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It was amazing book. It is filled with lots of great tales which have truth in them. The house with chicken legs in the book was truly brilliant and smart. I haven't read the book by the same author called the house with chicken legs yet, but I am looking forward to it.
Steeped in folklore and magic, there's a timelessness in the tale. Yanka is an intriguing character torn between civilisation & the natural world. Events teach her to turn what appears to be a curse into a power and to trust in the bonds of family and friendship
A fantasy novel for younger readers. Ideal age would be seven and up.
There's some mild peril at times, but nothing else that should distress.
It runs for four hundred and twelve pages. It has a prologue, thirty five chapters, and an epilogue. It is complete and self contained in one volume, not part of any series or trilogy. There's also a map of the setting at the start.
The main character is a girl called Yanka, who narrates in the first person.
The setting is never really specified, but it's a land not unlike ancient Russia in style. And the fantasy comes from the fact that it tries to be a story like various Russian fables.
Yanka was found abandoned in a bear cave as a baby. She's never really quite felt she fits in at her village as a result. She is very strong indeed. She enjoys the stories told by Anatoly, who comes to visit and tell them.
When she has to flee, she heads off into the forest. A fantastical journey awaits. With amazing new friends. And surprising answers.
This is a long read. But it does always know exactly where it is going, being one of those books that does things late on that make you reappraise what came before. The style of writing and the size of the print is easy enough such that the target readers shouldn't have any problem getting into it. But the length of the thing does mean you must make the right effort to get the most out of it.
It does have the occasional interlude chapter, where some of Anatoly's stories will be told. These are written just like old fables, the kind of stories handed down over the years. It works well.
I wouldn't say it quite clicked till about a third of the way in, at which point the cast of characters is such that it all comes to life and you really feel what it's trying to do. And the length is slightly deceptive, because it does develop well plot wise. Enough things happening at the right time to keep the plot moving along nicely.
Things are all resolved well indeed. With it managing to wrap stuff up in the final quarter in a very satisfactory way all the time. Making for an excellent and nicely emotional ending that really will stay with you for a bit.
A nice read ultimately. A book that will take a little effort for it's target readers to get into it. But they will find it worth that.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 21 September 2019
Once Upon a Time, there was a girl called Yanka who didn't know who she was. Abandoned in a bear cave, she is raised in a nearby village, but something keeps pulling her towards the Snow Forest, where a marvellously epic adventure awaits, one which will finally unveil the secrets of her past and present.
I have to say the world found in the Snow Forest, as well as the fairy-tales intricately woven into Yanka’s story/adventure added a lovely layer to the overarching tale.
A charming and somewhat whimsical read for me – I found myself absorbed, especially in the latter half of the book – there were moments that had me smiling in pleasure, and my heart aching a little.
The illustrations throughout are nice touch, and compliment what is written.
This book is staying in my collection at home, and I can’t wait to read it to my younger cousins. I’ll also be looking into the author’s other book(s).