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Vassily the Beautiful

(The ESTO Universe)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  526 ratings  ·  90 reviews
Vassily Belikov, composer and pampered son of privilege, suffered neurological damage in the accident that killed his father. Resentful of being treated as an invalid, he lives as a recluse, dependent on his mother. That changes the day she brings home a new husband with two sons of his own.

When deep-space pirates capture Vassily's mother, he's left to the mercy of his
Kindle Edition, 2nd Edition, 228 pages
Published June 11th 2014 by Mischief Corner Books LLC (first published April 2nd 2012)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  526 ratings  ·  90 reviews

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Audio - Greg Boudreaux 5+++ stars...'nuf said!
Story - 4 stars...epilogue needed!!!!!!

How is this not a series???!!!

Mar 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Fun and sexy love story but nothing to get too excited about.

I can't say that I loved the novel and I can't say that I hated it either. It was fun but nothing that really held my interests all that much. The two main character each had their weakness that they had to overcome. They both helped each other to do that and in the process fell in love. Nothing new in that story and nothing new in the telling of it either. The sexual content wasn't anything that was overly exciting. Pretty standard

Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, romance-scifi
This was an interesting take on a respun fairytale.

World building was decent and set the stage, but even so it quickly felt very terrestrial and graspable. So, if tricky confusing science fiction annoys, then you don't need to worry because it slides smoothly. I liked Vassily, a bit delicate, but tenacious. Sumi, Ras, and Pol are lovable. I tend to judge people more on body language and action then words, so these are my kind of guys. The story is clever and entertaining. Wasn't looking for more
Lisa Henry
4.5 stars.

A deceptively simple retelling of the Russian folktale Vassilia The Beautiful. I said "deceptive" because while on the surface it's a quick sex-change so that now Vassilia is Vassily, and old Russia is a futuristic space colony, it really is better than that. No cheap substitutions here. The story stands on its own, despite its origins. Most importantly, the book retains that dreamlike sense of a fairytale, while at the same time the characters are vividly drawn.

Vassily and Sumerki
I wanted this book to be longer. I wanted this book to be endless. It's such a strange and lovely blending of Russian folklore and futuristic fiction. It's a story about the eponymous Vassily, a shy composer who is recovering from a terrible accident, who ends up being maltreated by his stepfather. Sent on some task, Vassily ends ups meeting a trio of strange brothers and their even stranger mother and sort of grows a backbone in the process. In any case, the plot is not important. It's a bit ...more
Not sure how to rate it...

Before I begin, though.
Sumerki=Dusk. The book starts with his name :)
Poldien=Noon. Rassvet=Dawn.

Can't say I liked the beginning of the book (much), but as Vassily set out to find Baba Yaga's house, things improved dramatically. I really had fun reading the story, loved Baba Yaga, as she ended up to be one of the best characters in the book (besides Vasya and Sumerki). I am not totally sold on Vassily's mother, Irene, or his so-called brothers. Very sketchy people, if
Feb 13, 2015 rated it really liked it

REVIEW: A year ago I had never heard of Angel Martinez, let alone read anything by her. Now, I'm working on reading every book in her back list and definitely picking up anything new she has out. She has become a "go-to" author, one that I can rely on to give me a great, enjoyable, and fun read. This time was no different.

Vassily is fragile, beautiful, and naïve. At least, until his stepfather gets a hold of him and turns him into a junkie, or "toxie" as they are called in the ESTO universe. But
Serena Yates
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gay
This is a fascinating tale, with great characters and a futuristic setting that is well developed. The retelling of old stories, placing them in a more contemporary (or, in this case, sci-fi context), is something that is always tempting for an author; Angel Martinez, I think, has succeeded really well at translating the old concepts into something new and relevant.

Vassily has had a lot to deal with in his life, not least of which is brain damage form an accident. He is a bit lost, doesn’t have
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
Update: I finally read the book and it's marvelous. I loved it so much, I'm willing to accept that the man on the cover could be both Sei and Vassily. (Martinez is now on my list of favorite authors.) I liked the substance abuse angle and how (view spoiler). It was wonderfully realistic in that regard. I loved all the characters and want to read more ...more
Because those good old folk and fairy tales seldom starred gay knights in shining armor and twinky princes, here we have a M/M adaption of the old Russian fairytale ‘Vasilisa the Beautiful’ for your reading pleasure!

Like most heroines in the Cinderella type of stories from your youth, poor Vasilisa had to endure hell and hatred when her mother died and her father remarried an evil woman. In this story by Martinez, Vasilisa has become a Vassily, but has otherwise lost none of his beauty. This
This book is actually a clever adaption of the Russian fairy tale, 'Vasilisa the Beautiful', substituting men for women..
"There was nothing left, nothing to look forward to but a slow and humiliating death. A snippet of poetry haunted him, 'then black despair the shadow of a starless night was thrown over the world in which I moved alone.'"
4.5 Stars

I've read quite of few (though, not all) of Angel's works and regularly rate them at around 4 stars...I have to say that this is easily my favorite so far. I adored the setting, the re-imagined (yet somehow original sounding) fairy-tale plot, the characters (Ras & Pol need their own books, damnit!) and the drama.

I loved how strong Vasya is, how determined he could be, and how he's more than just "Beautiful." And the whole genetic manipulation of Suri and his brothers? Plus the viral
Sui Lynn
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m-romance
I really liked this story. It really spoke to me on a number of levels, not all of them comfortable. This may not be a story I go back to repeatedly but not for any lack in the story.

This book covers so may different topics and much of it is done well. There's a struggle for independence and recovery after a debilitating accident. There's addiction and recovery. And of course there's love; both the kind that's blind to any imperfections when the mother chose a less than savory man refuses to
3.5 stars Audio version

I wasn't sure about this book at the beginning. Vassily was very fragile and made some decisions that didn't make any sense to me. Some of the abuse by his step-father was also a bit hard to read. But when Vassily heads across the city to find the infamous Baba Yaga the story just took off out of the gate.

This is a sci-fi setting but it is not heavy on that aspect. I mention that because I'm not a big sci-fi fan but I feel like there were just small aspects to this and
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-romance
This was an engaging story, but something a bit different than I was expecting after reading the author's other stories in the ESTO universe. For one, this one doesn't have the alien vibe, but more a futuristic earth one. The focus is set on the hero Vassily who has dangerous adventures and lots of personal growing to do even as he has his own effect on a hard, dangerous lonely man. Addiction, loneliness from being different, greed, family, and dealing with fear all add such depth to this story. ...more
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story is top notch. I completely adored this one. Impressive, lovable characters, great plot and a story that's easily flowing to follow.
Nephylim Nephylim
How can I describe this book. An ancient Russian fairytale transported into a future world. THe characters are vivid and multi-faceted. The bad guys (mostly) have redeemable features. The good guys are flawed in all sorts of ways and the placement and world building is exemplary.

The writing is so delicate in places it's poetry and the two heroes (two of the heroes) are so different yet so similar in many ways.

I fell totally utterly and hopelessly in love with Vassily and with the book.

