He didn’t have to tell her and moreover, he didn’t have to spare Kasia. He could have just ended things, especially if he believed there was no other way. Of course, he didn’t end things. Agnieszka was able to convince him to let her see Kasia with the intention to save her and she did this by trying numerous spells over an extended period of time. I’d like to think that there was some kind of hope and affection in his actions.
Especially when we know he could be such a verbally abusive jerk and had no qualms about summoning a dead army.
Then there were all the times when the Dragon would tell Agnieszka to finish him off (when he’s about to be taken by the Wood) and she’d refuse to let him die, when the Dragon cast the Summoning after Agnieszka was taken by the Wood Queen even when he knew not finishing the spell would be dangerous, when the Dragon said he wouldn’t take any more girls from the villages even though he knew what he was doing was for the best, etc!
And then to end it with them being separated! It was so beautiful but also so painful. I just wanted them to be together (as Agnieszka said) bantering and living in the tower. Of course, the Dragon was running away and Agnieszka saw the Wood as her responsibility. How the book ends with them finally meeting again at her village was just so uber cute and I wish I could see more of their future interaction.
Like, I think I’d even be satisfied with them holding hands, dancing, or even just kissing once more without the excuse of their magic causing tension and tangling. Because they got off the first time with an ‘what am I doing’ and it felt like they blamed their intimacy on the magic (I mean, maybe the magic gave them a bit of a push…but the attraction had been there!)
Oh, this book is also the first ever to send me on a fanfiction searching spree. Anime and manga are usually the only things that make me go crazy like that 😛