I adore this book, and the others in the series. I haven't enjoyed a fantasy series so much for a long time. The author brings the characteristic qualities of Russian literature--a lightness of touch yet seriousness of theme, dry humour, rich imagery, vivid characters, great settings, philosophical reflection, melancholy mixed with joy and a refusal to see the world in black and white--to the genre, and it is vastly enriched by it. Full of inventiveness, unafraid to take risks with character or story, it's simply brilliant, and totally engrossing. Having just been to Russia, I enjoyed it all the more, but I think the books speak to any reader, regardless. As soon as I finished this book, I had to rush out and buy all the others in the series, which were just as good. I'm only sorry there are no more set in this world.
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