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Vita Nostra
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
35 posts | 24 read | 52 to read
Our life is brief . . . The definitive English language translation of the internationally best-selling Russian novel - a brilliant dark fantasy combining psychological suspense, enchantment, and terror that makes us consider human existence in a fresh and provocative way. 'A book that has the potential to become a modern classic.' Lev Grossman, best-selling author of The Magicians Our life is brief . . . While on holiday at the beach with her mother, Sasha Samokhina meets the mysterious Farit Kozhennikov under the most peculiar circumstances. The teenage girl is powerless to refuse when this strange and unusual man with a sinister air directs her to perform strange and uncomfortable tasks. He rewards her efforts with a strange golden coin. As the days progress, Sasha carries out other acts for which she receives more coins from Kozhennikov. As summer ends, her new domineering mentor directs her to move to a remote village and use her gold to enter the Institute of Special Technologies. Though she does not want to go to this unknown town or university, she also feels that somehow it's the only place she should be. Against her mother's wishes, Sasha leaves behind all that is familiar and begins her education. As she quickly discovers, the institute's 'special technologies' are unlike anything she has ever encountered. The books are impossible to read, the lessons maddeningly obscure, and the work refuses memorization. Using terror and coercion to keep the students in line, the school does not punish them for their transgressions and failures; instead, their families pay a terrible price. Yet despite her fear, Sasha undergoes changes that defy the dictates of matter and time; experiences which are nothing she has ever dreamed of... and suddenly all she could ever want. A complex blend of adventure, magic, science, and philosophy, filtered through a distinct Russian sensibility, this astonishing work - brilliantly translated by Julia Meitov Hersey - is reminiscent of modern classics such as Lev Grossman's The Magicians, Max Barry's Lexicon, and Katherine Arden's The Bear and the Nightingale, but will transport them to a place fantastical and new.
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Jocelyn73c
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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Mehso-so

I enjoyed the world of this book, but the end feels a bit like the end of the Matrix Revolutions. And the characters bugged me. There was a lot of whiplash concerning how one character felt about another, and that was frustrating. We also got really granular and mundane details concerning the plot but never really got anything satisfying when it came to the over story or themes. It was a fascinating read, but I could have used a few more answers.

j9brown Apparently there's more books, so there could be more answers? Don't think they've been translated yet, though. 1mo
Jocelyn73c @j9brown That would be great! I would probably give the next book a try to see if any answers pop up, and I do enjoy spending time in the world they built! 1mo
6 likes2 comments
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Kryckett
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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This has been my dog-walking accompaniment for the past few days. Definitely a whiskey-tango-foxtrot kind of vibe ... but in the best possible way!

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Ashley_Nicoletto
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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Who put on their @bookriot TBR form that they were really sorry, but they hadn‘t read any of last three books they suggested last quarter, so they couldn‘t review them, but they were really excited about them.

🙋🏻‍♀️🙋🏻‍♀️🙋🏻‍♀️

This girl. Ready for my next round of TBR even though I haven‘t read the last one.

🤫🤫 This is the best subscription I pay for friends.

TheLibrarian I haven‘t read any of mine from the last quarter either. Whoops. 1mo
Ashley_Nicoletto @TheLibrarian 🤣🤣 I am super excited about them, but time just got away from me. 1mo
49 likes2 comments
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Allietaylor16
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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I‘m going to attempt #24B4Monday! I‘m over halfway through all of these, so I‘d like to finish them. Anything else I read will be from the #popjargame!

Andrew65 Good luck and great to have you playing along. 🤗👍 3mo
TheReadingMermaid Great to have you sweetie! 🤗 3mo
Clwojick That #GilmoreGirls mug 😍😍😍 3mo
See All 6 Comments
bedandabook Normal People is sooo good! Hope you enjoy it. 3mo
Traci1 Love that mug! ❤❤ 3mo
tammysue Reading NP for mine too 😀 3mo
29 likes6 comments
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Allietaylor16
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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A friend of mine was sorting through her piles of galleys from the past few months and decided to send me a few!

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wen4blu
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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This story is strange and I don't understand what's going on, but I really like it! I can't even explain why. Sheesh!

Nute Super cool photo! 3mo
39 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Nitpickyabouttrains
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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Pickpick

Translated from Russian, this book was surreal and full of unique magic.

