Wednesday, 24 May 2017

What It's Like In Manchester Right Now

Any regular readers will have noticed the radio silence over the last week. There have been no new blog posts, very little in the way of social media action and just generally not a lot going on. The reason is simple: I'm from Manchester. 

I was in France when I got the news. A frantic text from my boyfriend "Have you seen the news??". We managed to get BBC1 working and watched in horror as the details spilled into the living room. My boyfriend lives right by Victoria Station and the Arena, so I was very grateful for the confirmation that he was alive and well. Even so, that was my city on the news. This sort of thing doesn't happen in Manchester, not in my lifetime. It seemed reserved for big Southern cities full of bankers and important people, not this city of artists, crumbling red brick and chilled out pubs. This doesn't happen here. I burst into tears there and then, not sure how to process the news. 

Despite my family's attempts to cheer me up and enjoy the last day of our holiday, I was a bit glum all day. The truth was I was desperate to get back, although I think I hid it well. They didn't quite get it; it was the Scottish clan I was with and they don't have the same connection to the city and its people. For me, Victoria Station was what I passed through every weekend as a teenager, on my way to Manchester with a friend to hang out and giggle at the strange things in Affecks, it's the place where I discovered the McDonalds breakfast menu (an important part of my life, unfortunately) and the Arena is where I went for my very first gig (S Club 7, of course). Just that tiny pocket of Manchester is chock-full of memories for me, and hearing how it had been torn apart by someone with a grudge is horrifying. 

There's the personal aspect, destruction in the city I love and call home, and then there's the true horror of the situation, which hit me first. This man chose to attack a concert that was primarily attended by young girls. He chose the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society, children, and decided they were the ones he would lash out against. I've had many discussions with friends and colleagues over the last few days; we feel like we can't talk about anything else, as if it would be disrespectful to try and forget about it for half an hour. We've talked about his motivations, with discussions going round and round getting no closer to an answer. I have mad respect for Ariana Grande and her reaction to these events; I liked her before, her music isn't to my taste but damn, she can sing, and she seems to work hard at what she loves. Anyone who inspires young girls to be themselves and work hard for what they want is alright in my books. 

What's happened here in Manchester is tragic, and the mood in the city is strange. It's defiant, but scarred. Everyone has been to St Ann's Square where thousands of flowers and tributes are laid out, and you frequently see people heading in that direction to add to it. Bee tattoos abound, graffiti declaring Manchester's sorrow and spirit is cropping up everywhere, and there's a real sense of quiet defiance. The city isn't angry; it's sad and hurt, but there's a definite knowledge that we will be alright. The families of the victims are the worst hurt, and you've no doubt seen that, at the time of writing, more than £5 million has been raised to help. I don't know what the money will even do or be for, but people are simply giving because they know there's nothing else that can be done. Even if all we can do is financially help the families, it will be done. 

The investigation is still very much ongoing. Arrests and raids on properties are happening on a daily basis, and the police are moving incredibly quickly. It's as if the identity of the bomber was the single piece required to crack open an entire network, and the police are closing in fast. A friend of mine actually lives in the building where the bomb is believed to have been made, my Nan witnessed an arrest in Wigan, a man was arrested on a bus on the road where I work, and there was an arrest only last night just up the road from where my boyfriend lives. There's no real sense of fear around the investigation or even the presence of the armed police that line the streets. We wake up each morning and exclaim to each other "Look! They got another one!". Even as I write this there's a bomb squad evacuating an area of Moss Side. These raids have become so commonplace in the last few days that it's a little unsettling. We keep an eye on each event as it pops up, but where only a week ago it would have been all we talked about all day "A bomb squad! In Manchester! God, I hope no one was hurt" it now seems like daily life. 

It will be a very long time before life gets back to normal. Victoria Station is shut for the foreseeable future with structural damage and the trams are all being diverted around it. Arrests, armed police and raids on properties are already being normalised, to the point where I can't remember what life was like before this. 

It's a little strange here, but this is Manchester. We're a strong city full of weird and wonderful people. We never go down without a fight and we'll do everything possible to help everyone affected by this horrific attack. The man that did this and everyone who assisted him can fuck right off. He's no Muslim and he's certainly not a Manc.
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Cohorted Beauty Box | Is it really worth the price tag?

