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Friday Mini Reviews #11 - Deathless, The Broken Kingdoms and Queen of the World

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

Synopsis from Goodreads
 A glorious retelling of the Russian folktale Marya Morevna and Koschei the Deathless, set in a mysterious version of St. Petersburg during the first half of the 20th century.

Child of the revolution, maiden of myth, bride of darkness.

A handsome young man arrives in St Petersburg at the house of Marya Morevna. He is Koschei, the Tsar of Life, and he is Marya's fate.

Koschei leads Marya to his kingdom, where she becomes a warrior in his tireless battle against his own brother, the Tsar of Death.

Years pass. Battle-hardened, scarred by love, and longing for respite, Marya returns to St Petersburg - only to discover a place as pitiful as the land she has just fled: a starveling city, haunted by death.

Deathless is a fierce story of life and death, love and power, old memories, deep myth and dark magic, set against the history of Russia in the twentieth century. It is, quite simply, unforgettable.
Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond


* * *
That book was stunning! It felt so Russian, in my mind I could almost read it in Russian. Beautiful work, a must read for anyone interested in Russian history and mythology. It wrenched my heart out of my chest and stomped it into the ground. I laughed, I cried, I couldn't keep myself away until I finished reading it. Highly, highly recommended.
* * *
Боже мой, эта книга была ностолько прекрасной, что я не думаю, что я когда-либо смогу её забыть. Она казалась настолько русской, что мне иногда представлялось, что я читаю её на русском языке. Книга о Кощее и Марии Моревне такими, какими вы их никогда больше не увидите. Книга о боли и любви, о революции и о Ленинграде во время блокады. Я смеялась и плакала и не могда остановиться, и даже от воспоминаний об этой книге у меня в глазах стоят слёзы. Прошу, даже умоляю - прочитайте!

The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (The Inheritance Trilogy #2)


Synopsis from Goodreads

In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a homeless man who glows like a living sun to her strange sight. This act of kindness engulfs Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy. Someone, somehow, is murdering godlings, leaving their desecrated bodies all over the city.

Oree's peculiar guest is at the heart of it, his presence putting her in mortal danger -- but is it him the killers want, or Oree? And is the earthly power of the Arameri king their ultimate goal, or have they set their sights on the Lord of Night himself?
Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK


* * *
Another really strong fantasy from N.K. Jemisin. Oree is a beautiful, bittersweet character, and her fight for everyone dispossessed and for the man she loves is even more touching because she is herself a blind and poor artist. Very exciting, gripping and wonderful fantasy. Highly recommended.
* * *
Н.К.Джемизин пишет фэнтэзи так жизненно, что в характеров не влюбиться и за них не переживать невозможно. Ори - слепая и бедная художница, чья борьба за любимых ею людей и за Отца Света не может оставить вас безразличными. Быстрое, напичканное экшн и тайнами фэнтэзи, которое я читала с огромным удовольствием. Рекомендую!

Queen of The World by Ben Hennessy


Synopsis from Goodreads

In the legends, the Four saved the world from war and poverty. These incredible men walked the lands, seeking an audience with the ruler of each nation. They demanded that mankind focus its efforts on education, trade and culture. No longer would the people face starvation and terror. This commandment was enforced with displays of miraculous power. After all, it is difficult to argue with the Gods. Once finished, the Four left with a promise: If ever your people fall back into darkness, then we shall return.

Now, over five centuries later, Sarene grows tired of her village life. Suffocated by the confines of her surroundings and the overbearing protection of her family, she yearns to have an adventure of her own.

But the world outside is not as tranquil as it seems.

And Sarene is already in danger...

Published by Inspired Quill, Ben Hennessy's debut novel tells the story of a young girl at the centre of a whirlwind of political ambition, deadly creatures and men who are as Gods.
Amazon  UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond


* * *
I think reading this one after wonderful N.K. Jemisin was a mistake because in comparison it was really lacking that spark, although it's a very nice fantasy in its own right. I wasn't convinced about Sarene's importance and I also didn't know what to think about the Four gods. Recommended to everyone who liked Dreamwielder.
* * *
Так себе фэнтэзи, особенно если читать её после Н.К. Джемизин. Вот не хватает в ней чего-то. Однако книга читается быстро и в ней достаточно юмора и  экшна, чтобы удержать наше внимание. Больше мне собственно говоря добавить нечего.


zEmfIrKa said...

I always find that I'm very skeptical towards anyone/anything trying to explain Russian culture/mythology/folklore, when they are not Russian. So, I'm sure it must've been a really good book, since you are giving it such a praise! :)

I just love the cover on the Broken Kingdoms - gorgeous! Although, I don't read as much fantasy as of late.

Great mini reviews as always Kara!

Mel@Thedailyprophecy said...

Deathless sounds really, really good! I like Russian elements. I haven't heard of Queen of the world before, I'm going to check it out :)


Blodeuedd said...

After having read an awesome book other books sure have a hard time keeping up

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