It's not bad, an overview that doesn't really go very deep but tries to cover everything. So for an introduction to myths, it's probably ok.
The chapt...moreIt's not bad, an overview that doesn't really go very deep but tries to cover everything. So for an introduction to myths, it's probably ok.
The chapter about Slavic myth - the ones I'm most familiar with, is based on three books (or so the bibiliography shows) two of which are about Russian tales and myths and one is from 1956. It isn't quite what I hoped for. Too little about other Slavic countries than Russia, and some mentions of the errounous old mistakes - like mixing Lithuanian and Polish gods and not mentioning the controversy over Byelobog (did he even exist?) and wether there was such strong duality in Slavic myths or not.(less)
Why are native Russians talking to each other in English (when in the middle of a heated argument) so others can overhear their secrets? so stupid, so...moreWhy are native Russians talking to each other in English (when in the middle of a heated argument) so others can overhear their secrets? so stupid, so illogical. There are a lot of moments in this book where I can't get past how ESLs don't talk like ESLs. It doesn't make sense to say something in Russian only to say it again in English right after. Perfect English even, an ESL who speaks so well would have long ago stoped adding random da's and nyet's in there.
The Russians are pretty stereotypical too - tea, amber, porcelain, matryoshka, mafia, saying da and horasho a lot... Wow, so complex. Also, Rusakova is a female surname, not male. Took me out of the story every friggin time I read it applied to the boys...
I've started this book a year ago and gave up on it around chapter 9, but with time I though maybe it wasn't so bad after all, I should give it another go and actually finish it. It's not going so great second time around either.
The whole 'I like you but my friend likes you too and I'm self sacrificing' plot was stupid and I find it hard to believe the guy would go along with it too. The mystery was not very mysterious - the author couldn't possibly make it anymore plain what Pietr was. The book dragged and not much happened until the last three or so chapters.(less)
This is not a good encyclopedia. I realize that writing a series on world mythologies would not result in a detailed and factual in every way series....moreThis is not a good encyclopedia. I realize that writing a series on world mythologies would not result in a detailed and factual in every way series. But one could hope for some editing and fact checking. I do not know about beliefs in all the countries mentioned in this book, but I do know mine and almost all the entries from this region had something wrong. The author didn't even bother to get spellings right and in many cases it took me awhile to relize what some entry was supposed to be - and we're talking about latin alphabet here not cirilica.
For instance there is no mention about the fact that the so called Byalobog was most likely invented, reconstructed by anthropologists and there is very little if any evidence anyone worshipped such deity. Another thing, Poland was not united under a Mieczyslaw but Mieszko. The tribe was not 'Poliane' it was 'Polanie'. Jezda is not a word polish peole use for Baba Yaga, it's Baba Jaga, or Jędza if we want to go with 'hag' meaning. 'Siliniets' in not a god worshiped in old Poland, if you spelled it 'Šilinytis' you'd get a deity mentioned in one old Polish text in a list of supposed Lithuanian deities - historians argue the value of that text as the author had very little knowledge of culture and language of Lithuania. Dixon mentiones also Walgaino, Datan, Lawkapatim and Tawals as Polish, who also come from the same text (Valgina, Datanus, Tavalus, Lawkpatimo). Similar with Medeina. Etc, etc.
Sure, misspellings happen and it wouldn't have bothered me if it was just one thing or two, but there are errors in almost every entry I have some knowledge of. Makes me wonder just how many other entries are done equally badly. Not worth much, this encyclopedia, but as a vaguely introductory text keeping in mind that there are plenty of errors and simplifications.
(I was a little dissapointed that there was nothing about the serbian shaman like figures, zduhać, and similar beliefs across that region.)
The author also relies on very western centric texts. For instance he mentioned Vlad Tepes ('Dracula') as a tyrant ruler. A typical view in western writings. While Romanians themselves consider him a national hero, who restored order and protected the country from the inside and outside enemies. In the lands that fought the Ottomans at that time he was considered a Christan hero.(less)
I've started this a long time ago but it didn't grab me at first. Second time around it's great... until I get about halfway through. It's stil good b...moreI've started this a long time ago but it didn't grab me at first. Second time around it's great... until I get about halfway through. It's stil good but the amount of details and the slow pacing makes me a little tired. On one hand I'm glad for the details because they give so much authenticity to the novel, on the other hand I want some action... Even if I don't finish this anytime soon I'd recomend this book. Refreshing and well written.(less)