Deathless by Catherynne M.Valente is a retelling of classic Russian folklore from the perspective of Marya Morevna, focusing upon the relationship between Marya and Koschei the deathless, the tsar of life. The novel is set in Leningrad (now St.Petersburg) during the second world war, and Valente manages to incorporate both political and fantastical elements into the novel.
I enjoyed the author’s writing style and found some paragraphs to be arresting, but I feel this did not make up for the problems I found with the plot. Although the themes explored (especially magic) created some very interesting and unique passages, at the same time I found the plot to be full of YA tropes and cliches. There was even a love triangle, which annoyed me, but at the very least moved the story along.
In regards to characters, only a few major ones are developed thoroughly, and I found I barely experienced any emotional attachment to them. Although Marya is a strong character, the choices she makes throughout the novel and certain aspects of Koschei she choses to ignore make her seem quite the opposite at points. In terms of male characters, Koschei was adequately complex and flawed. Overall, I gave the novel 3 stars. I recommend you pick it up if you are interested in fairy tales and Russian history.
Rascal Rating: 3 stars
Almas Khan is a fifteen-year-old artist, aspiring author, and avid consumer of dark chocolates. She lives in a small Canadian city where she spends most of her time with her nose in a book, battles the patriarchy, longs for a kitten, and does schoolwork. Find her on Tumblr and @itsalmaskhan.
November's Theme is Melodies:
Music is an art form that filters through our lives like a gentle breeze or formidable wind, always transient but stimulating. Whether is it you listen to pop, rap, indie, country, or something else entirely, the music you consume has an effect on your mood and perhaps even your life, if you really listen. This month, A Blogful of Sugar will be exploring how music finds its way different parts of our lives.