This really is a remarkable author and I am sincerely wondering why she doesn't have more readers and fans. Deathless has firmly put me in the fan camThis really is a remarkable author and I am sincerely wondering why she doesn't have more readers and fans. Deathless has firmly put me in the fan camp. This interpretation of Russian folklore dared me not to put it down as I read but I had to in order to savour it.
Ms. Valente's writing is like no other I have read. While she manages to portray Kolschei in all his wicked and selfish glory she also makes you note that he has human feelings and failings. Her ability to balance dark and light with most of characters held me entranced. Even Baba Yaga cannot be said to be completely heartless.
All the while changing the backdrop from a family home to a Dali like fantasy world and then back to a bitter reality yet never jarring the reader with these changes.
Some of the scenes in war torn Russia where horrific while still holding some of the beauty of of the more fantastical areas. The thought of boiling wall paper for it's flour paste so as not to starve may well haunt me for a long time.
I said it before and I did meant it. I really want to read more by Ms. Valente....more
It took a lot of concentration to read this book. Not because of it's depth and sometimes convoluted satire but because of the Russian names. TolstoyIt took a lot of concentration to read this book. Not because of it's depth and sometimes convoluted satire but because of the Russian names. Tolstoy takes me forever to read for the same reason. Once I could differentiate characters I found this far more enjoyable.
Faust meets Tolstoy? Maybe but it's far more than that and there's real humour. Something I really thought would we lacking. I found it more like Marlowe's Dr. Faustus meets a lighter hearted Tolstoy.
This is going on a reread list because even though I really liked it I want to see if I view any of it differently at a different time in my life. ...more
I'll admit it. I like Robert Graves translations. I think it's because he manages to keep any humour found in them rather then make them just dry tranI'll admit it. I like Robert Graves translations. I think it's because he manages to keep any humour found in them rather then make them just dry translations.
If you have no sense of the absurd this book is not for you. Go read the Iliad. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy the Iliad. I did! I'm just saying this is not your average literature. This book is stuffed with more violence and sex then most summer movies but it's done in such a way as to not glorify either.
The unstructured telling of various tales woven into a grander story works remarkably well. I already knew the story of Cupid and Psyche but I enjoyed it as part of a larger scheme.
I'll also admit it could have perhaps ended better but I can see why it did. Most occurrences were attributed to the gods and goddesses then. They seemed to have a hand in everything from birth till death. The Greek and Roman worship of Isis was far different then the Egyptian's and I think the choice of those deities suited this story. So the five stars stand. ...more
This a much darker tale than Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit. Curses, deceit and never ending woe seem to make up this tome. This being a reread I fouThis a much darker tale than Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit. Curses, deceit and never ending woe seem to make up this tome. This being a reread I found that I was having a much easier time of keeping the characters names straight. His world and history building really helped me understand the two more popular books which I already love. I'm just sorry I didn't reread The Silmarillion first as it has the history for this book. Call George R.R. Martin a world builder if you like but I'm pretty sure he borrowed a lot of pages from Tolkien.
Not only do I see the influence of Norse Sagas I also feel there are a few influences from Shakespeare and foremost comes to mind Romeo and Juliet. Turin and Nienor may not have been star crossed lovers but they were star crossed none the less. Glarung is far more evil then his Kindred Smaug. To enslave an entire people shows the cunning of this most wicked dragon. The mention of Sauron was a nice foreshadowing.
I think Christopher did a fine job of putting this together from all his Father's notes and writings. I will say that I don't recommend this for anyone but Tolkien fans....more