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Into The Forest Tales Of The Baba Yaga Main

"Into the Forest: Tales of the Baba Yaga" Book Review

Written by Zach Rosenberg

Published by Black Spot Books

into the forest tales of the baba yaga poster large

Edited by Lindy Ryan
2022, 300 pages, Fiction
Released on November 8th, 2022

Review:

Baba Yaga is a figure who wears as many faces in folklore as she does in stories. The old woman of the woods in Russian and Slavic mythology, Baba Yaga can be helpful or malevolent. Kind or cruel. She can assist someone in return for their kindness, test them to ensure their worthiness, or lead them to ruin for their foolishness. Old witches are a dime a dozen in fairy tales, but the Baba Yaga has an identity that can be molded to suit almost any tale.

And these women absolutely mold her to suit their own.

Into the Forest: Tales of the Baba Yaga leads the pack with a fresh collection by absolute luminaries. Sara Tantlinger’s “Of Moonlight and Moss” is a beautiful fantasy, buoyed by Tantlinger’s dreamy prose. Tantlinger’s piece draws inspiration from the famous Russian fable “Vasilisa the Beautiful,” though it is told through the eyes of Vasilisa’s sister Daria, who must meet the Baba Yaga and face her future. The story is exemplary, chilling and memorable.

“Water like Broken Glass” by Carina Bissett is another standout. Bissett is a folklorist and it shows, as she skillfully mixes history with myth. This is a narrative set in World War 2, narrated by a being of folklore known as a Rusalka. It is tragic, grim and sorrowful, dealing with the brutalities of war and how a figure like Baba Yaga adapts. The writing is fantastic, harrowing and haunting.

“Stork Bites” by EV Knight is a particularly grim example of the witch as the villain. To make deals with Baba Yaga is dangerous, especially when children are involved. The ending is perhaps the most horrific in the collection, showcasing what happens to those foolhardy enough to think they are beyond the witch’s power.

These stories are about horror, perseverance, romance and more. Several tales in the collection are weaker than others, but each attempts to craft a new spin on the old witch of the woods and each is worth reading.

Grades:

Overall: 4 Star Rating Cover
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About The Author
Zach Rosenberg
Staff Reviewer - USA
Zach Rosenberg is a fantasy and horror writer living in Florida. He appreciates the ocean, wildlife and his love of literature was constantly nurtured growing up where he practically lived in the libraries, reading every horror and fantasy book he could get his hands on. His print debut short story "The Teeth Of the Deeps" is featured in the fifth short story collection from Dead Sea Press.
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