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TuesdayReviews
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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“Two weeks remained until the placement exam. If she was sorry about anything, it was about words that lingered unspoken. And especially sorry about the others, the ones that had flown off her tongue.”

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stephothebesto
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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Pickpick

Whaaaaaaaat? This was definitely a reading *experience* - reading this generated a lot of weird feelings and questions. I liked it, but I don't know who I would recommend it to. Comparing it to Harry Potter is WAY off base - as other reviewers mentioned, it's much more philosophical and metaphysical than HP. I liked the pace and that nothing came easily to the characters.

Applenabe That looks intense! 5mo
stephothebesto @Applenabe it was sooo weird. Not like any genre I've ever read. It definitely influenced by dreams last night - but I slept well, so that's fine by me. 5mo
RadicalReader @stephothebesto I too adore libraries and love being able rent books before buying them to allow for better appreciating when you like or dislike the book without the guilt of having spent money on a failure of a read 5mo
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kay.the.bibliophile Welcome to Litsy I‘m new Too :) 5mo
stephothebesto @RadicalReader exactly!!! Also, the ability to borrow ebooks saved me when I lived abroad and didn't live close to any bookstores. It might be slightly exaggerating to say the library saved my life, but it's very close. 5mo
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Welcome to Litsy 📖💙 5mo
Bookladylinda Welcome to Litsy!!! 5mo
Butterfinger Welcome!! 5mo
RadicalReader @stephothebesto it truly is terrific the wonderful lovable library is. Can‘t believe there are so many books and now DVDs to endlessly enjoy 5mo
6 likes9 comments
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TuesdayReviews
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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I think my wife wants to steal my copy of Vita Nostra. She keeps moving it to her side of the bed.

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stephothebesto
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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3 likes1 stack add
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stephothebesto
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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Cool kids in the back - a universal truth? Excited about this gritty urban fantasy

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businessmermaid
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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Mehso-so

The Harry Potter and Magicians comparisons in on the dust jacket for Vita Nostra are all wrong. This book has very little in common with either of those series, though it ostensibly takes place in a school that teaches something like magic. This is a much, much stranger and more philosophical book. And darker. I felt rather misled by the marketing. This is more of a Kafkaesque metaphysical parable than a fantasy novel. And it was often boring.

BibliOphelia From the description : "The books are impossible to read, the lessons maddeningly obscure, and the work refuses memorization. Using terror and coercion to keep the students in line, the school does not punish them for their transgressions and failures; instead, their families pay a terrible price." The lessons sound like daily life in Russia, and the school very much like the government, so it's confusing that the MC finds freedom and 5mo
BibliOphelia transcendence by complying. This one facet has me totally intrigued!! 😂 5mo
businessmermaid @BibliOphelia It‘s definitely an interesting reading experience and unlike anything else I‘ve read. 5mo
42 likes3 comments
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TuesdayReviews
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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A last minute #weekendreads . . .

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businessmermaid
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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This arrived in the mail yesterday 😍

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Sheasgirl
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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Pickpick

I am loving this book so much I don‘t want to finish. I am seriously contemplating learning Russian so I can read the next books before the English translations come out.

j9brown I loved this book, I really really hope they translate the rest soon! 6mo
3 likes1 comment
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Expandingbookshelf
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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Pickpick

This is like Harry Potter written by Russian Slytherins. This is a deeply weird book, a blend of fantasy, metaphysics, philosophy, and science, it defies categorization. I don‘t know why everyone isn‘t talking about this book. You all need to read this book, and not just because I am desperate to discuss the ending!

Avanders 😆😆 written by slytherins... 6mo
11 likes1 stack add1 comment
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KimM
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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Pickpick

Russian psychological fiction. Very trippy. Very Russian. I liked it ❤️ 4⭐️s

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lauralovesbooks1
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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Panpan

I am not smart enough for this work of speculative fiction. I got more and more confused as it went along and by the end I was completely lost.

