Warning: THERE ARE SPOILERS BELOW.
**** – This book was astonishing. I loved it so much. It was truly intoxicating. I don’t even know if I’ve had enough time to reflect upon it as I only finished it last night, but I’m in a bit of a hurry as I’m leaving for Falmouth for a mini break in less than an hour! However, I know it will stay with me for a very, very long time.
I read this book full of suspense and amazement on almost every page. As soon as I finished it, I began research on the Koschei myth and, of course, Marya. As I mentioned in my previous post, I am a person who adores anything set in Russia, so when I heard that this book existed, I was straight on Amazon to order it.
The concept was invigorating, and Valente made it wholly original by intertwining it with Russian history, thus interweaving history and myth – which works brilliantly! Marya was a breath of fresh air as a character; torn between wanting to remain partly innocent (as seen by her desperate attempt to communicate with the Yelena’s/Vasilisa’s in the factory) and her gradual transformation into a hardened soul (as seen when she kidnaps Ivan and attempts to treat him in much the same way Koschei first treated her).
I loved the use of repeating phrases, especially in the scenes where Marys reunites with her sisters. I thought it really added another layer to the text. The gradual parallels between Koschei and Marya were, in my opinion, also quite touching. And of course, the ending was a rather unexpected and saddening one – at least it was to me. The whole text was infused with magic, beautifully written, and I would highly recommend it to everyone, especially those who love myth and history as much as I do.