I said not long ago that I wasn't planning to do many more beauty box blogposts, but this was my very first box from Cohorted and I actually have something to say, plus I don't see many Cohorted unboxings online. At £35 this is most expensive beauty box I've tried, and I was curious to see if it would be worth the fairly hefty price tag. I wasn't particularly impressed by the delivery of this box, as it was almost a week later than it should have been and didn't even ship until the day it was due to arrive. Since the sneak peak was a bronzer I was even less enthused, as I've literally never used bronzer in my life and never planned to. However, as disgruntled as I was by the time it finally arrived, upon opening the box I was actually pretty happy.

Cohorted Beauty Box May 2017 Unboxing and Contents

Vita Liberata Trystal Minerals Bronzer

RRP £35


This was the bronzer in the sneak peak, and already covers the cost of the box at £35. After swatching it briefly, it seems light but buildable, so who knows, I may actually give it a go! It comes with a beautifully soft kabuki brush, and it was nice to see a brand like Vita Liberata in a beauty box. 

Vita Liberata Trystal Minerals Bronzer
Lin & Lo Matte Lipstick in Real Red

Lin & Lo Matte Lipstick in Real Red

RRP £19


The first brand discovery item was this extremely red lipstick from Lin & Lo; it's very matte and a true pillar box red. The swatch on my arm was one very quick swipe so you can see just how pigmented it is. It's a little drying, but no more so than many matte lipsticks. The brand was created by two makeup artists, Alina and Laura, and from this lipstick, it seems like they did a good job! The packaging isn't very exciting, but the lipstick itself will definitely see some use in my collection.

Lin & Lo Matte Lipstick in Real Red
NARS Monoi Body Glow II

NARS Monoi Body Glow II

RRP £44


Your eyes do not deceive you, that is NARS in a beauty box. This was on of three options I could have received, the other two being either an Urban Decay or Clarins Lip Pencil. Price wise I seem to have got value for money, and while I didn't expect to be particularly excited about this, after one sniff I was in love. It's a dreamy scent; I'm not quite sure how to describe it. It's sweet but not cloying; there are hints of vanilla and coconut, something slightly floral, which I'm guessing is the tiare flower on the ingredients list, but overall it smells like a tropical spa. It's a multipurpose oil for giving skin a glow, but I think I'll be wearing this dabbed onto my pulse points as a perfume.

Betty Hula Body Moisturiser in Rum and Blackcurrant

Betty Hula Body Moisturiser in Rum & Blackcurrant

RRP £12.99

Another brand discovery was from Betty Hula with this body moisturiser. I was initially a little put out that there was another body product in here, but once again, the smell won me over. Blackcurrant is one of my favourite smells (Lush's The Comforter is a staple) and the hint of rum just takes it to another level. It's extremely moisturising, and I look forward to basically rolling in it after a shower.

Loewe Aura Body Moisturiser

Loewe Aura Moisturising Body Lotion 

RRP £15

Yes, that's another body moisturiser. It's a bit irritating to receive three body products in one box, but in fairness, this is quite different to the NARS oil and the Betty Hula cream. This is much lighter in texture and soaks in immediately; the scent is much lighter and more delicate, where the punch of blackcurrant and rum is almost overwhelming in the Betty Hula, this is a soft lingering floral scent that is almost a perfume. This will get used up, but I think I'm set for body lotion for a good while!

Cohorted Beauty Box May 2017 Unboxing and Contents

Although this box was pretty delayed, I still enjoyed the contents once it arrived. I do think I got good value for money, and I'm particularly happy with the NARS oil. However, the box was pretty unbalanced and weighted towards body products, so hopefully the next one will be better.

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Saturday, 20 May 2017

Six Books From My Childhood

As a child, you'd generally find me with my nose in a book. I'd read anything and everything and I haven't changed much to this day. I've read thousands of books over the years, and my childhood bedroom and Mum's attic are still overflowing with books I refuse to part with. There are so many books I could talk about as favourites, but today I've picked out six for you. These are some of the books that shaped who I am and the things I love to this day; my love of fantasy grew from them, my love of travel was sparked by them and my secret desire to run away and live on an island definitely originates here.