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TuesdayReviews
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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#bookhaul! Vita Nostra by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko, The New Class Conflict by Joel Kotkin, and Gods of Howl Mountain by Taylor Brown

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Avanders
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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I'm reading this thiiiiiick classic (this is my actual version) for my real life book group.... and I'm actually rather enjoying it! Hope I can read it all in time! (Employing some audio assistance 😁)

And Vita Nostra was at the top of my wishlist this year... my MiL ordered it for me for Christmas (when the local shop didn't have it), and I am interrupting all else to read it now. ☺️☺️☺️

How are your January reads shaping up?
❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️

ChasingOm Wow, that sounds fascinating! 6mo
Avanders @ChasingOm right?? I hope it lives up to it 😁☺️ 6mo
rubyslippersreads Vanity Fair is one of my favorites. 😊 6mo
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BookBabe I‘m a huge fan of audio assistance! 🙌🏻 6mo
Avanders @rubyslippersreads it's really good so far!! 😄 @BookBabe it's so helpful! 😁👏🏽👏🏽 6mo
Bklover Just read your goodreads review of this one. Think I‘m to have to check it out. 👍 6mo
Avanders @Bklover ooohh hope you like it!! 🤗 6mo
113 likes2 stack adds7 comments
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NotCool
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
Pickpick

Things about this book where odd and I can‘t tell if that‘s because schools in the Ukraine are different or because THIS school, and it‘s students, and teachers are just odd. But it‘s an interesting read.

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catiewithac
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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Pickpick

Vita Nostra is frequently described as a Russian Harry Potter tale, but I‘m not sure the Institute of Special Technologies teaches magic. What Sasha learns and what she becomes is not explicitly told in the novel. It‘s an interesting book with a wonderful translation. So Russian in character and mood! It‘s highly readable and will likely make you ponder reality for some time after. 🐛🦋🐲

50 likes7 stack adds
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underground_bks
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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Pickpick

When a man in dark glasses approaches student Sasha Samokhina, it alters not only the course of her life, but the very world around her. Strange demands with fatal consequences, a mysterious university whose mad and maimed students must memorize pages of gibberish, and the secret of what it is the Institute of Special Technologies actually teaches...If arcane systems of magic speak to you, this is a must read, especially for fans of The Magicians.

10 likes1 stack add
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BookishTrish
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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Birthday stack #Russellbooks

dariazeoli Happy Birthday 🎁🎂🎈🎊 7mo
CouronneDhiver Woohoo! Happy Birthday 7mo
rohit-sawant Happy Birthday! 🎉🎂🎉 7mo
See All 7 Comments
Kalalalatja Happy birthday! 🎉🎉🎉 7mo
Simona Nice pile❣️ Happy birthday 🍾🥂 7mo
LeahBergen What a fab stack! Happy Birthday! 📚📚📚 7mo
Viji Loved Lab Girl! 7mo
83 likes7 comments
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j9brown
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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Pickpick

What the hell did I just read?! Once I started this, I couldn't stop. At home, on the train, sneaking pages at work... So engrossing but I don't know how to explain it. A dark and philosophical Russian Harry Potter? That's what a lot of reviews seem to say but it had so little in common beyond "magic school," if what was going on can even be called simply "magic."
Very weird, very unique, sometimes a bit over my head. Loved it.

Mitch Wonderful....I‘ve got this on my shelf, and it‘s creeping closer to the ‘next read‘ pile! 7mo
j9brown @Mitch It's interesting and very different, but also pretty grim. Not one to grab when you're in the mood for something fun! 7mo
LindaGrace812 Somebody please explain the end to me! I loved this book and totally immersed itself in it...but I don‘t get the last couple pages. I‘m going to reread the last bit tonight, but please. Someone enlighten me! 6mo
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j9brown @LindaGrace812 I saw it as a sort of ascension, I guess, moving on to her true form/purpose beyond the mortal human existance? But I don't know what that means. I'm definitely going to need to do a re-read eventually, too! 😝 6mo
LindaGrace812 @j9brown Thank you! 6mo
LindaGrace812 I also just found out that this book is the first of four, which explains why it just stops instead of actually ending. Hopefully the translations to English will come soon! 6mo
j9brown @LindaGrace812 Oh wow, four more is very exciting news! I'll definitely keep an eye out for that, thanks! 😁 😁 😁 6mo
32 likes3 stack adds7 comments
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TNbooklover66
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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A little pre-Christmas #bookhaul. Can‘t wait to read these.

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Babs_book_obsession
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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Pickpick

It is delightfully weird and Russian. I hope that isn't stereotyping but I mean it in the most loving way. It is chock full of weirdness and terrifying beauty and ideas, some understandable and many not? I can't imagine how it was written and I can't imagine changing a thing. What a translation too, unbelievable.

