THE PASSION OF DOLSSA -- weaves complex historical and religious matters into a spellbinding thriller
The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry (2016, Viking Books for Young Readers; 496 pages)
The author of All the Truth That’s In Me will release a new historical fiction young adult novel in April. I’ve been able to read an advance reader’s copy, and I found it fascinating.
The novel is set in Medieval France, under the shadow of The Inquisition. There, the lives of two extraordinary young women, a mystic and a matchmaker, collide, resulting in miracles that put an entire village in mortal danger. This book is the story of Dolssa.
The back cover of the book adds this information:
“In the waning days of the thirteenth century, a Dominican friar stumbled on a secret that the Church had intended to keep buried forever-a testimony so dangerous, it had to be burned. Hidden in the archives, among decades of records, was a story-the shocking, heartbreaking, awe-inspiring story of an unlikely friendship, of thwarted love, of a searing mission for vengeance that brought the wrath of a ruthless and far reaching hierarchy down to crush an entire village. All because of one girl, Dolssa, who refused to remain silent.”
With unique characters and a strong plot, this reading was a transcendent experience that I recommend to readers with a passion for historical novels, religious mystics or gender politics.
Find this title in our catalog: The Passion of Dolssa
Recommended by: Maite
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (2015, Henry Holt and Co.; 480 pages)
It has been considered one of the best books released this year and everybody is talking about it. Six of Crows is the beginning of a new Fantasy series written by Leigh Bardugo, who brings us another stunningly compelling story with epic adventure centered around a band of misfits who set out to take on an impossible heist. The premise is this: six young criminals are hired to break into (and then out of) the most secure prison in the world, a premise that compares to that of Danny Ocean and his Ocean's 11.
The world of Six of Crows is set in the universe created in the Grisha Trilogy, but you don't need to read the trilogy in order to enjoy, and love, this book. The novel, set two years after Ruin and Rising, is narrated from the perspectives of 6 of the characters: Kaz Brekker, Inej, Nina, Jesper, Wylan and Matthias.
“Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.”
The book starts with a long and somewhat hard to read chapter that serves as a prologue and as an introduction into the universe of the Grisha. I had to fight to finish this first chapter, but once I crossed it, I was in heaven. Heaven is good literature, filled with fantastic and diverse teen characters. Heaven is finding a new fabulous villain to fall in love with. And heaven is to get lost in a plot where the reader simply reads and goes along, enjoying the adventure through the eyes of six different characters- six points of view of six anti-heroes to love.
I want to emphasize that this novel cares about diversity. There is an African-American character, a bisexual character and a gay character. And then, of course, the author chooses to include disability as a main aspect of the greatest protagonist -- for me -- of all. This is something unique and fantastic: a disabled protagonist in genre fiction. We read about PTSD and Kaz, the main protagonist, has chronic pain and a limp from an old injury, and he uses a cane to help him get around. And we also read about one of the characters being dyslexic.
From the NPR review of the book by Jason Sheeha:
"Bardugo has created a grimy fantasy with a thin blank-punk veneer laid over the top. There are knives and rifles, magic and technology — everything mashed together in a jumble of influences that is wickedly attractive because (and not in spite of) the characters inhabiting it so fully. It's a slick trick of world-building that eschews the info-dump (save that first regrettable chapter) in favor of making the world simply the world, defined by the way the characters move through it. The smell of coal smoke in the morning does more to set a scene than 10,000 words describing the industry that produces it."
And Bardugo certainly knows how her world smells.”
Read the book and do it now!
To explore more about the Six of Crows universe, click here.
Find this title in our catalog: Six of Crows
Recommended by: Maite