I am in love. Head over heels, butterflies in the stomach kind of love. Once in a blue moon I come across a book where everything just clicks for me- and that’s it, I’m a goner. Honestly, I read this last month and tried to compose myself before writing the review- yet I’m clearly still not composed.
I don’t think I’ve read a book like this in years. To say it captured the essence of fairy tales would be an understatement. By the miraculous stroke of her pen, Arden not only transported me back in time to the historical landscape of Russia, but also to a child-like state of wonder. Reading this was more than a window into another world- while I was reading I knew what it is to hold magic in my hands.
Some books feel like they take on a life of their own. They’re so atmospheric and absorbing that it reminds you why you love reading in the first place. This was one such book. The style was both rare and a rediscovery of that charming, youthful feel I used to get when I read books by the like of Ibbotson, Funke and Zafon. It was both utterly unique and reminiscent of childhood favourites for me.
And yet this was so clearly a fairy tale for adults. Nothing is sickly sweet or over the top- in the words of Goldilocks, it was “just right”. From beginning to end, I was more than a little wrapped up in the snowy-blanket warmth of Arden’s exquisite storytelling. I was transfixed as, layer upon layer, the storm brewed on the pages, enchantment unfolding behind a glassy veneer of reality, until finally it broke in an epic conclusion. An ending which, thankfully, was both satisfying and opened the door for potential sequels (the second book is coming out this winter!)
This is without a doubt one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. So if this sounds good to you, then go away, read it, and thank me later 😉
Rating: 5/5 bananas
I don’t know where I first came across this book, but I do want to thank Danielle for her spectacular review which prompted me to finally pick get a copy! And if you’re like me and already obsessed with this, I also recommend the great interview/review over on Mischenko’s site and Liis’ view on it as an Estonian.
And that’s all for now. Have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!