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Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
Russian Science Fiction & Fantasy

A review of Bastard, Ritual, Virlene

   The very first book by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko published by Krang-press, Kiev, has quickly attracted the attention of readers. It is written in a rare genre of a 'serious Fantasy', where the adventures themselves (which are quite fascinating indeed) are far from being self-sufficient, but are just a way of expressing internal emotional experience, showing the development of personalities, and leading the reader to a certain philosophical and sacral essence of the novel that certainly exists in The Gate-Keeper. This book is clever and fascinating; it is full of distinctive stylistic features and unexpected turns of the plot, as well as realistic images of characters... Of course, there are some logical or psychological inaccuracies in the book, but who's faultless?! By the way, The Gate-Keeper is the first part of a trilogy that is to be soon published in full in the joint series of AST-press and Terra Fantastica-press (Moscow -- St. Petersburg).

   Marina and Sergey Dyachenko (Kiev): Ritual. The book includes: a novella, Bastard, the title novel, Ritual, and a short story, Virlene. Bastard is quite good, with vivid characters, not without humor and action. In our opinion, it is not exactly a serious, 'grown-up' work; there are some 'extra' episodes - the wish to create more and more adventures is so tempting! And the hidden truth becomes evident to the reader too soon! Basically, the novella is good, but teenager-oriented. The latter cannot in the least be applied to the novel, Ritual. This is the literature of a totally different level, with absolutely true characters, soft irony and quiet sorrow; the trite story about a dragon stealing a princess and a savior-knight is unexpectedly turned inside out: what if the princess is far form being a beauty, more to the contrary? What if the knight does not even think about saving her? But he is forced to do it... by the dragon! What if... There is a number of similar surprises throughout the novel, it reads avidly, and, after having read the last page, you want to call for more. But then you realize that it would be a completely different story... We can only sincerely congratulate Marina and Sergey with evident success. We see truly talented authors, making a sound presentation of their works. As for Virlene... Read and see. We advise you to.


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