Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente


Since I already featured her other new book, I shouldn't ignore this one. Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente was released in late March and slipped past my radar until now. (I really have been very, very busy with my own books!) This one is fascinating because Valente draws inspiration from multiple Russian fairy tales and folklore figures, including Baba Yaya, Maria Morevna and Koschei the Deathless. No, I haven't read it, but Russian folklore is a great resource and I look forward to when I read this one and see how Valente has played with the story.
Book description from the publisher:

Koschei the Deathless is to Russian folklore what devils or wicked witches are to European culture: a menacing, evil figure; the villain of countless stories which have been passed on through story and text for generations. But Koschei has never before been seen through the eyes of Catherynne Valente, whose modernized and transformed take on the legend brings the action to modern times, spanning many of the great developments of Russian history in the twentieth century.

Deathless, however, is no dry, historical tome: it lights up like fire as the young Marya Morevna transforms from a clever child of the revolution, to Koschei’s beautiful bride, to his eventual undoing. Along the way there are Stalinist house elves, magical quests, secrecy and bureaucracy, and games of lust and power. All told, Deathless is a collision of magical history and actual history, of revolution and mythology, of love and death, which will bring Russian myth back to life in a stunning new incarnation.

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