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Previous BRs - Authors; U - Z > Valente, Catherynne M.: Deathless (Deathless, #1) Informal "Buddy Read" Start Date: May 10, 2014

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message 1: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (last edited May 04, 2014 09:16PM) (new) - added it

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Deathless, by Catherynne M. Valente

Koschei the Deathless is to Russian folklore what devils or wicked witches are to European culture: a menacing, evil figure; the villain of countless stories which have been passed on through story and text for generations. But Koschei has never before been seen through the eyes of Catherynne Valente, whose modernized and transformed take on the legend brings the action to modern times, spanning many of the great developments of Russian history in the twentieth century.

Deathless, however, is no dry, historical tome: it lights up like fire as the young Marya Morevna transforms from a clever child of the revolution, to Koschei’s beautiful bride, to his eventual undoing. Along the way there are Stalinist house elves, magical quests, secrecy and bureaucracy, and games of lust and power. All told, Deathless is a collision of magical history and actual history, of revolution and mythology, of love and death, which will bring Russian myth back to life in a stunning new incarnation.


An “Informal Buddy Read” doesn’t have a discussion leader and participants are asked to consider some generic questions when making comments about the book.

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Did you all want to start May 10th or June 10th?

Nicole Field (nicolefield) | 1778 comments I am so excited for this one!

Yzabel Ginsberg (yzabelginsberg) | 159 comments I'll probably join. It's been on my TBR for some time, after all.

Beth | 502 comments I just reserved this. I hope it arrives in time for me to join in!

Nicole Field (nicolefield) | 1778 comments I hope so too. I can't believe how long this has taken me to get to. So glad I suggested it now.

message 8: by Britta (new) - added it

Britta (macdeath) | 148 comments Hi guys! :) Can't wait to start.
How are we going to do this?

Nicole Field (nicolefield) | 1778 comments I guess we read a couple of chapters a day. It's not a particularly long book, so it shouldn't take us too long to get through.

message 10: by Britta (new) - added it

Britta (macdeath) | 148 comments How are you guys doing? I read a few chapters today.

Nicole Field (nicolefield) | 1778 comments Ack, I am late at starting this one. Other books have gone over time. But I'm down to just two now, so I should start making good progress.

message 12: by Beth (last edited Jun 11, 2014 01:31PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beth | 502 comments I finished this yesterday.

I liked this, but it's a little too detached for me. It has some haunting moments - especially the siege of Leningrad - but I wasn't as emotionally invested as I thought I would be. Marya's ruthlessness (view spoiler) makes her difficult to sympathize with sometimes. But she interesting.

Valente's writing is beautiful. I like the discussion of stories:
"A novelist writes a long kind of story, with . . . a lot of smaller stories in it, and motifs, and symbols,and sometimes things in the stories really happened, and sometimes they didn't."
"It's boring to keep telling stories where people just get born and grow up and get married and die. So they add strange things in, to make it more interesting when a person is born, more satisfying when they get married, sadder when they die."

Anyone else finished it yet?

Nicole Field (nicolefield) | 1778 comments I finished this a little while ago and, like you, I found Cathrynne's writing amazing and lyrical but this story was just too detached and fragmented for me.

message 14: by Beth (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beth | 502 comments I also think it's interesting that Marya is the fourth daughter, while things in fairy tales tend to come in threes. Even here - Marya's three tasks, for instance. Marya as the fourth, rather than third, daughter breaks this pattern.

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