I was so excited for this book because it was marketed as a Russian Fairy Tale. It is not. I liked the story, but would have liked it more if I wasn't waiting for a fairy tale. It is difficult to read until you get to the middle. The pacing is slow to start, and many characters are introduced that are merely pawns to explain how the main characters came to be in the village. The Russian names are difficult, which makes it harder to keep track of the numerous characters, especially when they are often called by different nicknames that you didn't know at first. However, once the evil starts taking over the village, the story picks up and moves at a fast pace. When the author focuses on the main characters, they begin to be more than pawns and come to life, especially Vasilisa and her brother Alyosha.
This is a good book if you are a good reader and willing to slog through the first half for the jewel in the second half. You can tell this is her debut novel. Had she placed the characters in the story and began to tell it, rather than spend over a hundred pages explaining how everyone came to be there, it would have been an amazing story, rather than just good. Sadly, I cannot recommend this book to many of my friends because of these difficulties. However, if you are a good reader, and like Vasya, are willing to fight for the good, you will enjoy this book.