Deathless

Deathless

Book - 2011
Average Rating:
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Koschei the Deathless is to Russian folklore what giants or wicked witches are to European culture: the villain of countless stories which have been passed on through story and text for generations. Valente's 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 peasant girl 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, that will bring Russian myth to life in a stunning new incarnation.

Publisher: New York : Tor, c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780765326317
9780765326300
Branch Call Number: VALE
Characteristics: 352 p. ; 22 cm

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a
aimiller
Jun 13, 2017

Oh man this book! It took me a hot second to get in to- I'm very, very unfamiliar with Russian folklore, so I spent probably the first ~20% of the book worried it was going above my head, but you catch up with the pacing of the book pretty quickly after a certain point, and then you're really hooked! Valente's writing is downright gorgeous--the descriptions she paints are just stunning, and the dialogue really hits back on that whole 'fairy tale' feeling. I wonder what it would be like to approach this book with a greater sense of the story behind the story she's telling, though the history pieces I could pick up better.

SPOILER
The part where she was living inside the egg with all the primary figures of the Russian Revolution especially tickled me, as I could pick out who they were!
/SPOILER

Overall, I strongly recommend this, and am really excited to look into her other works to see what else she's produced--as well as maybe looking for readalikes for things similar to this book in tone!

j
jessica_ebacher
Mar 22, 2017

Valente's work is always startling in it's beauty, and Deathless is no different. This would make for a marvelous entry point to her works - rooted in Russian folklore and Russian history, it has all the magic of her other works, but grounded in real struggle and triumph. It pulls you in inexorably, until you find yourself racing to the end of the story, much like Marya Morevna herself.

a
ACatNamedTofu
Nov 11, 2013

This book is good and then it's madness. Keep it together in those last 60 or so pages.

a
Ataraxya
Feb 06, 2013

This was the first Valente book I read, and I fell in love almost immediately. There's snatches of history and fairy tale references, and it's about a girl who has to make decisions in a world filled with things she doesn't know of. It's really lovely.

h
hybrid
Oct 04, 2012

I loved the main character, and Valente has a great grasp of fables and early-20th-century Soviet social structure that give this novel plenty of color. But unfortunately, I went into this hoping for a novel about the interplay of history and myth (i.e., something similar to "Pan's Labyrinth"), only to find that this is actually a pure fairy-tale novel that uses its historical content as window-dressing before crossing over into total dream-logic in the last 60 pages or so. Still a highly recommended book if that's what you're looking for, but it wasn't exactly my cup of tea.

v
vanulor
Jun 26, 2012

Typical Catherynne Valente which means it is extermely unique and amazing in the way only she can.

whetstone Nov 04, 2011

An utterly unique, imaginative, beautiful book.

It is also very, very strange.

After I borrowed this one I had to buy my own copy.

t
TuesdayMoon
Aug 15, 2011

I like clean prose. No lengthy, awkward descriptions or excessive punctuation. Despite Valente's overwrought and at times laboured delivery, she has managed to create a raw, beautiful, and ultimately engrossing vision. The strength of her story far outweighs any stylistic objections.

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