Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Vassa in the Night gets 3.5 Stars {YA Lit} {Fantasy/Fairytale}

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter a fantasy, fairy tale, Russian folklore retelling.  Interesting, weird, dark, bizarre, interesting retelling set in Brooklyn.  October OwlCrate book. YA, Young Adult, Teen reed. 3.5 out of 5 stars in my book review. Alohamora Open a Book Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake is the first in a new fantasy action thrillers with a strong female lead character.  If you liked Red Queen or Throne of Glass then you should give this fun story a read.  4 out of 5 Stars in my book review of this Young Adult/YA/Teen read that adults can enjoy as well.  Content included as well as spoiler free zone in review. Alohamora Open a Book

October's Once Upon a Dream fairy tale OwlCrate subscription box book was Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter. This book was just published in October.  

I just finished this Young Adult (YA) fantasy/fairy tale retelling of a Russian folktale.  At times I was intrigued, surprised, sad, and confused.  The retelling of this bizarre folktale is modernized and set in Brooklyn; however, there is still plenty of magic and an overall dark feel.

The different kind of narrator at the beginning of the book reminded me of The Book Thief, and the night time focus with magic reminded of The Night Circus.  Though, the story line from Vassa in the Night was completely unique.    

Vassa in the Night earned 3.5 out of 5 stars in my book review.  I thought the modernized retelling of this Russian folktale was fun and unique.  It was so bizarre I couldn't predict the story.  Most of the magic in the story was completely understandable.  However, the end of the book got a little funky with the magic; the end of the book seemed almost too random.  The writing in those super magical moments, incredibly bizarre, and weird parts of the story were often confusing.  

All in all, the story was good and unique, but it was really weird.  I honestly was not anticipating the bizarre.  I really do like fairy tale retellings, and I was excited for a Russian one.  I had never read a Russian folk tale retelling.  However, I struggled with Vassa in the Night a bit b/c of the bizarre and confusing.  Though, to be fair, a lot of Russian folklore and folktales are bizarre, so if you go into reading knowing that you may fair better.

As far as content is concerned, there is action, very little romance (Vassa has a crush, but that is the extent), and a little language.  I would say readers who love urban fantasy books, especially girls, will enjoy this novel.

Plus, for the Harry Potter fans... Babs, the evil witch in the story, reminded me of Umbridge.  I hate Umbridge, and I definitely hated Babs Yagg.  

Amazon has the following book review from School Library Journal: 

"Gr 9 Up—Sixteen-year-old Vassa Lisa Lowenstein's mother is dead, and her father is gone. She has a stepmother and two stepsisters. It's an odd living arrangement but no more peculiar than a lot of things in her working-class Brooklyn neighborhood. The nights have been especially strange, growing longer and longer. When her stepsister sends Vassa out in the middle of the night for lightbulbs, the only store that's still open is the local BY's. Everyone knows about BY's, and its owner Babs Yagg, but people do tend to remember a store that dances around on chicken legs and has a habit of decapitating shoplifters. When things don't go as planned in BY's, it will take all of Vassa's wits and her enchanted wooden doll Erg's cunning to escape the store alive and maybe even break whatever curse has been placed on Brooklyn's nights. This stand-alone urban fantasy is inspired by the Russian fairy tale "Vasilisa the Beautiful." Although Vassa is described as incredibly pale, the rest of the book is populated with characters who are realistically diverse for its urban location. Evocative settings and imagery help bring this bizarre corner of Brooklyn to life. Vassa is a cynical, no-nonsense character who is quick to make jokes and take risks with the delightfully sharp-tongued Erg at her side. A deliberate lack of romantic tension makes this a refreshing read, and elements of traditional horror blend well with high-concept fantasy in this surprising and engaging tale. VERDICT A must-have for YA urban fantasy collections."

What do you think?  Are you going to check Vassa in the Night out? 

Happy YA/Teen Fairy Tale Retelling Reading!

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