On this middle-grade fantasy/historic novel, a Russian American lady journeys into folklore to confront witches and save her household.
Vasilisa Petrovna Nikolayeva and her Babka (grandmother) had been each named for Vasilisa the Courageous, the Russian fairy-tale hero who overcomes Baba Yaga, a fearsome witch. Now 13 years outdated, Vasilisa nonetheless loves to listen to her mom and grandmother inform the tales, which hyperlink their present-day lives within the 1919 metal city of Edenfall, Pennsylvania, to their homeland. The three cling even nearer as a result of Vasilisa’s Papa has been lacking since combating within the trenches close to Flanders, presumed useless. The household’s monetary difficulties have been lessened by the horrifying Mr. Goladyen, additionally a Russian immigrant, who’s pressuring Vasilisa’s mom to marry him. Additional, Vasilisa suspects he has one thing to do along with her once-hale grandmother’s sudden decline into confusion and weak spot. In the meantime, Ivan Ivanovich Volkonsky arrives in Edenfall, having promised his dying father to assist the elder Vasilisa. Discovering that Mr. Goladyen was his father’s betrayer, Ivan vows revenge. To set issues proper, younger Vasilisa and Ivan should go on a quest to legendary Outdated Rus, face three Baba Yaga witches, and discover an ogre’s egg. On this sequence opener, Mathison provides two intriguing settings from historical past and fable, each with their very own spooky mysteries, hardships, helpers, and villains. Whereas the Edenfall scenes are nicely drawn, the storytelling turns into actually compelling in Outdated Rus, as fable comes vividly to life. The latter setting additionally higher matches the guide’s literary, Outdated World phrasing used all through (resembling, “All the time was my daughter thus”), which feels jarring towards Edenfall’s slangy American voices (“What a whopper”). Although often a swish author, the writer overuses quirk as a transitive verb.
A narrative that richly integrates a fairy story, historical past, and a coming-of-age quest.
Pub Date: at this time
Web page Depend: 310
Writer: Starr Creek Press
Evaluation Posted On-line: Feb. 19, 2021