By Catherynne M. Valente
Why this book?
Set in Russia during World War II, this is a retelling of The Death of Koschei the Deathless. I was absolutely ensnared by the lush prose and the heart-tugging plight of a girl whose youth was stolen by war and hunger and strife. Though we live in very different times and places, in Marya Morevna I saw myself, a girl who reads Pushkin and feels more comfortable among the impossible creatures that dwell within the walls of her house than with the other kids at school. A girl whose childhood is both magical and frightening, who is one day rescued—or kidnapped?—from her stifling overcrowded home by an immortal being straight out of a fairy tale, a girl who suddenly learns that the world is far more wondrous and terrible than she could ever have imagined. At times baffling, challenging, beautiful, and deeply resonant, Deathless is one of my absolute favorite books, and perfect to read with a hot cup of tea as the snow falls silently on the other side of a half-fogged window.
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