Synopsis: 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…
Review: Vassa in the Night is a retelling of a Russian tale and I admit that being rather foreign to this type of folklore, I was very curious to immerse myself in the story. Of course, I did not know about the original story, so I’m not able to do comparison but it was still very intriguing.
We discover Vassa, a young girl who lives with her stepmother and two stepsisters Stephanie and Chelsea. Indeed, her mother died and her father disappeared years ago. It is already a quite complicated situation when her only ally left is Chelsea and her nutcracker, Erg. Yet Erg brings as much support as problems … Indeed, this wooden doll is attracted to petty theft she can do by stealing the two sisters and hiding things to accuse Vassa, which doesn’t help the relationship with them. But Erg also has a limitless appetite forcing our young heroine to keep aside enough food to feed her. But now, the situation is increasingly tense with Stephanie and although Vassa tries to reason with her doll nothing change … And when one evening, her sister asks her at night to pick bulbs to replace the house lights, Vassa feels that the limit has been reached. Indeed, the neighborhood store, the only one open at that hour is well known to contain magic, and especially an owner who does not hesitate to decapitate customers who disturb her … But Vassa could not expect such a turn of events when Babs threats her by forcing her to stay and work for her for several days. Thus our dear heroine finds herself launched in a world she does not know about and yet touching her more than she thought and that will help her understand more about herself and about Erg.
It was a completely disorienting and unique story and it’s true that I was not expecting that but it did not prevent me to want to discover the upcoming events. It is impossible to predict what will happen and it’s even sometimes a bit complicated to understand everything but it’s definitely different. We discover some quirky characters and learn to discover them slowly while learning more about Vassa and her past. I confess that I did not expect at all for this purpose elsewhere but eventually it also allows us to better understand the events.
Yes, the author presents us something very different and strange that we discover with surprise.
Yay! I’m so happy you enjoyed this Melliane. It’s such a strange tale and the original is even more so, lol!! I loved Erg, she’s so sassy 🙂
yes really different
Not gonna lie, I was first attracted to the Russian folklore you spoke about, but that’s gone to the wind now that I’ve read a few more reviews. On the fence!
I have this one sitting on my nightstand waiting for me to dig in. I like the sound of it, and I am glad that it is unique.
I hope you’ll like it as well
I’ve never heard of this and sadly know very little Russian lore, it sounds good though and I’m glad you liked it.
I’ll admit this cover always catches my attention and makes me want to read it. Yay for different and strange 🙂
yes it’s a really nice one!
I would like a re-telling
I was hoping you’d love it more, but then again you found it enjoyable enough. I so need to try this book. I’m curious about it and know only a little about the mythology.
Ooh nice! This is sounding like my kind of read! Though some of the confusion I am hearing about does have me concerned, I still can’t help but love a good retelling, be it myth, folklore, fairytale, etc.! Glad to hear that despite a few nuisances that this one was an enjoyable read! Nice review!
yes I was so curious about the russian part
I’m not very familiar with this fairytale, but the story sounds different and I’m curious about it.
Nice review, Melliane!
I have a copy from the publisher and I am just waiting for some time to open up so I can fit it in. I’m very curious about it after hearing a lot of interesting opinions about it (some good, some bad) but all in all it sounds like it could be fun.
I hope you’ll enjoy it!
I’m super intrigued! And I love the over.
I must say, I find myself quite intrigued! Considering I love re-tellings (even though I admit I don’t know this fairytale), I might give this one a go.
Thanks for reviewing 🙂
lol me neither
so this is based on baba yagga or something? reading the blurb its a whole different setting, but looks fun.
I don’t know the story it’s based on, I don’t believe, but it does seem intriguing!
Mhmmm I am on the fence. It sounds good.
I know Kristin loved this and I have been curious. I enjoy good retelling. Thank for the breakdown 🙂
I wonder how it will work for me as I grew up on Russian folklore? Lovely review, D.! I really want to pick this book up 🙂