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review 2017-05-11 18:50
Deathless / Catherynne Valente
Deathless - Catherynne M. Valente

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.

 

I chose to read this book because it was one of the oldest on my TBR list and it was available at the library. Not maybe the most compelling reasons to make a selection, and it seems that I haven’t been in the correct mood to appreciate it.

Catherynne Valente is an excellent writer. I can’t complain about the writing style, or the vocabulary, or anything like that. The fault is mine—I don’t know enough about Russian folk tales to properly appreciate this retelling.

What did I like? The Stalinist house elves. They were awesome!

I spent the whole book feeling like there was something just out of my reach, something that just wasn’t clicking. It also didn’t help that life has been especially busy of late and I haven’t had the usual amount of time to devote to Deathless. Your mileage may vary.

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text 2017-05-09 18:12
Books I Need to Finish, Already!
A Beautiful Truth - Colin McAdam
Deathless - Catherynne M. Valente
No Bed for Bacon - S.J. Simon,Caryl Brahms
Shadow Games - Glen Cook

I'm house and cat sitting for my cousin this week and next.  I thought I'd have lots of time to read.  Then when I got to the house last night, I found her brother there, doing some handyman work for the neighbour & planning to stay until Wednesday.  I think he was disappointed last night that I didn't spend more time visiting with him, so tonight I plan to ask him out to dinner.  At least we can talk while we eat.

 

I need to finish A Beautiful Truth for my real-life book club on Friday night.  (I also need to schedule time to make some rice krispie squares for that event).

 

Deathless is the next book due at the library, but I'm stalled right now--it's just not engaging me, despite the fact that it's well written.

 

No Bed for Bacon is good, I just need to have time to circle back to it.  It's an interlibrary loan, so it can't be renewed & I want to get it finished.

 

Shadow Games is actually the most fun of the four, and I'm holding onto the remainder of it as a special treat for finishing the three above.

 

Meanwhile, I'm covered in cat hair--every time I cleaned off this morning, Mr Cat walked by to deposit some more fluff on my pants!  Did I mention that he's diabetic, so I'm giving him insulin shots night & morning?  When he heard my alarm go off this morning, he was immediately outside the bedroom door, yodelling.  It's going to be a long two weeks, folks.

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url 2017-04-13 00:22
Free Download from TOR.com
Deathless - Catherynne M. Valente

"Valente brings Russian folklore into the present day. Prepare for Stalinist house elves, a clever peasant girl named Marya, and a collision of magical history with actual history!

 

Download DEATHLESS here, available from April 10 to April 16, 2017

 

Please download your free copy of DEATHLESS by Catherynne M. Valente before 11:59 PM ET, April 16, 201


Keep track of all Tor.com eBook Club offerings and discussions on the Tor.com eBook Club tag page.


If you're experiencing technical difficulties, email "ebookclub@tor.com"."

Source: forms.em.penguinrandomhouse.com/ats/msg.aspx?sg1=34a162909d7589a64dc9cb13208692a7&aid=randohouseinc42151-20&ref=PRH6A17DC959AC5&linkid=PRH6A17DC959AC5&cdi=4C1CA876A4730665E0534FD66B0A3090&template_id=5895
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review 2017-04-08 03:35
The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home (Fairyland, #5) by Catherynne M. Valente
The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home - Ana Juan,Catherynne M. Valente

This is it. The final installment to this incredibly innovative, whimsical series. I've been following September and her crew for a couple of years now and it makes me have so many feelings. Happy, sad, excited, wonderful feelings! I hate that it's coming to an end (and I know she recently wrote a short story afterwards which I will be reading) because I love this series so much, but just as the narrator said, we can always come visit and spend some time together again.

 

I don't even know where to start with this review. It's always been difficult for me to review books I feel so much love and attachment to. Valente is a fantastic story-teller. She has the ability to weave a bizarre tale of magic and wonder around the reader. She gets you, as the reader, involved in her books with writing that leaves you breathless. She never talks down to you. No. She includes you. And I love her for that. I love that she wants you to be a part of the story. Not necessarily as stepping into September's shoes, or lack thereof, but to bring your own shoes and tag along with the characters. This book is no exception. I felt like I went on a very long adventure for years that I was happy to be on. I adored getting to see the characters grow and learn from when they were children to when they became teenagers to becoming young adults. It's incredible how talented of a writer Valente is and I'm looking forward to seeing where she goes next as a writer.

