From my Reading Chair – Vassa in the Night


Vassa in the Night was my final read of 2016. And I’m happy it was read in 2016 and didn’t kick off my new year of reading.

As far as writing goes and the re-write of a Russian fairy tale, Sarah Porter tells a good story. What I learned about myself with this read is that I am NOT a dark genre fan. Period. I’m usually one to always finish a book, and I got through it, just too engrossed in it. I did NEED to know the ending. I do want to give props to any book club or monthly book crates – I would’ve never picked this up off the shelf at the library or store, I like to try new things. I do like to have books I don’t like mixed in with the excellent.

Vassa is the classic fairy tale story of missing dad, real mom dead, Night, step-sisters, and an evil witch with henchmen; well, evil hench-hands. In this case, our witch owns a shady convenience store chain and if you’re caught stealing, it’s off with your head. Sent to the store after a fight, Vassa strikes a deal with the witch and works for three nights at the store. Some side stories feel pieced together and as in another read, at the end I wasn’t too sure what reality was and what wasn’t.

I’m beginning to think swans may have a special place in Russian folklore as Swan Lake was composed by Tchaikovsky. It’s intrigued me, so I’ll probably go do some Google searches on it some day. Finally, I enjoyed the depiction of Night as a being; someone you could talk to and develop a relationship.

My Freshman year of college I remember coming across Anthony Hopkins in Titus Andronicus and remember being so shocked and stunned and just feeling sick after watching the movie. I guess to that point my Shakespeare was pretty tame. That’s how I felt after reading Vassa – sick.

With her storytelling skills, maybe Titus would be a good re-telling for Sarah to tackle next.

Vassa is a book where I don’t like rating systems. On Goodreads I did rate this a 2 out of 5 stars – this is more because it was NOT my cup of tea. If you have never read anything in the dark genre, but have wanted to try it out, this is a library first book. I did enjoy Sarah’s writing, and the book read fast; any other genre this would have probably rated around a 3, 3.25. If you do like the genre, let me know what your thoughts are on this book – I’m interested in why you liked or didn’t like it.

Let’s agree to label this one as a “pick up at your own risk” read; push yourself to get out of your box, but don’t be stunned by what’s inside!

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