Jan 01, 12
Read from December 30, 2011 to January 01, 2012, read count: 1
OMG that was just so freaking cool! :D My last book for 2011, which I couldn't finish because it's kind of enormous, and so my first for 2012 as well. A nice end AND start to the years :D And I was hooked in straight away, there was no gradual warming up - I loved it from the start. The writing is just so delicious, and the tale itself so rich and wonderful... the perfect mix of fairy-tale fantasy and darkness. I LOVED the language geekery so much as well, that was utter brilliance. And the snappy banter between Bear and Baba Yaga often made me laugh out loud... such enjoyable villains! Although you really can't help but like Bear, he's just been suckered into one of her spells.
Baba Yaga is bloody terrifying. But so awesome. Dude, she HIJACKED A PLANE AND FLEW IT BACK TO THE NINTH CENTURY. I mean, who even DOES that?! And Katerina freaking rocked as well. She was so much better than Ruth... there was just no contest. You can't even really feel sorry for Ruth, losing Ivan so abruptly. She's got nothing on Katerina. I adored her - she's a princess, the sleeping beauty whom Ivan awakens... but she's not a simpering, fragile little thing. Oh hell no! She's feisty and strong and stubborn and a little bit snarky and arrogant. So much fun :D I loved the romance between her and Ivan. You know it's going to happen eventually, but it's all done so nicely and at such a gentle pace that it doesn't feel forced or sudden or anything. Just natural.
I loved both times in this book equally - Katerina in the 20th century, Ivan in the 9th. Usually I much favour one over the other, but these were both done so brilliantly. The gorgeous historicalness of the 9th and the language geekery, contrasted so nicely to that fun culture-clash which happens when someone is shifted forward in time. And it was fun to have all of the recent day Russian politics in the background as well, an interesting touch.
Uncle Marek's true identity came as a huge surprise. I love how everything wove together like that. :) I loved how Ivan managed to beat Bear to get to the princess. I loved the humour that was always there. I loved the author snarking about JFK airport twice within the space of like five pages:
"...and the six-mile walk down tubes and ramps before they got to the airplanes, which apparently parked in Sag Harbour."
"Some of the same clerks were on duty, watching Ivan and Katerina very carefully, but treating them with more politeness than usual, which, at Kennedy, isn't a hard standard to surpass."
Totally can't fault this in any way... only that it had to finish at all :)