While Vassa in the Night is inspired by the Russian folktale Vassilissa the Beautiful this is not your average folktale. It’s messy and complicated like life but filled with wit and magical mayhem. Vassa lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters in the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn. One night all the light bulbs mysteriously go out and Vassa is dared to go to the only store opened 24 hours, BY’s. I mean sure they behead people but only shoplifters. And yes, the parking lot is ringed in by poles thirty feet high with a severed head on each pole but Vassa is totally safe going in the middle of night, right?
The world building is lacking but the characters are strange, kooky and just plain fun. Vassa in the Night is no doubt weird and while at first nothing makes sense I think it all came together in the end, sorta kinda. I think Porter leaves the ending a bit open ended so that no two readers will walk away with the same impression of the ending. I think this has a hit or miss quality. That being said, I did enjoy it. I’m a bit disappointed because the hype for this book made it sound like it was life changing. It wasn’t. It’s a decent, enjoyable book.