Elena Rudina lives in the impoverished Russian countryside. Her father has been dead for years. Her brothers have been conscripted into the Tsar's army and taken as servants in the house of the local wealthy landowner. Her mother is dying, slowly, in their tiny cabin. And there is no food. But then a train arrives in the village, a train carrying untold wealth, a cornucopia of food, and a noble family destined to visit the Tsar in St. Petersburg - a family that includes Ekaterina, a girl of Elena's age. When the two girls' lives collide, an adventure is set in motion, an adventure that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and - in a starring role only Gregory Maguire could have conjured - Baba Yaga, the witch of Russian folklore, in her moving house perched on chicken legs.
©2014 Gregory Maguire, original book published by Candlewick Press (P)(P) 2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
Put your books into my ears!!!
The book was a decent listen and very whimsical. The two main characters were written vividly, however I felt like everyone else fell rather flat.
It's hard to explain, but it felt like stuff just randomly appeared because it needed to in order for the story to be resolved, as opposed to an intricate tale being woven, if that makes any sense. The same thing happened with characters. They stated that they felt certain ways instead of showing it, which made it seem like it was easier for the author to just write in things that seemed uncharacteristic, rather than to recreate the character to work.
The story was cute and fun for kids...and it's not that I wasn't entertained, it just seemed sort of slapped together rather than deeply created.
The narrator was interesting. It took me awhile to get use to Page doing all of the voices, but once I did it was fine. However, when he started voicing the dragon, I almost turned off the book. Luckily it was only for a chapter or so.
One of my favorites, great story(ies), humor, lots,of surprises, wonderful characters.
She brings the story alive with her wonderful portrayal of all of the characters.
What a story, a little bit of The Prince(ss) and the Pulper, a bit of Russian folklore- Baba Yaga (think Hansel and Gretel) with a cat familiar named Mewster who warns the "guests" of what not to do, Baba Yaga's comments are priceless, the Firebird goes missing taking the magic of Russia with him, the White Winter Dragon who wakes up too soon and a black hen whose wish....I'll let you find that out. There is a grand ball (what to wear!), people are imprisoned/escape (not all of them), a quest, a solution for world hunger.......I laughed my way through it. Thanks to Gregory McGuire and Michelle Page!
Everything came together in a nice, tidy way - just like a fairy tale should.
All of the characters were unique. Page portrayed the deranged Baba Yaga energetically, with hysterical results. Baba Yaga's cat, Mewster, was sly and sardonic. The performance throughout was elevated by lively and hilarious dialogue.
I found it hard to stay interested in this book. It had some moments that caught my attention but a majority of it just dragged on until I stopped caring about the characters and plot.
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
He might well have twisted Russian folklore to tell a story much like Egg & Spoon - witty, charming, a little food for thought, and just plain fun. I don't know why this book is listed as "Teens" because like the best of "fairy tales" or fables, this is a fantasy yarn that could be enjoyed by any age listener and the ultimate hero is Baba Yaga (yes, you heard me, scary old Baba Yaga saves the day), who is ancient! The story is a bit slow picking up speed in the beginning as the characters are introduced, but gets fun and adventuresome fairly soon. I think if I had actually read the book, I would also think some of the length could be edited. However, listening to this book performed by Michael Page is a real delight - what an artist! So, the length in the audio book is not a problem. I'm SO glad Audible had this on a Daily Deal because the teen classification might have caused me to miss it otherwise.
Stay away from this grotesque pile of words. It is a drawn out fairy tale no child would like, much less an adult. The reader is grating. I couldn't even finish it.
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