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The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina…
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The Secret History of Moscow

by Ekaterina Sedia

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (24)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Reviews at The Artemis Reader

Ekaterina Sedia is one of my new favorite authors. The Secret History of Moscow begins with the story of Galina who is looking for her missing sister after giving birth in the bathroom of their shared apartment. Galina spies a blackbird outside the window and is convinced her sister has been transformed. She is hesitant to say anything to her mother due to her history of schizophrenia. From there Galina encounters Fyodor, the artist, who has seen the strangeness invading Moscow, and Yakov, the cop, who has his own run in with the vanishing people and blackbirds. Together these characters venture into the underground world of Moscow to find out what is happening. The underground world Sedia creates is heavily influenced by Russian fairy tales, so having prior knowledge or access to a place to look them up is helpful while reading The Secret History of Moscow.

One thing I love about reading a Sedia novel is how easily I get sucked into the narrative. She weaves a colorful story with an ample amount of descriptions and character developments. The story started a little slow in the first 30 or 40 pages, the story moves quickly and before I knew it I had finished!

Sedia does an excellent job mixing fantasy, fairy tales and real people. I loved the mythological world underneath the streets of Moscow, it reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. I think that is a large part in why I came to love The Secret History of Moscow. If you are a fan of Gaiman and the fantasy/mythological genres I definitely recommend looking into this book. ( )
  artemisreads | Jun 7, 2016 |
A schizophrenic translator, a bored cop, and an alcoholic painter unite to discover why people are turning into birds all over Moscow. They stumble into the secret mythic world that exists side-by-side with the city. Then they don't really do anything else. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Moscow itself is the most intriguing character of this urban fantasy. It's an ancient place with an often brutal past, and the book's setting of the early 1990s isn't very kind, either. The premise here is intriguing, and really, the book acts as a gentle primer to the wonders of Russian mythology. I'm largely ignorant of Russian fables beyond Baba Yaga; I tried to read Cat Valente's book Deathless a while back and was overwhelmed by the other-worldlyness of it. Sedia applies a deft hand as she brings in Russian history and storied characters. The pace is perfect.

That said, I never fully connected with the main character from the present day, Galina. She's too singular in her goal--to save her sister--and as a reader, we never get to know her sister before she's lost. Galina never felt like a person beyond that, and that made the ending too predictable in that regard. ( )
  ladycato | Mar 2, 2014 |
A very quick read. The story was occasionally a little disjointed, but it had a sort of dream (or fairy tale?) logic, so I'm okay with it. I liked getting to see into the depths of each character's history, and the sense that... well, that none of them were really invested in saving the world per se, they each had their own, very private motives for their actions. ( )
  wirehead | Jul 9, 2013 |
Could have used better editing - it felt a lot like trying to read a long Mad Lib. Maybe I'll try it again sometime when I'm feeling more patient, as it's gotten a lot of good reviews. ( )
  paperloverevolution | Mar 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ekaterina Sediaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schenk, OlafTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Моим родителям, Нине и Алексею, зта книга посвящается
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She had long pale fingers, tapered like candles at the church.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Every city contains secret places, and Moscow is no different, its citizens seeking safety under the city during tumultuous times -- a cavernous dark world of magic, weeping trees and albino jackdaws, where exiled pagan deities and fairytale creatures still whisper strange tales to everyone who would listen. Through their interlocking stories, a very different history emerges, full of betrayals and unseen hostilities, between the real world and the world below . . . and now, in the early 1990's, the conflict is escalating.

Galina is a young woman, caught like many of her contemporaries in the new economic uncertainty and apparent lawlessness of the country. In the midst of all this chaos, her sister Maria turns into a jackdaw and flies away . . . prompting Galina to help Yakov, a policeman investigating a rash of recent disappearances. Their search will take them to the underground realm of hidden histories and archetypes, to find themselves caught between reality and myth, past and present, truth and betrayal . . .The Secret History of Moscow.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0809572230, Paperback)

Every city contains secret places. Moscow in the tumultuous 1990s is no different, its citizens seeking safety in a world below the streets - a dark, cavernous world of magic, weeping trees, and albino jackdaws, where exiled pagan deities and faerytale creatures whisper strange tales to those who would listen. Galina is a young woman caught, like her contemporaries, in the seeming lawlessness of the new Russia. In the midst of this chaos, her sister Maria turns into a jackdaw and flies away - prompting Galina to join Yakov, a policeman investigating a rash of recent disappearances. Their search will take them to the underground realm of hidden truths and archetypes, to find themselves caught between reality and myth, past and present, honor and betrayal . . . the secret history of Moscow.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:16 -0400)

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