Hey guys, I hope you all are having a great day and this is my review to Deathless by 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.
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.
*leaves* *comes back after five minutes*
Okay . . . obviously before I gush and rant about this story I am obligated to say a couple of things about this book and your preference. :) One: before you start this book, I (personally) would highly recommend just doing a tiny-weeny bit of research for Russian folklore. Specifically, the story of Koschei the Deathless. Two: you are either going to love this book or hate it. I obviously really loved it. Everyone that I’ve asked either loved it or hated it—I’ve never heard of anything in between. Okay, now that that’s cleared up:
Deathless was a really pleasant surprise to me! I didn’t expect a lot of things to happen that did, and my God, this book. Valente hands you a book so real that you know after the first couple of chapters that this book is raw and not sugar-coated. This is what made me love this book so much. Valente doesn’t sugar-coat things. She makes you sit on the seat of anticipation and lets your stomach twist inside-out as you read page after page after page.
Marya Morevna is a strong heroine who experiences so many emotions in this book that it makes you want to cry. Seriously, I was almost—almost—tearing up at the end because this was just so good! Marya obviously isn’t who she is at the beginning of the book, she turns into a kickass character who makes a wonderful heroine to read about.
The writing style is wonderful! At the beginning of the book, the writing style was what really got me in. And in those very rare parts in the book when you’re eagerly anticipating what happens next, it’s the writing style that has you savoring each word. That’s another thing about this book, I think that you need to really read every word, until you’re done a sentence, savor and understand, and finally continue. That’s what it was like for me, personally. I think the writing style was my favorite part of this book, to be honest.
The love! I loved everyone. Seriously. You need to effing read this. Now. I don’t want to say too much, because this is one of those books that needs to be experienced. :D
Overall, Deathless is one book that gives you happiness, sorrow, anticipation, admiration, and everything on a silver platter and was one of the best books I’ve read this year! I’m so happy this is a standalone (kind of? Companion novel coming out!) and I felt so satisfied!
I would recommend Deathless to anyone and everyone. Like I said before, the only “precautions” I would take would be to make sure you have just a teeny-weeny bit of Russian folklore and mythology knowledge and that this book can be perceived in many ways—you don’t have to love this book. But for me, this is my favorite.
Thanks for reading everyone, and have a great day! :D