The Firebird’s Tale – Anya Ow
The Firebird’s Tale begins with the end of a familiar story: a Prince who never smiled, and by Imperial decree, has to marry the one who managed to make him do so.
Except that it was all an accident, and the Prince would say he didn’t actually smile at the thief who dared to rob a Tsar, and the thief was not even a woman—or, as it turns out, even human.
I love faery tales and MM so the combination of the two is a delight. This is the second firebird retelling I had come across with. It’s a story about the prince who was forced to marry the first person who made him smile. In addition, there are tales of different Russian magical creatures scattered throughout the story courtesy of the thief which is good but could have been better had it not been all over the place or dropped at inconvenient times. I would like some tweaks to the writing style, chief of which is the author’s tendency to namedrop magical creatures, people and places like the reader is suppose to know them already. Some explanation would have been appreciated. Like, what the hell are leshys suppose to be? What’s a vucari? What does their land look like? What are these dukes? A little depth to the characterization would also be nice.
The highlights for me are the moments between the prince and the thief that were playful and sweet. And then there were the harsh commentary on human nature by the thief in connection with the tales that were a bit jarring sometimes. I liked it though because it was from the perspective of someone not human.
Sadly, tried as I could, I couldn’t finish this story. The good parts were not enough to overcome the needs-improvement parts and reading has become a pain. An edited, more focused version of this would be appreciated.
2 Stars – it’s a struggle to finish the damn book