Children Just Like Me by Barnabas and Anabel Kindersley

Children Just Like Me by Barnabas and Anabel Kindersley

This was a gift from my Aunt and Uncle, but there's no date written inside for me to be sure of the year. I adored this book as a child; I remember poring over it every night before bed and in the bath, hence the water damage on one side. It features interviews with children from all over the world, giving a tiny snapshot into the lives of people around the world. I remember Guo Shang in particular and wanting to visit Beijing. There were children from Asia, Oceania, Europe, North and South America and I thought it was the most incredible thing. They were children from all walks of life and I was fascinated by them. This book definitely did some early work in broadening my mind as to how other people live, even if my asking my Mother for "food like Esta from Kenya", or if we could go to Russia so I could take dance lessons like the girl in the book caused some consternation.

The Secret Island by Enid Blyton

The Secret Island by Enid Blyton

I had a pretty extensive Enid Blyton collection, handed down from my Mother who read them in the 60s and her cousin who read them in the 70s. Eventually, they ended up with me in the 90s, slightly battered but still very much loved. There still scrawls made by my Mum aged nine, and I'm pretty sure I added to them (horrifying, but I was very young). The Secret Island was always my favourite, despite not being a big fan of the rest of the Secret series, not to be confused with the Secret Seven. The Secret Island was about three children living with an abusive Aunt and Uncle after their parents go missing in an aeroplane accident; withing the first twenty pages they decide to run away to a secret island on a lake with their friend Jack. It's a very short book, but so wholesome that it's one I have with me in my flat for really, really bad days. Reading about Jack, Peggy, Mike and Nora and their very tame escapades on the island is an instant pick-me-up. The chapter where they manage to get a cow on the island was always my favourite for the sheer ridiculousness. 

The Valley of Secrets by Charmian Hussey

The Valley of Secrets by Charmian Hussey

The Valley of Secrets was not at all what I expected it to be. I bought it when I was about ten in a Waterstones, thinking it would be magical and fantastical; it was fantastical, but not in the way I expected. It follows Stephen Lansbury, an orphan who is left a vast fortune by a distant uncle he didn't know existed. The fortune requires him to travel to his new estate in rural Cornwall, and comes with several secretive stipulations. It takes a very long time to discover what's really going on, as Stephen is drawn into the diaries in his late uncle's office and his adventures in the Amazon rainforest as a young man. There's clearly something strange about the house and grounds, and Stephen, alone and lost as he has been for all his life, is desperate to learn the truth. The Valley of Secrets gave me a real love for animals that I didn't really have before; I got very into David Attenborough after reading this! It's still an enjoyable read to this day, and I give it a solid amount of credit for my A* essay on the Amazon in Year 8 Geography.

The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

My Mum bought the first book in this series, Alanna: The First Adventure, for me when I was nine. We had just been for an interview and open day at a private school (which I ended up not going to because it was too expensive) and they had provided us with a reading list of the kind of books that were recommended for Year 7s. Several of the books weren't my thing at all, but I dutifully read them all to get a feel for them. I didn't expect this to be my thing at all, as I tended to turn my nose up at any fantasy that wasn't Harry Potter or The Hobbit, but damn, nine year old me loved this. I read it multiple times until I found the full quartet in a bookshop a year or so later. You can probably tell how well read this is by the state of the it! It was a very early dip into feminism and female empowerment and all I wanted was to be a knight for a good while. Gone were the princessy dreams of the past, I wanted to ride a horse and be deadly with a sword in the name of fighting evil. The book follows Alanna, who switches places with her twin brother so she can train as a knight and he can study to be a sorcerer. I went on to read everything Tamora Pierce has written, aside from a few short stories, and although I'm really too old for it now I still keep up with it for the nostalgia and an easy read.

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

Another one with a very battered cover! Northern Lights, the first book in Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy massively shaped my childhood. I remember reading this in Year Five, so I would have been about seven or eight, which is pretty young for a book this dark! The journey Lyra takes to the North and into the heart of the Church's darkest secrets only compounded my very early distrust of organised religion. I had refused to say prayers in school from Year 3, and while I'm much more open to religion these days, if not personally, it definitely affected how I saw adults and not necessarily positively. I'm still a firm believer that respecting your elders is a load of rubbish; if they don't respect me I do not have an obligation to respect them just because they've lived longer. This book made me a cynic for a while.

