ACHUKA Book of the Day 21 Feb 2022
Packed with a colourful Slavic cast of tempestuous gods and frightening monsters, this is above all a story about friendship, and how far you would go and what you would sacrifice to avoid saying goodbye to someone you love.
No human has ever returned from Navia, the Slavic afterlife. But twelve-year-old Mara is not entirely human. She is the granddaughter of Stribog, the god of winter winds and she’s determined to bring her beloved father back from the dead. Though powerless, Mara and her best friend Torniv, the bear-shifter, set out on an epic journey to defy the gods and rescue her father. On their epic journey they will bargain with forest lords, free goddesses from enchantments, sail the stormy seas in a ship made of gold and dodge the cooking pot of the villainous Baba Latingorka. Little do the intrepid duo know of the terrible forces they have set in motion, for the world is full of darkness and Mara will have to rely on her wits to survive.
Growing up, I spent most of my summers in Mazury, the Polish lake district. The expansive leafy forests surround the reed-growing ponds and lakes. Walking, mushroom picking and, of course, swimming (wild swimming, as people in the UK would call it, but, honestly, growing up I knew no other kind) filled my days, but I was ever aware of the dangers there, should I be foolish or careless. Swimming in the night under the moon is wonderful, but swim out too far or be over confident and you will drown. The mushrooms and berries are great, but you have to know what you’re picking, because there are plenty enough opportunities to poison yourself, should you forage carelessly. The forests lure you in with lush green and their calm, but don’t walk too close to the fresh wild boar tracks, and don’t mistake the lush grass-covered marshes for solid land.
Gabriela Houston, writing for tripfiction.com
The author cohosts Bookish Take on YouTube. Follow her on Instagram:
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