I loved this retelling of Russian folklore set around the time of Stalin and World War II. I knew nothing of Koschei and house elves prior to readingI loved this retelling of Russian folklore set around the time of Stalin and World War II. I knew nothing of Koschei and house elves prior to reading this book. Now I want to know more.
The heroine of the story, Marya Morevna, watched birds become men who came to claim her sisters as wives. She waited for the day a bird would come to claim her. Marya was able to communicate with the house elves, who like the outside world of Soviet Russia, has organized in committees.
Koschei, in the form of a bird, eventually comes for Marya and thus begins her journey through the folklore of Russia intertwined with 20th Century Soviet history.
This book does not gloss over that history but it made me want to learn more about it it with Valente’s prose. I recommend this rewriting of a fairy tale. ...more
This book has everything I like. It is set in 1880s Russia, which since reading The Bronze Horseman, I have been obsessed with. It has history and folThis book has everything I like. It is set in 1880s Russia, which since reading The Bronze Horseman, I have been obsessed with. It has history and folklore, which takes Russian history and Russian folklore and mixes the two. There is mystery, romance and a little bit of humor. I loved it.
The book is the first in three book series and introduces us to Katerina, the Duchess of Oldenburg. She is 16 and has a special talent in necromancy. She thinks her talent is a curse and does her best to conceal the fact that she can raise the dead. When her secret gets out, she attracts the attention of the heir to the throne of Montenegro, Prince Danilo and wants the attention of the tsar’s son, Grand Duke George Alexandrovich. There are dark forces at work and Katrina does not know whether to work on behalf of Russia or the opposing dark forces.
-Dariya, Katerina’s cousin and school mate, was probably my favorite character. She provided the comedy in the story.
-There was no love triangle even though the book jacket hints at it. There is good and bad men and times where she overlooks the bad but they were not fighting with each other.
-I loved the images of the balls that she went to. The whole concept is foreign to me. I was never a princess girl growing up but they totally intrigued me.
-Katerina was not your typical Duchess. She wanted to go to medical school and not become a queen.
-I was totally confused about the titles. There seemed to be 2 Russian empresses. There were lots of Dukes, Counts, Grand Dukes. Some dukes were higher than others. She also talked about being a Princess, but she was not the daughter of a king/queen. -Katerina was a bit modern but not too modern. -Katerina’s mother was over the top.
The second book in the trilogy, The Unfailing Light, is due out in October and I look forward to it. Robin Powers is a new author that I look forward to reading. ...more
What a misleading title and cover. There aren't any concubines in the book but that does not make it bad.
The story begins as the Friis family is leavWhat a misleading title and cover. There aren't any concubines in the book but that does not make it bad.
The story begins as the Friis family is leaving Russia during the Revolution and their train gets stopped by the Red Army. The family gets separated and the mother and daughter are allowed to continue on the Junchow, China.
Lydia, the daughter, grows up in the Russian Settlement of Junchow with her mother. As White Russians, they are stranded there without passports or money to leave. Her mother, an alcoholic, is not supporting her daughter as she should and Lydia takes to stealing to support her mother. When she is rescued out of a compromising situation on in an alley by a Chinese teenager, her life changes.
I like the history of this book. I have read other novels of lives in rich English Settlements in Shanghai but this book explored those in the seedier European settlements and what was going on China in the 1920s.
The cover and the title annoyed me a little, I will be honest and I might have rated it higher but the annoyance won out. I will read the next book in the series The Girl from Junchow based on the ending that hooked me. ...more
After reading The Bronze Horseman, I just had to read the sequel. Off I went to Amazon and downloaded the Kindle version and I was off to read it.
TheAfter reading The Bronze Horseman, I just had to read the sequel. Off I went to Amazon and downloaded the Kindle version and I was off to read it.
The first half of the book is basically a retelling of Shura's story and some of Tatiana's current story in America. I did like diving more in Shura's story. It explained him a bit more. It was a somewhat slower to read then the first book.
Once you get to part 2 of the book, it does pick up. Tatiana struggled with life without Shura and taking care of her son. Shura slogs through eastern Europe. I could not put the Kindle down and just got immersed in a story for once....more
When I first started reading this book, I had no idea that I would not be able to put it down. I just started reading and by 4 am, I realized I had toWhen I first started reading this book, I had no idea that I would not be able to put it down. I just started reading and by 4 am, I realized I had to go to sleep, only to pick up again when I woke up. I ended up finishing it that evening.
The story itself is intense and heartbreaking. Tatiana meets Alexander and their trials and tribulations make one enticing story. With the history of the siege of Leningrad in the background, it was painful at times but I could not stop.
In fact, I want to read more fiction about Russia now that I have read this.