Sabriel by Garth Nix

Sabriel by Garth Nix

For a book I love as much as Sabriel, this is in remarkably good condition. The reason is that for a long time I didn't own a copy, and would instead periodically check it out of my local library. This is a pretty scary book, and I definitely remember having nightmares about the mordicant. I was well acquainted with death from a young age and still have a bit of a morbid fascination. I loved the world of the Old Kingdom created by Nix, where death and life mingle with disastrous consequences. My father died when I was very young, and I was definitely drawn to books with father-daughter relationships. Sabriel was relatable for me because it deals with a girl doing her utmost to save her father from death, only to realise the futility and get drawn into world-changing events involving dark magic and the dead. I loved it and still do to this day. I reviewed the latest book in the Old Kingdom Series, Goldenhand, back in October, if you fancy a read!

Let me know if you loved any of these books as a child!

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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Three Coffee Shops I Adore | Guide to Manchester

If you're anything like me, coffee is sometimes the only way you get through the day. When I'm in need of a serious nose-to-the-grindstone blogging day, I head out of the flat and into town with my laptop to a place with good coffee and free WiFi. I like the combination of people and chatter all around, while I've got earphones in and a laptop in front of me; I feel like I'm on a little island watching the world go by, and it's one of my favourite things to do. I've put together three of my favourite places in Manchester to sit and chill with a flat white or type frantically. If you're ever around town and craving caffeine I highly recommend checking one of them out!

Fig + Sparrow Manchester
Fig + Sparrow Manchester
Fig + Sparrow Manchester
Fig + Sparrow Manchester
Fig + Sparrow Manchester
Fig + Sparrow Manchester

Fig and Sparrow

20 Oldham Street
10am-6pm

Fig and Sparrow has a kind of homely-hipster vibe, in that you'll find it full of bearded men in beanies and ripped jeans, but you'll also spot middle-aged couples drinking tea in the corner and families scoffing beans on toast in the window. The vibe is friendly, popular with people from all walks of life. I feel comfortable there and tend to end up spending longer than I intended to chilling and working. They serve a damn good flat white or a pot of Jasmine Green Tea for £2.60, which are my beverages of choice in most coffee shops. The coffee and tea menu is large but not overwhelming, and the staff are friendly and will chat to anyone who fancies a natter, but equally, know when to leave you alone. It's fairly small and gets busy quickly, so I'd recommend avoiding the lunchtime rush if you can.

Fig and Sparrow also stock bread from the ever elusive Trove bakery, a Manchester legend, but you'll have to get there early if you want to buy a loaf to take home as it's generally sold out well before noon. Trove's bread features on the rustic food menu, which is small but hearty. Expect all the toast toppings you could desire; I know we'd all pick avocado but sometimes beans on toast is just what you want. Next time I'm there I'm definitely buying a sandwich because they sound incredible! Think houmous, carrot and sun-dried tomato, organic cheddar, fig jam and parma ham or mozzarella and pesto, and the bread is all from Trove, so I might try the olive and rosemary bloomer, or the rye and fennel sourdough...I'm getting hungry. 

Bizarrely, Fig and Sparrow is also a homeware shop, selling a multitude of accoutrements including, from a very quick glance around, whisks, ladles, jars, cushions, wrapping paper and kitsch cards, whisky glasses, clocks, mirrors, shopping bags, teapots and candlesticks. It's just off the beaten track, less than five minutes from the swarming masses surrounding Piccadilly Gardens, Primark, Debenhams and Market Street and just by Afflecks. It's become a local hotspot for hot strong coffee away from the folks who've come for a day's shopping. 





Foundation Coffee House Northern Quarter Manchester
Foundation Coffee House Northern Quarter Manchester
Foundation Coffee House Northern Quarter Manchester
Foundation Coffee House Northern Quarter Manchester
Foundation Coffee House Northern Quarter Manchester
Foundation Coffee House Northern Quarter Manchester
Foundation Coffee House Northern Quarter Manchester
Foundation Coffee House Northern Quarter Manchester
Foundation Coffee House Northern Quarter Manchester

Foundation Coffee House

Lever Street

11am-10pm

When I first visited Foundation there was an actual queue outside. It was five to eleven and had yet to open, yet there were easily at least ten of us outside in the drizzling rain, desperately waiting for our caffeine fix. Even I hadn't planned to be there I probably would have hung around to find out what all the fuss was about. As such, I'd recommend getting there early if you want one of the good window seats. Foundation Coffee House is a huge space channelling serious industrial vibes and is a true hipster haunt. A flat white or pot of green tea will cost you £2.50. The flat white invariably arrives with a slightly messed up floret, so it may not be the best place for Instagramming your coffee, but the interior makes up for that aplenty. 

