Monday 8 June 2020

VASSA IN THE NIGHT by Sarah Porter

Vassa in the Night
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this book on my Paperwhite for a while and have been meaning to read it even longer. But this weekend, I decided it was definitely time.

Vassa lives in an apartment in Brooklyn with her stepmother, stepsister and half-sister. They're not your average family, but Vassa isn't an average teenager. For one, she has a pesky magical companion. And the nights seem to last longer all the time.

The night one of her sisters sends her off to buy lightbulbs, she finds herself stuck inside a very dangerous store working for a wicked woman, inside a patch of land that plays by its own freaky rules...

What an awesome & bizarre book this turned out to be. In the best way possible.

I was absolutely enthralled from the beginning, because this story takes the reader on a wild and fantastical adventure through some murky locations and macabre situations.

It's weird and wonderful, dripping with atmosphere and told in a beautiful way. At times, it feels like falling from one nightmare into another, and then waking inside a beautiful dream. Only to once again tumble deep into an abyss where logic doesn't matter and magic is the only answer. Everything feels upside down and like there are pieces missing, because there are. And finding them is only half the fun.

This story is based on the Russian folktale, Vasilisa the Beautiful. I'm a fan of Baba Yaga tales, so of course I enjoyed this version. Those BY's stores were creepy as fuck, and the imagery so perfect that the bright colours in-store totally matched the all-consuming darkness outside, and the horrid poles around the perimeter.

Vassa was such a great character. She seems so immature and her reckless actions get her in trouble. But at the same time, she handles everything thrown in her path with strength, and doesn't question when things get really strange. She's also caring, and someone who is able to win over the most unexpected creatures because of her determination to do the right thing. And to be honest, the grief she's suffering as a result of her parents is truly heartbreaking.

There are a lot of very cool things that happen, and also plenty of bloody stuff. There's no holding back the horror, and I loved it. Babs is especially horrible, and doesn't care about how barbaric she has to get to keep order in her store.

Oh, and I have to mention Erg because she was cheeky, sneaky, snarky and her journey is as important as Vassa's.

I loved this book. It's special in so many amazing ways. It's got a bit of everything packed into a wondrous violent little package. It also captures the true nature of fairy tales because it's wicked to the very core. 😈

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