I can't
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This is the second book of Ms Martinez I have read and I must say I am impressed not only with her ability to tell a story (the writing just flows and draws the reader in almost immediately) but also her inventiveness. The first part where Vassily becomes a victim of his stepfather had me so wound up I could not put the book down until he had somebody on his side which meant I read probably the fist half of the book in one sitting (never mind the loss of sleep as I normally read at night). ...more
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Totally harlequinesque, tropey, and predictable, but delicious all the same. My romance-reader soul enjoyed it immensely.
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vassily the Beautiful is a wonderful interpretation of the old Russian fairytale, Vasilisa the Beautiful. I had not read the original story and looked it up to see how the stories compared. I love how the author took the story and made it her own. Her science fiction stories are some of my favorites. This story pulled me in and had me feeling a full range of emotions while listening to it.
I cringed at some of the decisions Vassily made early on. He is naive and lives a sheltered, secluded life
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: queer, lgbtq, sff, my-e-things
A nice futuristic, dystopian, sci-fi fairy tale. It was interesting and well written, but didn't really grab me. I don't have particularly strong feelings about it. It's an Angel Martinez book, so it's amusing and filled with interesting characters. Not my favourite by this author, but still enjoyable.
Diane Dannenfeldt
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: si-fi, m-m, have-audio
I loved this book & would probably not have read it if it wasn't for my favorite narrator narrating this book. Vassily broke my heart when his nasty stepfather did what he did. He sure got what was coming to him. Vassily and Sumerki where perfect together and I would so love reading more about these two.
3.75 stars
This was a lot of fun. I haven't ever read the Russian fairy tale "Vasilia The Beautiful" that this is based on, so I don't know how it compares. The funny thing was, when I saw that it was based on a fairy tale, I thought it was going to be all sweetness and light - but, um, no - not quite. Yes there's a predictably sappy romance and a sweet HEA, yes there's a kind of cartoon villain and an MC who has a good heart, but it's also set in quite a dark futuristic setting, with drugs,
Vastine Bondurant
It's been a long time since I read a 300+ page book in less than a day. But then came Vassily the Beautiful.

I'd waited so anxiously to read this book, had SO looked forward to get into it, and I knew, just knew I would love it. Some books, you just know.

And Vassily the Beautiful met my expectations and then some.

No need to waste time retelling the plot.

All I can say is this is my first reading of Angel Martinez's work and I'm a new, gushing fan now.

Prose. Oh, my. Musical, delicate and yet
...the new cover is hideous.

Aug 27, 2012
While I do agree with Akansha, I also viewed the overall story as more of an impressionistic piece so I never really did get the "no sense of real plot" that Akansha got. Also, the reason I read it was because of the prospect of the addiction (and all its accompanying angst) and all the promised trauma and miscellaneous angst. I guess we had different approaches.

The idea of a viral drug is interesting. Makes wonder if one day in the future such
Kristy Maitz
Apr 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like that story but I have to say from the start Angel Martinez could do better.

The plot would be more interesting if story would start with Vasya (main character) already walking toward the "Baba Yaga" destination and on the way he would remember what happened and what he is suppose to do.

So it was good read with negative thought that it could be better.
Oh my... I'm in love with hard/sweet Sumi and with scared/brave Vasyl. What an amazing story. Mrs. Angel has done an incredible work on this book. One of the best book's I've readed. Thanks for writing and sharing with us this amazing story.
May 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really nice incorporation and evolution of some Russian fairy tales. Very original.
Lisa The Novel Approach
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
~ Narration Rating 5 Stars ~

Vassily is many things, pampered, well born, extremely talented, and recovering from a life-altering accident that killed his father. Only now, after years of recovery, has Vassily begun to trust himself enough to venture outside of his apartment, let alone his building. His only companions are a maid and a neighbor who is a drag queen of some renown. His mother is often off on trading expeditions to far planets, and she is gone for months at a time. After her last
Barb ~rede-2-read~
Note: This audiobook was provided to me through Hearts on Fire Reviews in exchange for an impartial review.

**4.5 stars**

Listening to this audiobook was an unexpected pleasure. It was not as dark, nor as complex, as I originally feared it might be. And Vassily was not as vapid as I thought he might be—based on the blurb and the cover image. Speaking of which, I found the cover totally unappealing and if not for the attraction of a narrator for whom I have a great deal of respect, I likely would
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Angel Martinez currently lives part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head. She has one husband, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.

Angel's alter ego writes the all-ages science fiction - Sandra Stixrude.

Other books in the series

The ESTO Universe (5 books)
  • Gravitational Attraction
  • Sub Zero
  • Prisoner 374215
  • A Matter of Faces (An ESTO Universe Story)