A young woman named Agnieszka grows up in the village of Dvernik in the kingdom of Polnya. Her village is on the edge of a corrupted forest full of tree creatures that kidnap people and turn them into monsters. The valley is protected by a wizard called The Dragon, who once every 10 years selects a 17 year old girl and carries her back to his tower. Agnieszka has always assumed that when the time came her beautiful best friend Kasia would be chosen. She is of course wrong.
Uprooted belongs to the tradition of sorcerer's apprentice stories. If you are one of those people who was upset by how fast Rey went from zero to Jedi Master, you will be equally bothered by how fast Agnieszka becomes an extremely powerful witch. Like many similar stories, the pupil has no aptitude for formal magic until she discovers her own way of doing magic and quickly surpasses her shocked and stuck-up teachers. The author has some fun with the country girl in the big city trope, but the plot moves quickly enough to get past the worst of that.
One of the most unique elements of the story is how the force of evil in this world is the forest. Modern fiction takes it as a given that the wilderness is pure and healthy, while civilization is corrupt and sickening. In old fables the wilderness is full of darkness and supernatural danger. Novik makes the surprising choice to embrace that old tradition, although all corruption has a cause and can be cleansed with the right kind of magic.