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Mistress of the Solstice by Anna Kashina
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Mistress of the Solstice (2008)

by Anna Kashina

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5016233,859 (3.79)3

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
"Mistress of the Solstice" is a book that is full of lovely moments, but in the end its a book thats hard to love.

Ivan is the youngest son of the King (Tsar) of the kingdom next kingdom over but one. Though he's clearly smart. strong and resourceful, he's called by one and all, "Ivan the Fool" He's on a quest.

Marya is the daughter of the Tsar of the local Kingdom and the Mistress of the Solstice. Once a year her job is to round up a virgin girl for her father the maybe-hes-a-vampire to ravish and kill. Though we learn a lot about Marya's lust life we also learn she has been taught "not to fall in love". OK.

Of course she meets Ivan and she falls in love with him right out of the box. Didn't see THAT coming But he's there to stop the slaughter of the virgins, mainly. (Not sure why he's there really).

The author has done her research and the archetypes of the Russian folk tales are wonderfully brought to life. We meet Wolf and Raven and Cat, and enjoy an extended cameo by Baba Yaga, the mother-witch in her marvelous house on chicken legs.

But none of the characters really engage, and the quest seems perfunctory, and the story badly organized. (We don't find out how Ivan and his Wolf sidekick meet up until near the end of the book, and by then we have other things on our minds.)

The ending is such a hodgepodge, with many new ideas thrown at us bang bang bang, just to wind up the plot.

Telling the story with one chapter about Ivan followed by one chapter about Mayra and back and forth only served to distance me from the characters and the story.

Would read the next one the author wrote. But this one didn't work for me

A LT Early Reviewers book ( )
  magicians_nephew | Aug 13, 2014 |
Mistress Of the Solstice
Anna Kashina
Ebook
★☆

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in
exchange for an honest review

I am very upset that I did not enjoy this novel.
I'm very fascinated with Russia amd even more
fascinated by Russian folklore.

I cant really tell you what this book is about. I
felt at times it drug on and I honestly got bored.
Bored enough to where I was just reading words on the page
to get the book over with, but not really taking it in.
I hate to knock any authors writing because I know
when they write a book they poor themselves in these novels.
I think this novel upset me so bad because I had high expectations.

This story drug on to me. I know Ivan is this special boy chosen by the Wolf to defeat Marya's father whom sacrifices a virgin every year for his youth. I think I have that correct. Her (Marya) father is known as the immortal king. I got from this that Ivan had many difficult tasks he had to face. A cat who could play with his mind, capture a raven, etc. just a lot of different things. Along the way he falls for The kings daughter and just really wants to free her from her fathers clutches.
On top of everything Marya has this magic mirror that tells her whatever she wants to know.

I personally didn't feel the authors writing style, which in the end really messed with the flow of the book for me.
I didn't feel any connections the characters.
Marya actually got on my nerves with how many times she
had to remind us how heartless, detached, and soulless she
is. On top of it she was proud of it.
Then when she was able to be a person and feel it felt forced
and faked. ( )
  Courtney_Chance | Jun 19, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
An engaging fairy tale, I especially was fascinated in the use of the Russian characters, which I was not overly familar with beforehand. It would have been better if I had more background knowledge of these myths before reading, but was not a deal breaker. ( )
  elric17 | Apr 3, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Mistress of the Solstice was a very engaging read. I'm a huge fan of Russian myths (and folktales in general). It was a lot of fun to see so many familiar "faces" in this story. I did feel that the end was a little abrupt, but that comes often with the territory of myth and folktales. I agree with other reviewers that the characters could have had a bit more meat to them but I found them believable enough to thoroughly enjoy reading the book. There are some fairly explicit sexual scenes, so I'd take that into account prior to reading if you're adverse to that sort of writing. ( )
  eidolons | Jan 23, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
For the most part I enjoyed this book, although I wished it were a little longer and fleshed out. It has the feel of a novella or short story rather than a full length novel. The story at its most basic is a familiar one: boy leaves home kingdom in search of adventure, finds beautiful girl who can't stop thinking about him, does battle (physical and mental), and saves girl from evil father figure. I loved the addition of Russian folklore (I am a huge fan of mythology) to the story; I think it added an interesting twist to the tale. There were a few grammatical and spelling errors, but nothing so horrible that I couldn't ignore them. I only wish the story was longer and the characters had more depth to them.

It was a fun read overall. ( )
  bluelotus28 | Jan 21, 2014 |
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Book description
THE DARK ESSENCE OF RUSSIAN MYTH

As the head priestess of the ancient Solstice cult, Marya must sacrifice a virgin every year. She copes with this gruesome duty by assuming a mask of cold detachment, as her father—the evil tzar Kashchey—devours the maidens' souls to maintain his youth and power. It is his power alone that keeps Marya’s kingdom safe from all enemies—or so she was raised to believe.

When Ivan arrives on a quest to stop the virgin sacrifices, Marya throws all her magic against him. To maintain her life—and that of her father—she must destroy Ivan before he completes his quest. But can she find it in her heart to do so?

Baba Yaga, Leshy, Vodyanoi, and the ancient animal deities come alive in this beautifully crafted romantic story that will take you into the authentic world of Russian fairy tales—with a dark, sensual twist.

[retrieved 11/4/2014 from Amazon.com]
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