Title: The Sisters of the Winter Wood
Author: Rena Rossner
Genre: Fantasy; Magical Realism
Pages: 429 Pages
Release Date: September 25, 2018
My Rating: ★★★★.25/5
“She’s my sister. I would lay down my life for her.”
Goodreads Synopsis: Captivating and boldly imaginative, with a tale of sisterhood at its heart, Rena Rossner’s debut fantasy invites you to enter a world filled with magic, folklore, and the dangers of the woods.
Raised in a small village surrounded by vast forests, Liba and Laya have lived a peaceful sheltered life – even if they’ve heard of troubling times for Jews elsewhere. When their parents travel to visit their dying grandfather, the sisters are left behind in their home in the woods.
But before they leave, Liba discovers the secret that their Tati can transform into a bear, and their Mami into a swan. Perhaps, Liba realizes, the old fairy tales are true. She must guard this secret carefully, even from her beloved sister.
Soon a troupe of mysterious men appear in town and Laya falls under their spell-despite their mother’s warning to be wary of strangers. And these are not the only dangers lurking in the woods…
The sisters will need each other if they are to become the women they need to be – and save their people from the dark forces that draw closer.
My Review: (SPOILER FREE) 4.25/5 Stars
I usually write my reviews in sections, but I think I’m just going to wing this one. Things I liked: absolutely incredible character development, incredible writing/storytelling, beautiful sibling relationship, and an overall interesting premise. The main character, Liba, grows such an unbelievable amount throughout the book, she is nearly unrecognizable at the end of the book. The sibling relationship was so beautiful and something I related to and really felt. This book is magic realism, which I love, and it has a very original premise. Two sisters discover they can transform into a bear and a swan respectively. When a band of mysterious boys come and enchant Liba’s sister, she must do anything she can to save her. There was also a strong driving force of Jewish culture, which is something I knew nothing about before reading this book; I loved it. The point of view of Laya was also written in poetic writing rather than prose, which I thought worked very well and made the book even more enjoyable.
These aren’t necessarily things I didn’t like, but critiques. This book is supposedly adult fantasy, which I didn’t feel at all. This book reads as a YA 100% and should honestly be marketed as one. Next, there were some parts that were slightly repetitive and times where the story felt confusing. Things do get clarified, but I didn’t enjoy feeling as though I was missing a piece of the puzzle, if that makes sense.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It has strong themes of individuality, strength, and sibling love that all resonated with me greatly. It didn’t blow my mind, but it was definitely a solid book that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys fantasy or magic realism.
Thank you so much for reading my review! I really hope you enjoyed, and if you want to chat about this, feel free to comment! 🙂
Want to purchase this book? Here’s where you can find it!