I can’t believe I still haven’t reviewed Vassa in the Night here. I received it last year in the October Owlcrate (Once Upon a Dream) and I finally read it in January, not really knowing what to expect, and it was amazing.
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Russian Mythology, Retelling
Author: Sarah Porter
Publication: September 2016
My rating: ★★★★✩
In a magical Brooklyn, purple haired Vassa grew up with her step-mother and her two step-sisters, never truly finding her place in this family after her mom died, leaving behing a mischievous talking doll called Erg, and her father ran away.
Day after day, the nighs seem to get longer, but people keep on living their lives as if nothing strange was happening.
One night, all the lights in their flat goes off, and her sister dares her to go out and buy some light bulbs at the local convenience store to buy some. Except this particular convienience store is a gruesome one with a very particular policy: all shoplifters are beheaded, their heads exposed in front of the shop for days, and Vassa has always avoided it. But her sister is driving her mad, and this night, she decides to go. It may be a suicide mission, but she decides she has nothing to lose.
The shop is no ordinary one though, and its magic wants to trap Vassa. But she also has magic of her own, and unexpected help…
Vassa in the Night is a dark tale of magic and death and hope, maybe. And I absolutely loved it. It is unlike anything else I have ever read. And I couldn’t put it down. I spend an entire weekend gasping, crying and hoping on my bed. This book really never let me down. From beginning to end, it is full of surprises. It’s a really original story, and I definitely recommend it if you are into dark twisted stories.
A word of advice: this book was based on the Russian folktale Vassilina the Beautiful, which I had never heard of before, and at first I was really confused, so I decided to check out what happened in the tale (I love Russian mythology) and it really helped with my understanding of the book, so I would really recommend doing that if you want to read it to (which, again, I really recommend). It really made me enjoy and appreciate the book more. I love reading retellings, because I like replacing original elements in the new story, and once I knew more about the original tale, I realised how smart and creative and smart this book was.
From beginning to end, it was honestly a rollercoaster of a ride.
Vassa is a relatable character, smart and unique. It was so wonderful to read about her. Each and every one of the side character is extremely well written, which makes the book very enjoyable.
I can’t quite put into words what I felt what reading this book, from laughter to heartbreak. One thing is sure, it was a unique read, and it definitely made me want to read more books like it. So if you have any recommendations, they are very welcome.
Please feel free to share your opinion in the comments if you have read this book as well. Honestly, this book is one I will never forget and I would love to discuss it.