Vassa in the Night
by Sarah Porter
Modern Fairytale Retelling
In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.
In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling away again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.
But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair…
Vassa in the Night is a modern version of the Russian fairytale Vasilisa the Beautiful. I always loved fairytales and much like mythology, I don’t care the origin. It doesn’t matter what culture the tales are from I love them and I can’t wait to find more so when I heard about this one I had to read this book. I have heard of Vasilisa the Beautiful before but never really knew the fairytale so that was just one more point towards this book.
Not gonna lie this book is very original fairytale like, as in its dark and disturbing in so many ways and Sarah made it all her own with the modern spin but it still felt like a fairytale. From what I can tell (because I did a little research) Vassa in the Night is very close to the original story, it has all the bones of the story.
I wanted to fall in love with this story, I really did but it didn’t happen for me. I enjoyed the story but I didn’t really connect to it. Normally I get lost in a story, I don’t know where I am, become apart of the story and I live in that world. Unfortunately that didn’t happen for me, I was reading a story and I knew it, I didn’t live in the world and that disappointed me. I don’t know if it was because I was in the wrong mood or if the story was just a little to off for me or what.
That being said I still enjoyed the book. Vassa and her wooden doll where interesting characters and with all the weird things in the store (that is just the kinda thing I love) it did keep my interest well enough. I love that this was a true fairytale, it was dark, the girl was dealing with a less than home-life, magic in even the tiniest places, there was a quest and lesson learned. These are the things that make a good story.
I will read something else written by Sarah because Vassa in the Night was a peek into her mind and I find the mind fascinating.
Overall 3.5 stars