Magical Review: Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

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Author: Sarah Porter

Publication Date: September 20, 2016

Publisher: TOR Teen

Format: Kindle

Pages: 304 pp.

Add this on: Goodreads

Online Stores: Amazon / Book Depository

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Vassa in the Night is an enchanting, modern retelling of the Russian folktale “Vassilissa the Beautiful” for young adults by the critically-acclaimed author, Sarah Porter. Leigh Bardugo, New York Times bestselling author of the Grisha Trilogy, calls it, “A dark, thoroughly modern fairy tale crackling with wit and magical mayhem.”

In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling out again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair….

Inspired by the Russian folktale “Vassilissa the Beautiful” and her years of experience teaching creative writing to students in New York City public schools, acclaimed author Sarah Porter weaves a dark yet hopeful tale about a young girl’s search for home, love, and belonging.

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My thoughts

“Night knows you, Vassa.”

In Brooklyn, the night was much longer than an ordinary night as the BY store appeared in their little town. Vassa was living with her stepmother and her two stepsisters after her mother died and her father leave them alone.

One night, when Stephanie – the step sister of Vassa instructed her to buy some bulbs in the BY store; she hesitates for a moment because the BY store was well-known for being the reason of chopping the heads of its shoplifters. Vassa, along with her talking doll, they went to that BY Store, and they met the owner and at the same the cashier of its weird franchise store.

But, sometimes the unexpected events would be the start of something magical.

Walking hands, dancing store, talking doll, a weird motorcyclist will be the weirdest things I encountered during reading this fabulous book.

I’ve been captivated by the charmed of this book as I read the first two sentences of its blurb. And another reason was, I have also a thing for weird stories.

As I read the Vassa in the Night; to be honest, I can’t see what would be the sense of this book, what would be the outcome. The characters seem really weird, and I can’t predict the character of our main heroine. She was dumb with her decisions, but sometimes she would become a smart one when some circumstances occurred. But, I finally get the main reason why it happens!

By the way, this book was based on the Russian Fairytale – Vassilisa the Beautiful. To be honest; I am not familiar with that Russian Folklore, but as I searched the Vassilisa the Beautiful, they really have the similarities.

Sarah Porter successfully made the re-telling of the old fairy tale, and I am really amazed on how the story ends beautifully.

The comparison between the two based on what I had read – the Vassilisa the Beautiful only represented the Day, Thunder & Storm. But, the Vassa in the night embodies the importance of family’s past on what you would become today.

And this line:

‘There was part – of somebody – a little girl – and that part so much the girl couldn’t carry it inside herself anymore. So it went into a doll. It made the doll alive. And the doll carried it for her. For six years.’

And, it really broke my heart.

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