Whoever did the interior design for the place likes hexagons even more than I do, and the space has a cool and crisp feeling.  There's unvarnished wooden tables, concrete flooring interspersed with white hexagonal tiles, bare lightbulbs and mismatched barstools. It's achingly hipsterish, but not in the way that in some coffee shops you can find yourself overwhelmed by the extensive choice of "artisan" coffees and overly-complicated menus where the staff judge your silent floundering to make a decision, ultimately leaving you with a hideously expensive coffee that you don't even like.

Despite the hipster element (we're talking lots of plaid, single earrings on the guys, ripped jeans and artfully tousled hair), it's also popular with older customers, with groups of older women arriving periodically for coffee and cake (lots of gluten free and vegan options). Lunch is sandwiches and salads, think ham, cheddar and apple chutney on any bread you can think of, or salmon, black rice, quinoa and ginger salad; there's something for most tastes here. Breakfast is your basic pastries and baked goods; crumpets, pain au chocolat and croissants, scones, tea cakes and a bit of porridge if you're really hungry, but since it's only open at 11 it's not surprising that the menu is a bit limited. The venue is also licensed, serving alcohol throughout the day, alongside protein shakes and smoothies. 

We also need to talk about what is one of the most Instagrammable loos I've ever seen; look at those tiles! I also love the sink and the tile with the mistake on it made me simultaneously laugh and despair. There's also what is quite possibly stairs to another dimension next door, judging by the slightly sinister question mark. 



Takk Northern Quarter Manchester
Takk Northern Quarter Manchester
Takk Northern Quarter Manchester
Takk Northern Quarter Manchester
Takk Northern Quarter Manchester

Takk

6 Tariff Street 
Weekdays 8-5, Saturday 9-5 and Sunday 10-5
Takk is an Icelandic-inspired coffee house at the Piccadilly end of town, outside of what I would consider the proper Norther Quarter. It's in the middle size-wise and has an industrial vibe again, but where Foundation Coffee House is cool and calm, Takk has a warm and friendly atmosphere. Where Foundation is concrete, tiles and cool tones, Takk is old, worn wood, warm yellow lighting, a sage green bar and red brick walls; it's hipster, but of a friendlier sort. It's furnished with what seems to be recycled wood, including old school desks for tables and church pews for seats, but smoothed and sanded down so that they're surprisingly comfortable. The art on the walls is angular and cartoon-like; think a samurai emblazoned with a Nike logo, or a strange forest scene with spindly creatures spewing pink smoke, and a bird on impossibly long legs that looks like it's wearing a leafy tutu; it gives me Totoro vibes but with a very different art style. There's a cute corner filled with books that I really want to try and bag a seat in but it's always full. A flat white will cost you a pretty standard £2.60, with a perfect floret and steaming hot.

Were there not someone right by the door the busy environment would be slightly overwhelming at first, as it's invariably bustling with people. The staff are extremely friendly, showing you to a table as soon as you enter and telling you to come up to the bar when you're ready to order, a fact I seriously appreciate because I hate the anxiety of eating or drinking somewhere new. Do I wait at the table? Do I go up and order? Wait, there's another till over there, is that where I go? A simple "just pop to the till when you're ready" eliminates so much anxiety and stress. The weekend brunch menu is served until 4pm and features wonders like brioche french toast with honey and vanilla mascarpone, pistachios and blueberry compote and maple syrup. droooool. For the meatier minded, they do ham hock crumpets and there are plenty of veggie and vegan options. 

Generally, I prefer to work in a little nook or in a window, somewhere where I feel I can look out but people don't really look at me. In Takk I can sit in full view of the bar, surrounded by people, and feel comfortable enough to take photos and whip out my laptop and write and write. There's no denying that it's noisy, with a general hubbub of chatter, milk steaming and chilled out beats playing over the speakers, but it's a nice kind of noise. It's softened by the brick walls and wood and washes over you pleasantly as you work or chill. There are events on Takk's Tumblr page, including music performances and a chat about a recent staff visit to El Salvador to meet the growers of the coffee they sell; they're clearly serious about the coffee they produce, but not in a snobby, elitist way. It's chilled out and friendly, and it might be my favourite on this list.




