I finished the most interesting book the other day, a book that felt so original it was refreshing.
Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter is a modern retelling of a classic Russian folktale. In Brooklyn the days are short and the nights are long… like really long, almost never ending. In Vassa’s little pocket of Brooklyn magic is real but smart girls steer clear of it. Vassa may be smart but she is also reckless and restless and she finds her way into magical trouble that doesn’t want to let her go.
Vassa finds herself “employed” by a convenience store named BY’s, known for its dancing jingle and beheading shoplifters. Vassa must survive three endless nights and navigate impossible tasks or risk losing her own head. But Vassa has a good luck charm up her sleeve.
Erg is a wooden doll with quite an attitude and a voracious hunger. But Erg has ulterior motives and Vassa is conflicted and confused. What Vassa does know, is that BY’s is wrong and if she is going to die anyway, then she is going to go down fighting. Can Vassa survive the convenience store from hell? Will she uncover Erg’s secrets? And will night ever end?
Vassa in the Night is so weirdly original that I couldn’t put it down. At the same time, I wanted to stop reading and find the Russian folktale just to see what matched up and what didn’t.
This book was a dark fairytale, with severed limb, bizarro dreams, magical beings and more. And yet, I found it really easy to read. Even though the story was complex and there were many a “wtf” moments, it wasn’t a hard or confusing read. This is hard to do when the book is supposed to leave you questioning until the end, but it succeeds. It was also suspenseful and well paced.
I didn’t really care for Vassa one way or another but I enjoyed the rest of the characters immensely, especially the two lawyers and even the severed hands. Now that I think of it, there were a lot of details in this book that I wanted to actually see. I’d love to see an artists interpretation of this book in a graphic novel. Seems like just the right kind of weird for something like that.
Overall, this was an entertaining read. This book is targeted to teens. There is some violence but then what doesn’t have violence these days. And the violence almost feels abstract, like you are watching it happen through several filters. A fun read in my opinion, so it gets 4.5 stars. Time to go find the folktale!
That’s all for now!