Book review · novel

Books review: Finding Baba Yaga / The Last Wish / Cuckoo Song

Finding Baba Yaga: A Short Novel in Verse, by Jane Yolen

eARC from the publisher

02 finding baba yagaSynopsis:
A young woman discovers the power to speak up and take control of her fate—a theme that has never been more timely than it is now…

You think you know this story.
You do not.

A harsh, controlling father. A quiescent mother. A house that feels like anything but ahome. Natasha gathers the strength to leave, and comes upon a little house in the wood: A house that walks about on chicken feet and is inhabited by a fairy tale witch. In finding Baba Yaga, Natasha finds her voice, her power, herself….

I was excited to read a fantasy novel in verse, however short, but this one didn’t hit the mark for me. While it’s a book that I’m sure has the potential to be someone’s favourite, it lacked something to really make an impression. Of course I felt sympathy for the main character fleeing her abusive parents, but the part with her parents took way too much place in a book so short with “baba yaga” in its title.

The Last Wish (The Witcher #1), by Andrzej Sapkowski

Translation by  Danusia Stok

08 the last wishSynopsis:
Geralt is a witcher. Yet he is no ordinary killer-for-hire. His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world. But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good. . . and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

This was a reread (I first read it in french more than 6 years ago) and while I really like the world of The Witcher and all the dark twisty take on fairy tales, it really shows that a man wrote this with all the girls and women naked everywhere and the sex and the boobs. Of course I knew what I was going into when starting this european fantasy book that’s already a bit old, but yeah I definitely would have enjoyed it more without this aspect of things.
Though I really want to try and read the whole series, but at this point I wouldn’t recommend it really but I’m entertained and I can’t wait to meet Ciri!

I might switch to the French translation for the next ones though because my library has them and I’ve been told that it’s better than the english ones on some aspects…

content warnings: rape, incest

Cuckoo Song, by Frances Hardinge

Read in french, translation by Patrick Couton at L’atalante

When Triss wakes up after an accident, she knows that something is very wrong. She is insatiably hungry; her sister seems scared of her and her parents whisper behind closed doors. She looks through her diary to try to remember, but the pages have been ripped out.
Soon Triss discovers that what happened to her is more strange and terrible than she could ever have imagined, and that she is quite literally not herself. In a quest to find the truth she must travel into the terrifying Underbelly of the city to meet a twisted architect who has dark designs on her family – before it’s too late . . .

Creepy cover alert! If a friend hadn’t recomended this to me I don’t think I would have picked it up, but then I trust her AND it got translated to french and got a great cover both creepy and pretty so I finally picked it up!

This is sold as an adult book in France but is apparently more of a MG/YA novel in England and I guess I can see how it can pass as both. The story really made me shiver and made me think back on the time I used to read a lot of Goosebumps books. This is a story about sisters, abusive family, magic and curse… I liked how the first part was really mysterious and I was wondering what had happened, and while the answer arrives quite fast I still liked the second half a lot because of the interactions between the sisters, and another woman!

This was my second novel from Frances Hardinge and I’m excited to read more of her work!


10 thoughts on “Books review: Finding Baba Yaga / The Last Wish / Cuckoo Song

  1. Tu m’as pas mal refroidie avec ton commentaire sur Finding Baba Yaga. C’est tellement rare de trouver des livres qui s’appuient sur la mythologie et le folklore slave que j’étais impatiente de mettre la main sur ce roman qui affiche aussi ouvertement ses influences. J’en attends moi aussi certainement trop à cause de ce Baba Yaga dans le titre…


    1. Il y a pas mal de review très positives dessus donc peut-être que tu aimeras? Pour moi c’était trop superficiel malheureusement, mais j’en attendais peut-être trop, comme tu dis avec le titre qu’il a.
      Sinon tu as lu Spinning Silver de Naomi Novik, pour ce qui est de fantasy avec du folklore slave? il est extra!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Peut-être que je lui donnerai sa chance, à l’occasion, mais pour le coup il a pas mal dégringolé dans mes priorités d’achat et de lecture.
        Pour Spinning Silver, pas encore, mais il est en bonne place dans ma liste d’envies 🙂
        Il faut juste que je lise Uprooted d’abord, qui m’attend sagement sur le haut de ma PAL ^^


  2. I used to read Goosebumps and Point Horror when I was younger but I really think they would scare me more now I’m older, haha. The cover for Cuckoo Song is so creepy!! I wouldn’t have picked it up as a child, heh. I’m excited to try Hardinge’s work. 😀


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