How I came to this book is through research. I am looking into the various creepy crawlies of various cultures folklore. I asked a friend that was raised in Russia about Russian folklore. She gave me The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia to read before we discuss it.
I have to admit that once I started this it was a page turner. It’s set in modern times but draws on the legend of pre-revolution and revolutionary Russia. Heck we even see Soviet Russian fall into legend.
The story is bleak much like what I’ve been led to believe is the traditional Russian outlook. I found it interesting to hear how the average person felt about the Soviet fall. Before the fantasy part comes forward in this urban fantasy we get a glimpse into post-Soviet Moscow.
The heroes and villains of the fantasy segment are all new to me and fascinating. I especially liked Koschei the Deathless. He was a very intriguing fellow. One-eyed Likho was intriguing and very creepy. Also the November Revolutionists Wife Marya Morevna was a more modern myth that was elegant and tough.
Overall the story was fast paced and kept me turning the page to see what happens next. The ending was very fitting for the story and we learn why people were turning into Jackdaws including the main character’s sister.
I enjoyed the book so much that I have gotten The Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente to read another take on Koschei and Marya.
The only thing I found distracting was the over use of the ‘said’ tag. I noticed it early on and at times became distracted by it. Maybe it was an artifact of bad editing after translation. One of the first thing in writing is learning that said is dead in dialogue. There are many ways to indicate who is speaking. Often you don’t need to indicate but the flow of conversation between two will naturally do it.
I recommend this book to get a view from Russian eyes. It’s an urban fantasy that’s got a unique perspective this book is for you.
Until next time!