This book is an amazing experience, exploring Russian fairy tales while changing them; exploring bits of Russian history without ever going too deep....moreThis book is an amazing experience, exploring Russian fairy tales while changing them; exploring bits of Russian history without ever going too deep. It doesn't immerse you in facts and statictics, it doesn't give you too many explanations. It gives you a story that just happens and has happened a thousand times before and will happen again, because it's as universal as it is unique.
And that's exactly what a fairy tale should be.
And Valente's almost poetic style mimics fairy tales so well (the repetition of events, the tricky challenges where magical creatures help the heroine) and gives the blood-filled ruthless feeling of a real myth.
It's a beautiful, beautiful book. Just like that.(less)
Toby Barlow's book was residing among supernatural fiction paperbacks when I picked it up in a store, but in truth putting it there was like putting a...moreToby Barlow's book was residing among supernatural fiction paperbacks when I picked it up in a store, but in truth putting it there was like putting a wolf in a bunch of chihuahuas.
What makes it so good is: a) as beautiful as the supernatural element is presented and executed, the books not really centered on werevoles. It's a noir detective book, it's a gang war book, it's an epic poem, and it's ALSO about werewolves. In that order. Give the characters some guns and you have your classic noir. But better don't, because...
b) the animal element, the blood and sweat and pheromones, the behaviour of the pack do the sealing-and-binding that a drop of blood does to a dark magic potion. It's written so richly, you can almost taste the verse. And it makes you want to sip it slowly to taste every drop.
c) all characters have enough space to show themselves, evolve and change (turn?) just enough to stick with the reader. And there's a good number of them. Among which, I'd like to note, there are a few female werewolves, who don't get nearly enough space in fiction, but in this book they really take what's theirs.(less)