7 likes1 stack add
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Mitch
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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Oh my goodness ... #bookmail from the gorgeous @LazyDays ! This was such a wonderful surprise. The postman knocked to hand them to me personally, he asked me if they were from my book buddies! I‘ve been waiting for Vita Nostra to come out - Russian fantasy with magic, books & philosophy! And The Blue Salt Road is beautiful... more pictures to come! #bookfriendsrock 🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏

LazyDays Yay!!! I was hoping they'd be there soon! Hope you enjoy💓📖💓 7mo
Mitch @LazyDays they both look amazing. Great for the winter season too, the sort of books to cuddle up under a blanket with. You‘re so kind 🙏💕 7mo
erzascarletbookgasm 😍lovely! Great covers too! 7mo
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Mitch @erzascarletbookgasm they‘re very good looking aren‘t they? 💕 7mo
LazyDays @Mitch that's exactly what I was thinking🙌🌲🌲🌲🌲☕☕ 7mo
olivia.ferz Gorgeous covers!! 7mo
AmyG Beautiful! 7mo
iread2much Beautiful covers! 7mo
78 likes3 stack adds8 comments
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catiewithac
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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I rejoined #justtherightbook since #botm has been such a disappointment this year. #JTRB always sent me a book I really enjoyed 😍 When the first book was one I had already read, they immediately sent a return postage and new book. Here‘s the revised selection that I am so excited to read!! 🧙🏼‍♀️

37 likes1 stack add
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Moray_Reads
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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Pickpick

A highly original book, urban fantasy? Sci-fi? Speculative? Weird? It doesn't really fit under any label. Sasha Samokhina is selected/coerced into a mysterious school where the lessons are inexplicable, the teachers terrifying and the older students damaged. Esoteric and metaphysical, the spiralling plot and lack of answers make for a frustrating read that part of me wanted to refuse and abandon but that's part of the Dyachenkos' devious writing⬇️

Moray_Reads the reader is made the experience Sasha's own bewilderment, disorientation and frustration at first hand, picking apart the reality of her situation right beside her. A few sections drag on too long and it sometimes gets caught up in its own sense of mystery, edging over into self-indulgence. But it's also original, clever, absorbing and infuriating. Absolutely worth a read, but harness your patience! 9mo
Moray_Reads Also, please ignore ALL comparisons with Harry Potter, they are nothing alike. Nothing. 9mo
vivastory Sold! 9mo
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Moray_Reads @vivastory Flawed but fascinating. I hope the rest of the series gets translated 🤞 9mo
vivastory Co-authored books are tricky. Is the series complete? 9mo
Moray_Reads @vivastory it looks like they're are four published in Russian so far. Not sure if that's the end 9mo
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled Sounds like something I‘d like! 9mo
41 likes1 stack add7 comments
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Moray_Reads
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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Friday evening sorted with a Russian urban fantasy (I think?) novel and predominantly pink snacks. Rhubarb and ginger G&T 😋

saresmoore 🙌 9mo
mcipher Ooh, that sounds like a good drink! 9mo
Kalalalatja Yes to that G&T 🙌 9mo
48 likes3 comments
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BeckyMerilatt
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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Pickpick

Has anyone else read this? This particular English translation pubs in the states in October. It‘s fantastic. It‘s a Russian sci-fi novel, set at an exclusive school. Similar to Lexicon and the Magicians. It‘s very dark and abstract. Every character is carefully developed and each experiences their own transformation. I loved it.

MeganAnn Sounds interesting! Stacked (edited) 11mo
Moray_Reads I have an ARC, looking forward to reading it! 10mo
BeckyMerilatt @Moray_Reads let me know what you think of it! I‘m excited to talk about it! 9mo
80 likes9 stack adds3 comments
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BeckyMerilatt
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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My weekly book date before my Thursday work shift. @ReadingSpoon I‘ll see you in an hour!

96 likes1 stack add
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Joelene
Vita Nostra | Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko
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So incredibly excited to be reading this! 🤩🤩🤩

#vitanostra is probably my most anticipated book of the year! ❤️

*Major thanks to the folks at Harper Voyager and Edelweiss for the DRC!*