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.
About Catherynne M. ValenteSee more books from this Author
Twentieth-century Russian history provides a background for Valente's lush reimagining of folkloric villain Koschei the Deathless and his dalliance with Marya Morevna, a clever but troubled young woman.Feb 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Deathless
Valente, a modern retelling of the Slavic folktale, “Koschei the Deathless.” Bewitching and darkly sensuous, Deathless is a new breed of fairytale for the eclectic reader.The characters of Deathless are interesting creatures.Mar 29 2011 | Read Full Review of Deathless
Valente writes in her new novel, Deathless, “with a lot of smaller stories in it, and motifs, and symbols, and sometimes things in the story really happened, and sometimes they didn’t.” Mercifully, that’s about as meta as Deathless gets.Apr 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Deathless
Marya Morevna wants to believe in magic, and one day through her window she spies a bird fall from its branches and jump up as a handsome man.Nov 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Deathless
By the end of the story, the book simply wasn’t something that I was reading for entertainment, but was something that I found myself working to get through simply to finish the book, never a reaction that I want to have when I read something.Jun 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Deathless
I bet you will find something that will interest you wp.me/P2DwkQ-bv0 5 stars for a cleverly devised mystery set in PDX a must read for the tween reader in your family wp.me/p2DwkQ-cmT http://t.co/FN0NuUFC Exciting, inventive, and thrilling are not words that would typically be associated ...Oct 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Deathless
Valente has taken a fairy tale and a body of characters — Koshei, Marya, Baba Yaga — and brought them vividly to life.Apr 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Deathless
When I first heard about Deathless, I was very excited to read it, mainly because, while I enjoy reading and studying folklore and fairy tales on my own time, I am not very familiar with any of the stories from Russian or Slavic cultures.May 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Deathless
As Koschei's sister Baba Yaga says to Marya when revealing that Marya is the latest in a long line of Brides of Koschei, all with similar origin stories at their backs and similar fates before them, "That's how you get deathless, volchitsa.Jul 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Deathless
For readers interested in fantasy in general, Deathless is also an absolute must read, for in a genre so prone to the same old this and that, Valente has produced a remarkably unique and mesmerising novel.Jun 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Deathless
The trickiest part of all this is not the movement back and forth between fairy tale and history (though that is hard enough to pull off), but the movement between the large, collective history of Russia and the private, individual history of Marya Morevna’s marriage.Sep 04 2012 | Read Full Review of Deathless
However, by the time she is fifteen years of age, the Russian Revolution has already set in, converting Saint Petersburg into Petrograd, morphing her home into a communal residence of twelve families, slashing away traces of hopes for a fairy tale that Marya wishes to live.Oct 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Deathless
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