Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Friday’s to look forward to an upcoming release that I”m excited about! Today’s is The Way Back by Gavriel Savit, and it’s based in Jewish folk tradition. I am woefully uneducated in Jewish beliefs and folklore, and this sounds like an excellent way to pick some up plus the book just sounds incredible on its own. Expected release: November 17, 2020
Why wait on this one?
Like I mentioned above, this story draws on Jewish folklore, which is something I know very very little about. I tend to love stories based in cultural or religious lore as it’s an interesting insight into that group. PLUS those kinds of stories tend to be ABSOLUTELY WILD and I am all about that.
For example, The Way Back involves demons and angels and pacts with Death. There are even Death angels, which are usually two opposite things in my mind! And a whole royal hierarchy of demons? I am so fascinated and excited. Only in my books do I love demons, but boy do I love demons in my books. 😍
If you didn’t gather this already from above, this sounds like a seriously epic story. As always our hapless heroes get forced into things wayyyy out of their league, and have to try to make do. Wheelin’ and dealin’ with devils and demons never gets old for me. Throw in some new Yiddish words for me to learn and it’s a killer combo!
Summary: For the Jews of Eastern Europe, demons are everywhere: dancing on the rooftops in the darkness of midnight, congregating in the trees, harrowing the dead, even reaching out to try and steal away the living.
But the demons have a land of their own: a Far Country peopled with the souls of the transient dead, governed by demonic dukes, barons, and earls. When the Angel of Death comes strolling through the little shtetl of Tupik one night, two young people will be sent spinning off on a journey through the Far Country. There they will make pacts with ancient demons, declare war on Death himself, and maybe– just maybe–find a way to make it back alive.
Recommended: YUP For a fantastic world in both senses of the word, for an epic adventure kind of story, for creatures that will certainly haunt you in sleep
Summary: The veil is thinning. Every day more undead creatures slip into Everra. Soon their most terrifying kin, spawn of the dark goddess Orestin, will emerge to devour all life. Master Historian Mycellane enlists an aging Knight and an inexperienced priestess to join him on a journey to obtain an ancient artifact-one that can bring an end to the incursion. But their salvation lies on the other side of the veil, in the Dead Waste of Myrcantos, and only one person can bring them through: a Myrcantan necromancer who remains loyal to the enemy. The path before them leads through a barren, unforgiving land. Ravenous abominations lurk in the shadows. But the greatest danger to their mission is the hatred and distrust they feel for one another…
Thoughts: Orestin’s Own deftly avoided the trap of falling into expected cliches and “twists” that are actually pretty much the norm by this point. The twists here? Are entirely unique. A book I can’t predict 100% is a rare treat for me, and this was one of them. Reading this felt so lyrical, and so emotive. The feeling of cold seeping into the characters bones as they traverse the frozen wasteland of the dead… the paranoia they grapple with, both towards each other and their more pressing threats… the jarring descriptions of all manner of shambling corpses and afterworldly horrors…. I felt it.
Recommended: sure For a fairy-tale-esque read that actually has a few surprises, for an MC who is actually pretty dark but without being too whiny about it, for some pretty dope myth and folklore inclusion
Summary: There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story. As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison. Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.
Thoughts: My biggest takeaway from this book is that it was much better than I expected, but still not particularly mind-blowing because I had low expectations. I know that might sound weird: why did I write a whole post months ago about how I was anticipating this book if my expectations were kind of low? And to that I say that even if I don’t expect a book to blow my mind with originality, it can still fill a pleasant role as a somewhat predictable but still enjoyable read.