Standalone Sunday: Vassa in the Night

Standalone Sunday is a weekly feature created by Megan at Bookslayer Reads which aims to showcase standalone books which you loved or would recommend.

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

Vassa in the Night

In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighbourhood.

In Vassa’s neighbourhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling out again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighbourhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair… 

When it comes to the magical realism genre I expect the books within it to be a little confusing, and I know I will still have some unanswered questions at the end, but Vassa in the Night took it to a whole new level. I really enjoyed the book, but even now I still can’t fully summarise what Vassa in the Night is about.

Still the plot was engaging, Vassa was a well developed character, and the world the story was set in was an interesting one to explore. However that doesn’t change the fact that some parts of this story were just too strange for me to follow.

“Why did it take me so many years to understand that Night is something you can talk to, something that might even decide to watch over you or kiss you just when you’re about to crumple from loneliness?”

You can check out my review for Vassa in the Night here.

What did you think of Vassa in the Night? Have you read it yet or is it still on your to-read list? Let me know in the comments and let me know if you took part in this week’s Standalone Sunday as well.

30 thoughts on “Standalone Sunday: Vassa in the Night

  1. I heard so many mixed reviews about this book last year but I never knew what it was about. After reading that premise, I’m still not sure I know what’s going on, which makes me all the more intrigued. it definitely sounds like a strange read, but I’m up for it! Thanks for reminding me of this one, Beth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are more than a few mixed reviews out there. This book is kind of like Marmite, you either love it or hate it there’s not much in between. Honestly I can’t say I’d even be able to explain it to you, it’s a confusing book but I think you just have to let yourself go a little and embrace the strangeness with this one.
      That’s all right, I hope you enjoy Vassa in the Night Azia. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL, oh Marmite. Not my favorite thing out there haha. Hopefully Vassa in the Night doesn’t yield the same results, but I’ll remain aware of it’s strangeness so I can go in prepared haha 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great pick, Beth! I haven’t read this book yet, I read tons of mixed reviews about this so I am a bit nervous, I’ll admit it ahah 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it though 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Marie. 🙂 Yeah there are tons of mixed reviews for Vassa in the Night, and I do see where a lot of them are coming from because it can be a confusing read at times, but if you’re one of the people who enjoys this book it is a great read! 🙂
      Thanks! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. There are some mixed reviews on this one, and I understand where a lot of them are coming from because as far as magical realism books go it is confusing at times. Still if you do decide to pick this one up one day May I hope you enjoy it, part of me wants to say because you’re discovering magical realism at the moment it’s a book you should check out. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ooooh this is a nice feature especially considering that fantasy standalones are far and few in between. I’ve heard good things about this book, and when I went to an event where the author was speaking, she made it sound very whimsical and even creepy? I hope to get to it one day. 🙂

    ~ Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah that was the main reason I started taking part in this feature; it’s definitely helped me to discover some fantasy standalones I wasn’t aware of before. 🙂
      Whimsical but creepy is a good description for this book. 🙂 It’s a good read overall but a little confusing at times. If you do pick this one up Aimal I hope you enjoy it. 😀


  4. Love the cover! I feel like I’d pick it up for that alone. I love magical realism but I agree, it can leave a lot of unanswered questions. I think it usually works better as a set of two or three.

    I haven’t read this one but I’m interested in the plot! I trust your reviews so I think I will enjoy it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is definitely a gorgeous cover, and honestly the cover was the main reason I added this one to my to-read list. I hadn’t thought of that before, for me part of what I love about magical realism is the idea of unanswered questions, as long as it’s written well enough that unanswered doesn’t feel like unfinished you know? 🙂
      In that case I hope you enjoy this one, and that my review doesn’t lead you astray with Vassa in the Night! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I definitely get what you mean! It’s nice to be left with a bit to wonder about, but not so much that it just feels unfinished. Looking forward to picking it up soon, hopefully!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I read this last year, and I thought it was weird, but good. As you said it was entertaining, and I actually went and read the original folk tale. I thought Porter picked some interesting parts to incorporate and captured the essence of the original tale.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Weird but good is probably the best way to describe Vassa, it was an entertaining read to say the least. 🙂 I haven’t read the original tale, or even looked it up, but maybe I should. It would be interesting to see what the author did change in Vassa in the Night.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. this book is on my TBR and I’m waiting to be in a mood to pick it up. Vassa has tons of mixed reviews so I’m curious to see how I will feel about it but knowing that you liked it gives me hope!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In that case I hope you enjoy it when you do get around to it Gretchen. I think this needs to be a book you pick up when you’re in the right mood for it, it can be quite confusing at times and I get why it has mixed review.
      Still I’ll be interested in seeing what you think about it when you’ve read it! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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