 

Speaking of characters, every single one of them is just as amazing as they are in the first book. September is a lot older, braver, daring, and fearless here. Saturday grows and regresses and grows again! (You should really read the book to understand what I mean.) A-Through-L is still the best Wyverary I have ever read about in fiction ever. I love how sweet and caring and excited he gets about books. (He's one of my favorite characters in this series.) We also see more of Hawthorn, Tambulaine, and Blunderbuss in this book as well. Hawthorn and Tamburlaine is there for a little bit and you can see that they are having their own private adventures~ Blunderbuss plays a key role here and she's just awesome! I mean, she kind of has to be since she's a wombat and all! X3 But seriously, I have no complaints about any of the characters. In fact, Valente even includes portions with September's family! After all, just because you're an adult, doesn't mean you can have your own fun and adventures, right?

 

This story in this book really brings a lot of questions you may have had throughout the series to the forefront. So many elements were explained and answered. There's so many unpredictable events, which just adds on to my love for this entire story! I love it when books aren't easy to decipher. I love not being able to tell when Valente is taking us. You think that one thing is going to happen, and then Valente flips it over and kicks it towards a ring of fire made of ice and you have no idea where you're headed. It's such a fun experience to see yourself, as the reader, wonder what's going on and then be amazed as soon as you see where you have landed! Man, I love this book!

 

I highly highly recommend you check out this entire series. It's whimsical, magical, incredible, fun that you're going to love if you adore fantasy, great characters, and even better writing. With these books, I have discovered and fallen in love with Catherynne Valente as an author and I will continue to read her writing for as long as she creates art. I love the Fairyland series and, I hope, you will, too.

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review 2017-04-04 21:27
The Boy Who Lost Fairyland (Fairyland, #4) by Catherynne M. Valente
The Boy Who Lost Fairyland - Ana Juan,Catherynne M. Valente

It should come as no surprise to anyone who's been following my reviews for some time now that I LOVE Catherynne Valente's Fairyland series. I adore them to bits! Ever since I read the first book in the series a couple of years ago, I couldn't get September and her adventures out of my head. I've gone back to re-read the first three books in the series to prepare myself for the fourth installment. And let me tell you, that is the best decision I could have made in regards to these books because refreshing my memory to what happened in the first three books made my reading experience for the fourth that much more enjoyable.

 

This time, however, we are not following September, Ell, and Saturday in their journey, but a whole new cast of characters. There's Hawthorn, Tamburlaine, Scratch, and Blunderbuss. Two changelings, a gramophone, and a stuffed wombat, respectfully. And we get to see how they stumbled from Fairyland to our world and back again. This story is filled with all the lovely whimsy and magic and adventure as all the other Fairyland books with an added layer of life lessons that all children must read.

 

And when I say "life lessons," I don't mean "please be nice," though that's definitely there. I mean Valente writes a beautiful narrative about a boy who is seen as "bizarre" and "different" and how poorly he is treated for being so, but in the process, Valente makes it clear that there's nothing wrong about sticking out. That there's nothing wrong with not being "normal." That each child (or adult) should embrace themselves for being different. The way Valente portrays this is subtle, too. It's not IN YOUR FACE about this message. She writes in as a mere mention and, as a reader, you take it in and continue on with the story. It's beautiful the way she writes this.

 

Also, I took a lot of what she was saying as how people treat queer kids differently from straight kids and it made my heart soar with happiness, but also pain. It hurts me inside to see when children are treated harshly because they don't fit a mold close-minded adults put before them. Kids should be allowed to be themselves. They should be allowed to be happy. As long as they are not hurting anyone, kids should be allowed to grow into happy, healthy adults being themselves. And Catherynne Valente is allowing children to do that by writing these books.

 

The characters for this book are all so beautiful. I love Hawthorn so much. I saw a lot of my younger self in him. Being a Changeling, he never quite fitted in to our world. The "human" world. He was questioned by every adult for his peculiarities, bullied in school, and treated as an "abnormal." But when he finally returns to Fairyland, he finds his place with people who love him for him and he starts to find his happiness. He's an amazing character who I fell deeply for. Tamburlaine is also a Changeling and she's a sweetheart. She finds solidarity with Hawthorn and begin to form a lovely friendship where neither of them had any before meeting one another. Scratch is Tamburlaine's gramophone with a spring to his step! Or, at least, he would is he had feet. He's cheerful and kind and helps in the best way a gramophone can: by providing music! Blunderbuss is Hawthorn's wombat (it makes sense when you read the book) and she is one of the feistiest characters I have read in a long time. I love how she comes across blunt and a bit mean but she means well and she shows it by being loyal and loving to her band of friends. Basically, all of the characters in this book are incredibly well-rounded and complex, I can't help but love them.

 

This story is great. If you've read all the other books in the series thus far, then I highly recommend you go ahead and pick up this book! Valente actually does something in this book that I did not see coming! I can't tell you because it is a HUGE spoiler but let me just say that I love it when a book is unpredictable. It makes for a much more interesting and entertaining read. So pick up this book and follow Hawthorn, Tamburlaine, and the rest on a journey through Fairyland to assist a King and find the ever allusive Spinster. It's going to be a wild ride~

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