"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Monday, November 28, 2016

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter is nothing like I thought it would be. Actually, I don't know what I thought it would be but it wasn't like anything I've ever read before and it was really, really weird, so that counts as unexpected, right? Before I reached page 50 there was no way I was going to finish it...it was too weird and I couldn't figure out what was going on. But I have this thing about not abandoning books before a good, heartfelt try so I read on. By page 100 I could see the potential and I was completely confused. It was still weird. By page 150 I was hooked and reading as fast as I could to figure out how this weird tale was going to work out.

Let's see, what was so weird about it?
     To begin with, Vassa, the main character, has a little doll which lives under her clothes and has a huge appetite. She also steals things.
     Then there is a store which spins and moves up and down deciding to allow or not allow entrance.
     The store is guarded by a motocycling portion of the night.
     And, of course since it is from a Russian fairy tale, there is a witch with a name close to Baba Yaga and lots of swans. I am not familiar with the fairy tale it retells: Vassilissa the Beautiful.

What I liked about the book.
     Well, it was unpredictable.  Ever feel like you are reading the same story over and over? Not this time.
     The characters grew on me. Even the detached hands that do the witch's dirty work.
     I knew everything was going to be OK in the end, but I had no idea how we were going to get there. So I was satisfied with the entirety of the tale.

Will I recommend it to other readers? Why not? But I will add a caveat about how weird it is and how the reader will need to be patient to allow the story to unfold.

Here is what a few other readers (from Goodreads) had to say about Vassa in the Night:
This is one of those books that I absolutely loved but I'd hesitate before rushing out to recommend it. Because it's weird. No, seriously, it's REALLY weird.---Emily May
Well that was COMPLETELY BIZARRE...but in a good way! You know what makes sense in this book? Absolutely nothing. Welcome to Russian foklore!  ---Cait from Paper Fury
This book was so bizarre. Magical realism in YA, at its finest. Bizarre, but intriguing. ---Alyssa 
This is what a YA book should be -- dark, specific, weird... Vassa lives in a dystopian futuristic Brooklyn with Erg, the doll who lives in her pocket. There is so much wonderful imagery. The perilous journey Vassa must take to Baba Yar's convenience store, the scuttling helpers there. The whole thing is like Tim Burton meets Judy Bloom in a Salvador Dali painting. Or maybe Madeline L'Engle meets Fellini. Whichever: read and love. ---Elizabeth Gold
This is probably one of the weirdest books I have ever read and I can tell you it is so worth the read. ---Michelle
This was so, so weird. I enjoyed the hell out of it!---Petra 
See? I am not alone. Weird, but wonderful. Oddly fantastic. Read it, I dare you, but be sure to keep an open mind...weirdness guaranteed.


  1. Looks like I will be picking this one up next Halloween. :)

  2. I think this one seems a little weird for me :-)


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