Mistress of the Solstice is a novel by Anna Kashina.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away. I am not early with my review, but honest.]
Finished on: 4.9.2018
Marya is the Mistress of the Solstice, the high priestess of their cult. Her most important task is to perform the annual sacrifice of a virgin to Marya’s father, the immortal tsar Kashchey. This sacrifice is necessary to keep their kingdom save and prosperous. But then Ivan shows up, Ivan the Fool, youngest prince of a neighboring kingdom. Ivan is on a quest to kill Kashchey and get rid off the sacrifices once and for all. He is not the first to try. But when Marya and Ivan meet, they are both knocked off course.
I really enjoyed reading Mistress of the Solstice. It’s well-written and imaginative and really profits off the setting that draws on Russian folklore.
Mistress of the Solstice is a pretty quick read. Kashina’s writing is really fluid, moving you along more than you have to move yourself, especially since the plotting is really tight and works down to a tee. And as an additional bonus.,the sex scenes are pretty steamy.
I really enjoyed the Russian folklore that is a huge inspiration for the story. (Kashina herself was born in Russia.) There’s Baba Yaga, of course, but I also really enjoyed Wolf and Raven. And there are more Russian creatures that find their way into the book.
But I also liked the human characters, above all Ivan. Marya was interesting as well, but the story was less kind to her. There are very few women in the book to begin with, and then most of them are just damsels (Baba Yaga excepted, of course). And Marya is super powerful and everything, but then she needs saving, too – only she doesn’t know it yet. Could have done without that bit. Although I did like Ivan and Marya together.
Overall, Mistress of Solstice is a very satisfying read in a fantasy world that offers some new angles from the usual stuff.
Summarizing: I really enjoyed reading it.