I hope that you enjoyed this post and hopefully found somewhere you might pop into if you're ever in town. I'm thinking of turning this into a little series, perhaps looking at some of my favourite brunches, lunches and other things around Manchester. Let me know if you think of any other categories you'd like to read about!


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Saturday, 13 May 2017

Evil In The Woods | The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden

I'm not sure where I learned about it, but since I was a child I've always loved Russian folklore. Baba Yaga, in particular, was a fascinating figure for me; I recall asking my Mum what the name was of the witch in the woods with the house with chicken legs and her thinking I must have dreamt it. For a while, I thought I'd dreamt it as well until I stumbled across the Baba Yaga Wikipedia page. Russian folklore is the kind of thing that's always been in the back of my mind; whenever I wrote fiction as a teenager there would frequently be an element of it woven into the story in some way, not very well, but it was there. 


The Bear and the Nightingale is set in a poorly recorded era of Russian history when it was ruled by a Grand Duke and was subject to Mongol rule from Constantinople. Russia is in a state of flux; the old ways are gradually being usurped by Christianity, and there are hints that the yoke of the Golden Horde is slipping. The wider political themes of the time play only a very minor role in the plot, but the shifts in the religious sphere of Russia have a huge impact. As Christianity grows stronger, the old ways are forgotten, allowing old enemies to break free from age-old bonds.

Vasya, or Vasilisa, is the protagonist, and we follow her from birth to adulthood as she grows up in rural Russia, the youngest child of a boyar, roughly equated to a Baron, and his first wife. For all their nobility, they live a hard life and work hard to protect their people and land from the harsh Russian winters. They are well-connected with the Tsar in Moscow but are considered politically insignificant, living so far from the capital. 


Vasya's home begins to change with the arrival of a new step-mother, Anna Ivanova, and a priest from Moscow. At the start of the book the atmosphere is one of youthful optimism, but as Vasya grows into a young woman, her world becomes evermore dangerous. She learns to interact with the spirits of the house and the forest; she befriends spirits both malevolent and kind, learning things from them that few humans know. However, the security of her childhood and the old way changes as the family grows and separates. Fear grows steadily stronger as people are convinced that their troubles are due to the old ways and must embrace Orthodox Christianity. In doing so they place themselves in more danger, neglecting the old gods and spirits who exist to protect them. As the old ways grow weaker, they lose their protection from The Bear. 

It's never made clear what The Bear actually is, but it is safe to say that he is an enemy of humanity; he is the hunger of winter and thrives on fear. As the priest, Father Konstantin, warps the people into god-fearing Christians The Bear grows ever more powerful. Vasya is ultimately forced to work in secret to try to save her people who have begun to fear her and her uncanny knowledge.

The Bear and the Nightingale explores themes of nature and culture, where Vasya is the embodiment of old, wild Russia, her siblings represent the new, civilised country that is developing. Vasya's family, particularly Sasha and Olga, represent the good side of new Russia, while Anna Ivanova and Father Konstantin represent the bad side. The priest is an example of how ego can warp good intentions and turn religion into a weapon for gain and self-aggrandisement. His ego and desire for power are as much of an enemy to Vasya and her family as The Bear. It's made clear that Orthodox Christianity is not the enemy; individuals are clearly shown to have their own motive. 


The Bear and the Nightingale isn't a work of genius or a masterpiece, but it is an excellent read. The characters are realistic and consistent, though the plot occasionally drags as you wait for something to happen. The plot is interesting but somewhat restricted by being forced to act out a version of a folk tale in parts. The parts I enjoyed most were those not based on folklore, as I thought Arden did a better job of writing originally rather than adapting existing stories.

The ham-fisted Russian transliterations take some adjustment; the author explains that she modifies them to equate with how Westerners think Russian sounds, but the lack of consistency on how endings are rendered and translated became a bit annoying at times. The glossary is handy for referring to particular words, but overall I feel like the rendering of Russian needed some refinement. 



Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will definitely be buying the sequel. I'm aware that this is a pretty long review by most standards, but I could have gone on for even longer; it brought out my linguist and anthropologist side!


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