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Babayaga: A Novel Hardcover – August 6, 2013
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Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunately, concept stands in for character development, and the story frequently feels careening and lost. The plot is fast-paced, and one scenario rarely has time to develop before a new element is added. Early in the book, this feels exciting, but as the book continues, it begins to feels jarring. Characters react to the circumstances that they are in to move the plot forward, and this serves to create the feeling that the characters are just pieces being moved around a game board. Brief character histories are included, but these just introduce more clutter and less clarity.
I loved this book for its ideas, but the execution was so poor that I struggled to finish it. To me, it felt like the difference between eating at a buffet and dining at a good restaurant; quantity cannot substitute for quality, and using the right ingredients is better than using all of the ingredients. "Babayaga" was promising, but ultimately unsatisfying.
The characters in this book are irresistible. Starting with the witch from the Russian stories, Babayaga now known as Elga, a group of five witches leave the wasted Russia. Elga and Zoya the temptress arrive in Paris. The stories of their travels unreel and evolve. Their psychic selves are explored in unusual detail. Their spells are hinted in enmeshing detail. Even the Greek chorus of witches past are fascinating in a way that I did not foretell. I read their tales would be told in blank verse, I wasn't looking forward to it. Then I read it and was hooked. This is a talented writer who manages to engage us within the troubles of a policeman turned into a flea. This doesn't seem likely, but you must read it and see.
This writing is a kind of magical realism that quotes the laws of physics on the preservation of matter and energy in the midst of quivering spells and the epics of men. I recommend this book to anyone who wishes to enter a world not evident lying beneath the improbable world which we take to be true.
If you enjoyed this book you should read his first book, “Sharp Teeth”, a dark gritty tale of werewolves in L.A. I can’t wait to see what brilliance he cooks up next.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved, loved, loved this book. It is possible, to be fair, that you will hate it. It is hateable, for many of the reasons that made me love it, as well as for some flaws that are... Read morePublished 3 months ago by E. M. Epps
Babayaga is a rare find. This book does not follow convention, and therefore has an outcome that is practically impossible to predict. Read morePublished 5 months ago by GNozea
I had a great time reading this book. It was full of stuff that would make a great movie. The sense of humor, the way he weaved the storyline and characters together. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Renee D Closs
Starts out strong and quite original, but gets bogged down in overlong back stories and verbose, overwritten narrative passages. Read morePublished 15 months ago by 1gudriter
An engrossing and mature fantasy set in post-world war two Paris. The plot improbably but seamlessly and combines espionage, social commentary, romance, detection and witchcraft,... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Danielle S Matland
This book is unusual in its deft, ironic and restrained handling of its supernatural subject. One of the most enjoyable reads I've had in a long time.Published 17 months ago by Carol Leake
Excellent, funny and fast novel by the word meister, Toby Barlow. He takes Russian witchcraft to a quite haunting and amusing level. I know what I'll wear next Halloween.Published 18 months ago by Urban Irish
"Wow" sums up this book for me. Beautifully written, complex and captivating, with not only a fascinating, unique plot line but moments of deep philosophies concerning life... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Amy Eddleman
Spies and Russian witches in Paris in 1959. Intriguing mix of characters, a fabulously rich story and a nice love story, too!Published 19 months ago by Laura Scott