Skip to main content

Vassa in the Night

Review

Vassa in the Night

BY's: the dangerous 24/7 convenience store that is anything but a convenience. After her sort-of-not-really sister Stephanie convinces her to buy light bulbs (and some ice cream) at the local BY's, Vassa enters a world of hot, not-man motorcyclists, axe-wielding hands and adrenaline junkies with sewn pockets. Vassa makes a deal with the wrinkled, old owner of BY's, Babs Yagg, who may or may not be out to kill her. The deal? Three nights working the counter. Then, and only then, Vassa will be free --- but that's only if BY's doesn't kill her first. 

"If I had to describe VASSA IN THE NIGHT by Sarah Porter in one word it would be mythical."

If I had to describe VASSA IN THE NIGHT by Sarah Porter in one word it would be mythical. This book should be turned into a movie or an anime. It's truly a spectacular mind movie. (You know how people say that books are like movies in the mind.) The imagery is just fantastic. Nothing made much sense, but, in fantasy worlds, that's fine. I did have to suspend my disbelief, though. Because things didn't make sense, I couldn't take things seriously. My rational brain was screaming "Wrong! That doesn't make sense" while my fantasy brain was cheering Vassa on.
 
One of my favorite scenes happened in Bab’s apartment. Vassa explored the apartment, trying to find Picnic and Pangolin --- by the way, pangolins are very, very cute and very, very endangered; Vassa's actions benefited the universe by saving Pangolin. She ended up in a very fancy apartment with a swinging party and little people. I'd love to see that in a movie. It'd be like the china doll village from OZ: The Great and Powerful, except with less breakable people. It was truly magical.
 
Character-wise, I didn't like Vassa and Erg at first. But, much like fungi, they grew on me. Vassa seemed boring at first. She wasn't entirely brash or fierce. But she gained confidence as the nights wore on. She learned the ins and outs of BY's and she became a little cocky --- but you could argue that she was kind of cocky already. It's interesting to see her change. It wasn't sudden or rushed. It wasn't a complete turnaround either. Erg was cool, sassy and cute. She's not someone I'd befriend, but I liked her anyways. Her relationship with Vassa was strong and loving. That's what I want to see.
 
On the negative side, interludes can really ruin books for me. If you start out awkwardly, you can lose me. I understand that the author wanted to give background on the secondary characters but most aren't even mentioned. Also, these flashbacks were placed in inconvenient places and inopportune times. Plus, I'm still confused about the backstory with Bea and Babs and Zinaida. We were supposed to learn more about them in the interludes, but I didn't get anything out of it. I didn't learn too much. Most of it was implied in the bulk of the book anyways. They didn't contribute to the overall intrigue of the book.
 
The ending was fuzzy, unclear and rushed. Defeating BY's was the entire purpose of the book after the halfway point, but it didn't seem to be accomplished. That said, VASSA IN THE NIGHT is perfect for fans of THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA and THE WRATH AND THE DAWN.

Reviewed by Wren L., Teen Board Member on September 19, 2016

Vassa in the Night
by Sarah Porter