Vassa in the Night
Author: Sarah Porter
The night’s are never ending. Her stepsister is driving her crazy. The magic talking doll she keeps secret has sticky fingers that are getting her into trouble. So when the idea of taking a midnight stroll to the local convenience store, where shoplifters happen to get beheaded, comes up Vassa actually jumps at the chance. It’s there that things get even weirder.
I get the impression some people loved this book and some didn’t like it but you can count me on the side of loved. Or at least totally enjoyed. It’s based on the fairy tale Vassilissa the Beautiful which I hate to admit I was not familiar with so it felt very new to me. I loved the atmosphere of it all. BY’s is fantastic. It basically spins around in the air with all the heads from Bab’s (the woman who runs the stores) victims right outside the window and a strange motorcyclist goes round and round the store all night.
Vassa gets stuck there and must survive three nights with Bab’s and her assistants trying to take her down. Oh yeah, you don’t necessarily have to be shoplifting from BY’s to get yourself in trouble. They’ll totally do it for you.
I really liked Vassa. Basically she goes to this dangerous mission purely to spite her stepsister. I hate to admit it but I get that you know? She even says if she dies Stephanie will have to live with it for the rest of her life which makes it worth it. I would like to say things like that have never crossed my mind before but I’d be lying. I also appreciated the fact that Vassa was beautiful and knew it. Oh, I knew beautiful heroines are a dime a dozen in YA but usually you have to sit through how plain they think they are or listen to people drag them down all the while everyone falls in love with them immediately because they’re really beautiful Princesses.
Yes, Vassa might be a little hard to take for some. She’s confused. Lonely. Spiteful and unsure of what, if anything, she wants to do with the rest of her life. She’s also brave, loyal, loving and selfless. In other words a great character.
This book is definitely more along the lines of a dark fairy tale. People are beheaded without much thought. Others are trapped in Bab’s cruel dark powers. At least one of Vassa’s memories of her late mother is genuinely disturbing. The book is also weird. The ending definitely gets crazy and here there’s honestly one of two elements I could have done with out. But it didn’t take away my enjoyment of the story.
Recommend: Yes, especially if you like magical realism. This would also make a really awesome movie.