Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Title: Vassa in the Night
Author: Sarah Porter
Narrator(s): Madeleine Maby
Series: stand-alone
Length: 10 hrs 47 mins
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Source: ARC received from publisher, purchased audiobook
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Add to Goodreads
In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling out again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair…

What a lovely, weird little book. It was so different and unique and definitely something you have to be in the right mood or frame of mind for. But it was definitely MY kind of book. :D I'm all about the weird. It's also a retelling of sorts, but as I'm not very familiar with the original story, I can't attest to how closely this novel follows the tale of Vassilissa the Beautiful. But I can say that I'm very much in the mood for more Russian folklore now because of this book.

I love stories of fair maidens trying to outwit spiteful, underhanded tricksters. Enter sarcastic, unflinching Vassa as the fair maiden and old, seemingly harmless Babs as the trickster, and I was hooked. I really enjoyed reading to discover the connection between these two and where Erg, the faithful wooden sidekick fit in. Lest you be worried, a talking wooden doll is probably the least creepy thing about this book.

Honestly, I loved Vassa and Erg separately, but it was their banter and every encounter that made this story fun. This book could have simply been menacing and creepy, but those two together brought a hint of levity to the story that was sorely needed. Especially since there were other factors that made this novel just completely bizarre, including the fact that the store dances upon a pair of chicken legs, there are hands sans bodies that govern the store, and the security for the store (besides the severed hands, obvi) is a man-who-is-not-a-man-at-all riding a circuitous route around the store.

You discover all of these things very early on and they're not even the weirdest part of the story. Yep, it gets even weirder. For example, how all of these things are linked and why there's a witch's curse to begin with. There's little romance and a whole lot of dismemberment, so it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but I kind of liked how nonchalant the book was about all of that.

And even though I had a copy from the publisher, I waited to listen to this story because there are just some stories you know are going to be better on audio, and this is one. Madeleine Maby gets every bit of Vassa's snark right and her voices for the other characters are kinda perfectly creepy. This was actually the ideal novel to read (or listen to) right before Halloween.


GIF it to me straight:
After this book, I really shouldn't have been surprised at how easy it was to find a dancing house GIF.

About the author:

I write stories that seem to me to be quite true enough for all practical purposes. Among them are VASSA IN THE NIGHT, THE LOST VOICES TRILOGY, and the forthcoming WHEN I CAST YOUR SHADOW and TENTACLE AND WING. Realism makes little sense to me and I experience more truth in the fantastic. I always have new novels underway, both Young Adult and Grownup/ Literary/ Speculative. When not writing my own weird stuff, I can often be found leading creative writing workshops with amazing young NYC public-school writers via Teachers & Writers Collaborative. Or I might be drawing, or gardening, or wandering wraithlike through the streets. I live in Brooklyn, land of mystery, with my awesome husband Todd and our two cats, Jub Jub and Delphine.

Find Sarah:

WebsiteTwitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...