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Daughter from the Dark

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  582 ratings  ·  146 reviews
In this extraordinary stand-alone novel, the authors and translator of Vita Nostra—a "dark Harry Potter on steroids with a hefty dose of metaphysics" (award-winning author Aliette de Bodard)—return with a story about creation, music, and companionship filled with their hallmark elements of subtle magic and fantasy.

Late one night, fate brings together DJ Aspirin and ten-yea
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by Harper Voyager (first published 2006)
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Miriam The adult protagonist has relationships with different women, and the book mentions that him spending the night without going into explicit detail.

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Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ Campbell

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DAUGHTER FROM THE DARK isn't the type of book I normally gravitate to, but I loved the authors' other work, VITA NOSTRA, so much that I resolved that I was going to read whatever else they wrote that was translated into English. It was one of my favorite books that I've read within the last year or so, quickly topping my list of "best fantasy books." So important note for those of you in a similar position: if you've read VITA NOSTRA, do
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paranormal
This was a strange story that felt like a dark fairytale, a contemporary paranormal story, and a magical realism tale all wrapped into one weird but utterly compelling story! It was dark and creepy at times but also emotionally engaging and it had an undercurrent of hope that kept things from getting too bleak in tone.

I loved the premise. DJ Aspirin, a mid 30s radio DJ and minor celebrity, is a self-absorbed ass. He has been floating through a life filled with work, booze, and throwaway relatio
Daughter from the Dark is the latest offering from Ukrainian husband and wife team Marina and Sergey Dyachenko, translated brilliantly from the Russian by Julia Meitov Hersey.  Their 2018 release, Vita Nostra, is one of the most bizarre, exhilarating, mind-bending things I've read, and while I cannot wait for the next installment of that series to be available in English, this standalone was a lovely treat in the meantime.

For those who haven't read Vita Nostra yet, I'd argue that Daughter from t
keikii Eats Books
To read more of my reviews, check out my blog at keikii Eats Books!

"Don't call me silly! Stop condescending to me! I'm the adult here, and I don't care if there is a monsoon outside: you're still going."

Absolutely perfect in every way and I won't hear a bad word about it.

I didn't intend to read this in a single day. The book had other ideas. Wow. it made me pull out my violin from storage. and I suck at that thing. I loved this book so much. I couldn't put it down at all. I wasn
Robin Bonne
4.5 Stars. Part fairy tale, part horror story. DJ Aspirin helps a girl in the street and gets sucked into a sort of alternative reality where he becomes her father. At first, he treats her brutality, which adds to the horror of the story. The main question at the surface of the book is who or what is she. The theme of how a man-baby becomes an adult is also explored.

Music plays a key role in this tale. The girl must learn to play a perfect song to find her brother. Whenever she practices this s
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review and others can be read on my blog, Black Forest Basilisks.
“Am I afraid of death?” he asked in a mere whisper. “Of course.” Alyona leaned back on her chair and sighed contentedly. “You are afraid of it. Here, everyone is afraid of death. Almost everyone. The ones who know they’re going to die, at least.” “And you?” “I am not going to die,” Alyona said with a smile. “I know that everyone is alive. Everything is alive. And the
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-edelweiss
I received an advance copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Daughter of the Dark is my first Dyachenko book and I am very, very impressed! The synopsis itself did not sound very interesting to me at first: mysterious girls with mysterious powers are a bit of an overdone trope (Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman and The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey come to mind), but this book truly takes the trope and makes it its own. The writing is so gorgeous and magical, dark and at times violent. There is
Renee Godding
Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
4/5 stars

Quite different but definitely in a good way. I’m even more excited to read more from these authors than I was before now.
Full review to come.
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: on-kindle, arc
I think I found a problem with these authors - their modern day stories don't do anything for me. I was spoiled by reading The Scar. The translation and the story behind that, merged with their interesting way of tackling the magic with the psychological insights remains one of my favorite fantasy stories.

This was not only confusing but very ick territory for me.

