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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

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 away 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…

Ok this is a hard one, but I felt it needed a proper review. Vassa in the Night is a retelling of a Russian folk tale called Vasilisa the Beautiful  which I had never heard before and is quite an interesting tale. I recommend reading it before picking up this novel.

I didn't care for Sarah Porter's other books so much, and enjoyed this one quite a bit more. The writing is beautiful and the story VERY unique. However that uniqueness can work for and against it. This book is weird, and if it's weird for me that says a lot because I enjoy anything odd, macabre or eccentric.  It is a little confusing, there is a lot to keep track of and there are quite a few characters. I got lost a few times and had to go back and re read to make sure I either a)understood what was going on or b)had read what I thought I read.

Vassa is an interesting character, not a Mary Sue, not particularly special in any way by herself. She is a bit whiny, but her character comes together at the end in a nice way. There isn't any romance in this book, which I must say I enjoyed. My favorite character was Erg her talking doll.

I felt the world building was a little lax, if it makes sense, there was too much information and not enough information all at the same time, which didn't help the confusing aspects of this novel. It reads in some parts like a folktale and in others like a traditional YA novel.

This is not a book to pick up simply because you like fairy tale retellings. In fact I probably wouldn't recommend this at all if that's what you're looking for. This book is dark, VERY VERY strange, a bit complicated, funny, heart felt, beautiful and eye twitch worthy all at the same time.  I am glad I read it. Though, it took a bit for me to get into it, about 30 pages.  I am also glad I didn't buy it because I won't be reading it again.

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