Tor. Apr. 2011. c.352p. ISBN 9780765326300. $24.99. FANTASY
OrangeReviewStarKoschei the Deathless, the dark, magical, and powerful Tsar of Life, has fallen in love. Marya Morevna, a human girl and a daughter of the Russian Revolution, is his chosen bride, and one gray afternoon he steals her away to his land of Buyan. There their relationship blossoms, and through the years the dramas of the world—both Koschei's world and Marya's—are reflected in their arguments, their passions, and their love. With poetic language, a tempest of emotion, and the skill of a master storyteller, Valente (The Orphan's Tales; In the Night Garden; Palimpset) juxtaposes the stripped-down, starved reality of Soviet Russia with luxurious, magical worlds tucked away, out of human sight, before tying them together with the struggles universal to us all—life, death, love, war, hunger, prosperity, and loss.
VERDICT This complex and invigorating reimagined piece of Russian folklore by an award-winning author will cast a spell on readers and not let go. For fans of Neil Gaiman, Gregory Maguire, and the like, this is essential.
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