I was first acquainted with Baba Yaga from playing the reboot of Tomb Raider. It was only when finding this book that I realised it was a real myth that I had been exposed to.
The synopsis of this book is as follows (taken from amazon):
Marinka dreams of a normal life, where her house stays in one place long enough for her to make friends. But her house has chicken legs and moves on without warning.
For Marinka’s grandmother is Baba Yaga, who guides spirits between this world and the next. Marinka longs to change her destiny and sets out to break free from her grandmother’s footsteps, but her house has other ideas.
Ability to read – I found this easy to read, there was a lot of content surrounding Baba Yaga and the myth that was being told here but at no point did I have difficulty with what I was reading or have to read slower to understand what was happening. The book flowed quite steadily. and took me on a journey that I wasn’t expecting. Marinka’s journey was an interesting one.
Characterisation – Marinka’s story went in the opposite way from what I had anticipated. I had many theories while reading and not one of them was correct. Marinka read sometimes as a spoilt child but other times as a child longing for freedom and normalcy. Her spirit was determined and she clearly had a mind of her own. She was like a caged bird learning to fly for the first time. Watching her spread her wings was compelling and watching her navigate the world outside her house was both interesting and warming.
I loved that the house had a personality and was sentient, it added depth to the story and watching the relationship between Marinka and the house grow and change was emotional.
Uniqueness – Well, I have never read a story about Baba Yaga before, so this was new for me. I was excited to read it because I wanted to know more about the myth I’d discovered while playing a game. It is an unforgettable story and a unique magical journey.
This is a wonderful debut for Sophie Anderson and a truly original story.