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review 2018-02-22 02:48
Burning Girls by Veronica Schanoes
Burning Girls - Veronica Schanoes

*Enters room filled with cobwebs and dust* 

 

Uh... hello? Is anyone still here? *Coughs from ball of dust* 

 

Phew! It's been a while since I've been able to sit down and read anything. Life has not been kind to me. The beginning of 2018 was so peaceful and productive... for about two weeks. Then Hell came and slapped me in the face and I've been trying to get back on my feet ever since. And let me tell you, it has not been easy. However, I am back and I am ready to tackle my TBR head-on! With that said, I was able to read a short story which I enjoyed quite a bit.

 

Now, seeing as how it's been a while since I've read anything, I decided starting off with a short story to ease me back into reading was a good move to make. And I was right. I read Burning Girls from Tor.com and it was such a harrowing read. It follows a Jewish girl's life living in Poland where she faces discrimination from the Cossacks and how magic can be a double-edge sword for the young witch. This short story covers so many topics. From Jewish tradition to history to even mythology. I was intrigued by the story from the very start.

 

Schanoes's writing style is very crisp. Since her main character is rather blunt and cold-hearted, her writing showed that very same bluntness without ever becoming bland. She has an incredibly flowing writing style and I really am interested in reading more of her works in the future.

 

As for her characters, I felt that a lot of them didn't have enough time to develop into fully fledged beings. I suppose that's what happens sometimes with short stories. Her main character, Deborah, was the only one that actually showed any type of growth. Although she is someone I consider to be highly unlikeable, she does learn to empathize a little with those around her and learns not to judge as harshly as she did at the beginning of the story. Shayna, Deborah's sister, throughout most of the story acted like a petulant child, which annoyed me greatly. I did, however, enjoyed her transformation towards the end of it. Still, I wish I got to know these characters a bit more before reading the end of the story.

 

Speaking of the ending, wow. That was well done and fit well with the rest of the story. I liked how it grabs you and reminds you of the harshness of reality. Life is rough and you don't always get what you hoped for no matter how hard you try... and that sucks. Man, this story made me feel so many emotions!

 

In short, read this story. It's really good. I did have my problems with some of the characters but I did enjoy the magical and fairy tale elements. If you love learning about Jewish culture, fairy tales, and a bit of history, read this story. It's quite the harrowing, dark read, but a good one nonetheless. 

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review 2015-06-07 03:21
An Interesting Take on a Classic Tale
Burning Girls - Veronica Schanoes

This is an interesting take on Rumplestiltskin. I like that the author fractured it to where you could not recognize it til the end. She also incorporated Jewish culture beautifully. My only complaint is that I would have liked to have seen this in a collection of stories in a similar vein by this author.

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review 2015-01-07 00:00
Burning Girls
Burning Girls - Veronica Schanoes Hmm, well i liked this book ok. It cleverly weaves history and a fairy tale retelling. The problem i had was that it seemed a little emotionless. Like when someone dies...which happens a lot...she just states it matter of factly then moves on. Or when she aborts a young girls bady (although she says "miscarries") she has like zero feelings or morals.. Hmm. The ending is interesting though...but i read somewhere that this book is considered horror...so be forwarned.
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review 2014-06-09 00:00
Among the Thorns
Among the Thorns - Veronica Schanoes This short story is a sequel to the Grimm Brothers' fairy tale "The Jew in the Thorns". Maybe "sequel" isn't the right word. It's not exactly a continuation of the story, even though the main events of the story take place after the original tale. It's more of a jab back at the original story, standing up against the vilification of the Jew in the story. So it's more of a revenge story following the original. A revengequel? Yeah. That sounds about right. I'm calling it. Revengequels should officially be a thing.

Among the Thorns follows the daughter of the Jewish man from the original story, as she takes revenge against the "hero" who robbed, slandered, and ultimately killed her father, and against the town that just stood by and let it happen.

It's a pretty depressing tale.

There's a light at the end of the story, however, as Itte doesn't sink to the same level as the "hero". While she does take her revenge in the end, she manages to show compassion, which is certainly more than can be said for the people in the original story.
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review 2014-04-24 21:01
Jane Yolen should like this
Burning Girls - Veronica Schanoes

If she hasn't read it already, when she reads this, Jane Yolen will like this.  Taking an anti-Sematic fairy tale and switching up, not only ensures Schanoes chops but so does setting it in Bialystok.  Wonderful.

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