The DJ of this story is abusive, crass, and frankly rude. At times he hits the girl - the strange, distant, and probably supernatural
Jul 11, 2019 marked it as anti-library
After reading and enjoying the hell out of the mindfuckery that is Vita Nostra, I'm so ready for this and also, it sounds amazinggg ...more
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Middle-aged Aspirin saves a 10-year-old girl, Alyona, who moves in with him and says she must play a perfect piece of music on a violin to get her brother to return to their shared universe.

That one sentence summary should also include: a possible killer teddy bear named Mishutka, a bare-foot enforcer from the other universe, Aspirin's spiral into a depressing life as a DJ and radio speaker, attempted kidnapping, attempted killing of killer teddy bear, discussions of music as a creative force,
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
They do write some very...interesting novels. While not the reaching the absurdity (which I really enjoyed) of Vita Nostra, Daughter provides a very interesting look into the Dyachenko's minds. Aspirin was a polarising character, at times sympathetic, at others violent and repulsive. Alyona, mystical child from beyond the dark, was opaque, frequently bizarre in her actions and frequently swinging towards acting like the child she looks like.

Overall, I think I liked this? There's certainly a lot
Mar 23, 2020 marked it as dnf
Shelves: 2020-interested
This was my second attempt at reading from these authors and I have come to the conclusion that this is just not my cup of tea! It’s not poorly written, but as a parent I dislike reading about children being mistreated and I’m not into the rest of the story to want to put myself through reading about that. I am also realizing that I generally just don’t get along with this sort of gritty fiction unless it is in an entirely different fantasy world. Having some light speculative elements isn’t eno ...more
Apr 13, 2020 marked it as dnf
DNF 28%

I have zero patience for this book.

It isn't interesting. I mean, it sounds interesting. But so far, it isn't. It's actually pretty boring. I'm pretty sure by now I'm supposed to be a little curious about where it's going. But I'm not. I don't care about the characters. I don't want to know what happens. Don't get me wrong, I don't think this book is badly written, it's just not for me. Being cooped up has drained me of any patience for books that drag on with nothing happening that makes
Calvin Park
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Dyachenkos, Marina and Sergey, are perhaps best known in the English-speaking world as the authors of Vita Nostra, a dark and compelling tale that mixes metaphysics and philosophy with urban fantasy in unique ways. Joined again by translator Julia Meitov Hersey, this new English translation of Daughter from the Dark returns readers to their dark and compelling way of telling stories, while swapping metaphysics for questions of creativity, music, and creation.

This is one that just demands to
Pauliina (The Bookaholic Dreamer)
I was provided a free e-copy in exchange for an honest opinion. Receiving a free copy has in no way influenced my opinions on the book

After loving Vita Nostra, I'm so upset about Daughter from the Dark

We have an annoying main character who does a whole bunch of problematic stuff, and is just literally the worst™ He doesn't get any better towards the end and I hate him.

The plot goes from this has so much potential and it will most certainly be a wild ride , straight into a 250-page-long defl
Lois Young
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. As mind bending as “Vita Nostra,” but more focused on the prose and on the characters. The ending was not what I was expecting and there were not obvious (fantasy) tropes.

"Daughter from the Dark" is the latest translated work by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko, and the focus is on music instead of a hidden school. The narrative and the plot are more relatable and more action-paced than "Vita Nostra," but fans of metaphysical fiction will enjoy this book the most. "Daughter from the Dark"
Michelle Kenneth -
[I received a copy of this book via the publisher/Edelweiss.]

This is one of those books you can't put down, because you need to know what's going to happen. What is the truth? What is a hallucination? What is real and what is a fantasy?

Did that teddy bear really attack people, or was Aspirin hypnotized to think he saw/felt these things? Is Alyona really some kind of fairy child/angel looking for her long lost brother?

The Dyachenkos really know how to hook you in. You'll be racing to the last pag
Feb 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
To dark and depressing for me. Read about a quarter of it and DNF
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature!

