Author: Catherine M. Valente
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Historical, Fairy Tales
Publisher: Tor Books (Macmillan Publishers)
Date published: March 29, 2011
A physical copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Koschei the Deathless is to Russian folklore what devils or wicked witches are to European culture: a menacing, evil figure; the villain of countless stories which have been passed on through story and text for generations. But Koschei has never before been seen through the eyes of Catherynne Valente, whose modernized and transformed take on the legend brings the action to modern times, spanning many of the great developments of Russian history in the twentieth century.
Deathless, however, is no dry, historical tome: it lights up like fire as the young Marya Morevna transforms from a clever child of the revolution, to Koschei’s beautiful bride, to his eventual undoing. Along the way there are Stalinist house elves, magical quests, secrecy and bureaucracy, and games of lust and power. All told, Deathless is a collision of magical history and actual history, of revolution and mythology, of love and death, which will bring Russian myth back to life in a stunning new incarnation.
⤖ My Review ⬻
I’d been wanting to read Catherine M. Valente’s Deathless ever since I first heard about it a few years ago. And I’m so happy that I was finally able to get to it! I don’t know the original fairytale/s that Deathless is maybe based off of, but I do know that Valente wrote it beautifully. That was one of the two expectations I had for this book, and she did not disappoint. My other expectation was that Deathless would remind me of the stories that my grandparents told as a child. Deathless is based on Slavic fairytales, and Romanian is a romantic language, but Romania and Russia are close enough for the stories and storytelling to be very similar.
This book definitely gave me major nostalgia while also being something completely unique, completely different. There was something about the atmosphere that was a mix of the fairytales I was told as a child and something that is entirely Valente. I was completely spellbound and while I wanted, badly, to know what was going to happen, I also didn’t want Deathless to ever end! I saw that there seems to be a sequel in the works, but since this first book came out in 2011 and the sequel isn’t out yet, I’ll try not to get my hopes up too high, haha. I suppose I can pass the time by reading the rest of Valente’s backlist though!
⤖ About the Author ⬻
Catherynne M. Valente was born on Cinco de Mayo, 1979 in Seattle, WA, but grew up in in the wheatgrass paradise of Northern California. She graduated from high school at age 15, going on to UC San Diego and Edinburgh University, receiving her B.A. in Classics with an emphasis in Ancient Greek Linguistics. She then drifted away from her M.A. program and into a long residence in the concrete and camphor wilds of Japan. She currently lives in Maine with her partner, two dogs, and three cats, having drifted back to America and the mythic frontier of the Midwest.
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THANK YOU FOR READING MY REVIEW! HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT DID YOU THINK? AND IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT YET, DO YOU WANT TO, OR NOT? HOW COME? LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS!