“Forest born! Ogre child! You’re nothing but a demon wild!”
Vasilisa has always been strong. She’s strong enough to break the arm of the bully that daily taunts her. She won’t because she and her mother are servants at the Orlov manor, and her mother would be punished for her retaliation. Instead Vasilisa bides her time until she is sixteen and can return to the forest.
Only Staver, the master’s son, shows her kindness. His friendship pulls as strong as the forest, but their classes are divided forever by law. She is a forest born, fatherless servant and her future at the manor holds mockery filled drudgery.
War threatens. The forest calls. Will she stay to protect the one who can never be more than a friend, or flee to the peace that the forest offers?
I loved this, and enjoyed the rich story telling and seamless weave of Russian folklore and historical fiction that mashes the fantasy and historical genres in a magical way! Readers of either genre can easily enjoy this story, and it’s so unique and well done, that likely even readers who don’t read much fantasy/historical fiction would enjoy it! The characters are original, complex, and unforgettable, and I loved it! There’s romance and action, struggles both internal and external, Fae and fantastic writing to bring it all together. If you enjoyed this, be sure to check out M. L. Farb’s other books
This is a rich, beautiful story that feels like historical fiction set in medieval Russian with strong flavors of old fairytale magic and romance. I was familiar with Vasilisa from an old Baba Yaga story, but Farb’s Vasilisa is a living, breathing, heroic young woman for whom I immediately felt a strong empathy. She is an inspiring fictional heroine! The plot was full of surprises and SO difficult to put aside the book! The extras at the back were fun, too. I highly recommend this book!
An amazing YA fantasy book, with plenty of action, adventure, romance and rich in russian myths and folklore. I love how the book starts and ends with the bard opening and closing the story and making a promise for another story to come. The whole narrative has an old-fairytale-like quality. It reminded me of when I was a kid and my grandmother told me folk tales just before going to bed. I’m anxiously waiting for the next story. Where will M.L. Farb take us next?
Vasilisa was a delightful read, filled with vibrant scenery, detailed characters, and plenty of adventure! Farb has an excellent grasp of utilising the senses to enrich the story and deepen reader immersion. I felt all of Vasilisa’s emotions as she experienced them, and rooted for her as she faced her enemies with cunning, strength, and determination. Every time she was knocked down, she rose again, and her steadfast nature is what makes her so engaging! Her connections with the other characters in this tale are what drives her to face adversity time after time, and when she loses faith in herself, they are her restoration. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale, with its twists and turns, beautifully written prose, and compelling characters. I look forward to seeing which story is next in line for the ‘Hearth and Bard Tales’.