Saturday, May 06, 2017

Book Review: Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

Title: Vassa in the Night
Author: Sarah Porter
Published: 2016
Source: Edelweiss

Summary: The nights in Brooklyn are growing longer lately, and night is the scariest time to go to BY's convenience store, surrounded by the heads of shoplifters on pikes. Vassa has no choice, though, when one of her stepsisters insists that she needs lightbulbs right now, that it can't wait until the distant morning.

Armed only with her tiny living doll, Erg, a gift from her long-dead mother, she ventures forth. Almost immediately, Vassa gets captured by BY's horrifying proprietor, Babs Yagg, and her hideous severed-hand henchmen. Babs says she will let her go, but only if she can survive three nights working at the front counter as cashier. Three very, very long nights.

First Impressions: This was really neat and creepy. It got more horror-ish as time went on but never quite tipped over into that genre, I think.

Later On: When it comes to horror, I'm a wimp. I don't watch scary movies and in general, I stay away from the most hard-core thngs-that-go-bump-in-the-night novels. But I like books with a little bit of an edge, just a flash of teeth.

As I was explaining to a co-worker while trying to get her to read this book (a noble cause, I think you'll agree), it's not so much horror as it is tremendously dark fantasy. There are dismemberments and those creepy little hands and heads on pikes, and not everything is magically fixed at the end. What keeps it from being the darkest of horror, in my mind, was that Vassa has a lot of resources of her own. There's Erg, for one, and then there's Vassa herself, who is smart and resourceful and has a gentler heart then maybe she would like to admit.

There's also a sense of a bigger magical world outside the one that Vassa inhabits within BY's. In flashbacks, we get some of her backstory and that of her parents filled in. For all its gory threats, it's one I would be happy to return to.

More: Cuddlebuggery
Waking Brain Cells
Interview with the Author at Barnes &

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