Katherine Arden has created a masterpiece. This book sets my rating scale.
If you like… Russian characters, folklore retellings, religious symbolism, unconventional heroines, winter.
Guys. This book had me sobbing.
If you’re looking for frustration, fear, and triumph, all on the same page? It’s right here.
This book started well, if not at a sprinting pace. Then, while I was happily meandering through the Russian folklore and excellent characterization, it grabbed me by the throat and dragged me through a forest of emotion and terror that I had to claw my way back out of when I finally finished the last page.
This is a retelling of a Russian story in wonderfully rendered fairytale style. The characters are unique, and their relationships are described in striking detail. The loyalty, bravery, and depravity is detailed in a way that makes it feel real.
The symbolism is on point. The religious plot devices are so clever I wanted to run around my whole house in excited frustration. I walked instead to not alarm my family while *mild spoilers* giving them a detailed summary of the brilliant faux christ figure. Gahhh. Too good.
P.S. When you get to Page 167 come tell me about it. I died.