Book - 2011
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A full-length retelling of the Russian folktake featuring Marya Morevna and Koschei the Deathless is set in an alternate version of St. Petersburg in the first half of the 20th century and follows the transformation of a clever child of the revolution to the beautiful bride of a menacing overlord.
Publisher: New York : Tor, 2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780765326300
Characteristics: 352 p. ; 22 cm


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Jun 13, 2017

Oh man this book! It took me a hot second to get in to- I'm very, very unfamiliar with Russian folklore, so I spent probably the first ~20% of the book worried it was going above my head, but you catch up with the pacing of the book pretty quickly after a certain point, and then you're really hooked! Valente's writing is downright gorgeous--the descriptions she paints are just stunning, and the dialogue really hits back on that whole 'fairy tale' feeling. I wonder what it would be like to approach this book with a greater sense of the story behind the story she's telling, though the history pieces I could pick up better.

The part where she was living inside the egg with all the primary figures of the Russian Revolution especially tickled me, as I could pick out who they were!

Overall, I strongly recommend this, and am really excited to look into her other works to see what else she's produced--as well as maybe looking for readalikes for things similar to this book in tone!

Mar 22, 2017

Valente's work is always startling in it's beauty, and Deathless is no different. This would make for a marvelous entry point to her works - rooted in Russian folklore and Russian history, it has all the magic of her other works, but grounded in real struggle and triumph. It pulls you in inexorably, until you find yourself racing to the end of the story, much like Marya Morevna herself.

Nov 11, 2013

This book is good and then it's madness. Keep it together in those last 60 or so pages.

Feb 06, 2013

This was the first Valente book I read, and I fell in love almost immediately. There's snatches of history and fairy tale references, and it's about a girl who has to make decisions in a world filled with things she doesn't know of. It's really lovely.

Oct 04, 2012

I loved the main character, and Valente has a great grasp of fables and early-20th-century Soviet social structure that give this novel plenty of color. But unfortunately, I went into this hoping for a novel about the interplay of history and myth (i.e., something similar to "Pan's Labyrinth"), only to find that this is actually a pure fairy-tale novel that uses its historical content as window-dressing before crossing over into total dream-logic in the last 60 pages or so. Still a highly recommended book if that's what you're looking for, but it wasn't exactly my cup of tea.

Jun 26, 2012

Typical Catherynne Valente which means it is extermely unique and amazing in the way only she can.

whetstone Nov 04, 2011

An utterly unique, imaginative, beautiful book.

It is also very, very strange.

After I borrowed this one I had to buy my own copy.

Aug 15, 2011

I like clean prose. No lengthy, awkward descriptions or excessive punctuation. Despite Valente's overwrought and at times laboured delivery, she has managed to create a raw, beautiful, and ultimately engrossing vision. The strength of her story far outweighs any stylistic objections.


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