Daughter from the Dark was an exceptionally odd book and I really am not sure how I feel about it. When I say this is an odd book, I'm not exaggerating--there's weird characters, an uncertain plot, and a variety of other elements that make this book a tough one to decode. This is the second book I've read by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko, the first being Vita Nostra, a book that I completely fell in love with. Daughter from the Dark didn't quite live
Autumn Christian
Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The second book I've read from the Dyachenko couple. Mysterious, beautiful, dark, fantastical, and so very Russian. More books need to be translated into English. I need them. ...more
Andy Weston
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's a considerable divergence from my normal reading habits to read a Ukranian fantasy novel, but I am really pleased I did.
It may be categorised as fantasy, but 'weird fiction' may suit it better, as certainly it is far from the usual. It lacks the action scenes that would be expected from standard fantasy or horror, but the slower pace suits it well.
In a rough area of the city, in its darkly lit back alleys, the protagonist radio show presener, DJ Aspirin, rescues a 10 year old girl and her
Feb 13, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, reviewed, netgalley
Do you want to read a book about a middle-aged DJ who hates his job, goes to a club, drinks and sleeps around with young women every day, while a 10 year-old girl refuses to leave his apartment or explain who she is, says weird stuff and plays violin all the time? Oh, and sometimes they are randomly attacked by teenagers, police or some strangers with absolutely no consequences to anything.

Well, this is a basic description of this story. I've never been this disappointed or shocked after reading
Jill S
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it

I loved the journey this story took me on. The characters and their relationships are complex, and the mystical, magical element is beautifully woven into the story to be completely believable. What an incredible followup to Vita Nostra.
Probably loved "Vita nostra" more by the same authors but I really enjoyed this so much. This is just my type of story. Being thrown in, trying to find things out, not getting clear answers (in a good way) and something magical included. Can't wait for more translations (or to learn Russian) so I can read more of the Dyachenkos. ...more
Felicia Edens
There is a possibility that Daughter from the Dark by Marina & Sergey Dyachenko (2020) lost some of its stylistic panach because of its translation into English from Russian. If so, it's a big loss for the novel because its structure is so well conceived as a warpy fairy-tale and contemporary fantasy about a young girl-child from another world and the male stranger who, upon once saving her life, acts in loco parentis. The child herself, Alyona, cannot fully explain who she is, where she is from ...more
Gregory Duke
Jun 24, 2020 rated it did not like it
This isn't Vita Nostra, and it shows. ...more
Jan 09, 2021 added it
Shelves: read-in-2021
For me to enjoy a slow-paced book, I really need to be invested in the characters. If I’m going to read about some people without any kind of driving force to the plot, then those people better be incredibly enjoyable to read about. They better be flawed yet likable, and strong yet able to grow. Daughter From the Dark is a slow-paced book, and it’s one I liked, but it wasn’t one that I loved, and it all came down to the fact that the characters never became people I was excited to read about.

Jan 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, 2020-read
DJ Aspirin has a fine life hosting a radio show by day and performing as a DJ at clubs at night. But his world is turned upside down when a strange young girl takes up residence in his apartment and refuses to leave until she finds her long-lost brother.

The Dyachenkos are back. Or rather, the English version of the Dyachenkos are back. It will never not rankle that the Russian-speaking public get to read all their works while we English-speaking losers have to make do with the shreds that Harpe
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adventurous readers
What did I just read? A lost little girl and her potentially homicidal teddy bear are taken in by a radio DJ; bizarre circumstances lead him to begrudgingly pretend to be her father. Danger and shenanigans ensue.

Disturbing. Confusing. Rather intriguing. Completely over-the-top. And some content that made me extremely uncomfortable (hence the "disturbing").

Perfect for those looking for something different, and tolerant of both Fairytale and horror elements.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 3.5 Stars, rounded up, due to how
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Марина Дяченко
Marina and Sergey Dyachenko - co-authors of novels, short fiction, plays and scripts. They primarily write in Russian (and in the past also in Ukrainian) with several novels translated into English and published in the United States. These include, Vita Nostra (2012), The Scar (2012), The Burned Tower (2012), and Age of Witches (2014). The primary genres of their books are modern spe

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