May 01, 2021

#BookReview: The Bright & the Pale (The Bright & the Pale Duology #1) by Jessica Rubinkowski

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Valeria is one of the only survivors of the freeze, a dark magical hold Knnot Mountain unleashed over her village. Everyone, including her family, is trapped in an unbreakable sheet of ice. Ever since, she’s been on the run from the Czar, who is determined to imprison any who managed to escape. Valeria finds refuge with the Thieves Guild, doing odd jobs with her best friend Alik, the only piece of home she has left.

That is, until he is brutally murdered.

A year later, she discovers Alik is alive and being held against his will. To buy his freedom, she must lead a group of cutthroats and thieves on a perilous expedition to the very mountain that claimed her family. Only something sinister slumbers in the heart of Knnot.

And it has waited years for release.

CW: death of a family member, discrimination, childhood trauma, work camps


Rating: 💫💫
My Review: This book based off of Russian folklore and myth was one that I was so excited for.  I love mythology of all kinds so this one should have been right up my ally. But sadly this one just didn't grip me like I was hoping.  I felt like the characters just didn't mesh with me at all and the story wasn't what I was looking for . 

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Valeria, a 17-year-old orphan, is drafted to join an elite, secretive group called the Thieves Guild. The guild operates in Strana, a fantasy nation similar to Russia that is ruled by the Czar. When Vlaeria is tasked with retrieving a valuable resource that will be used to overthrow the Czar, the mission is compromised and she is asked to make a perilous journey. Valeria joins a new group of mysterious adventurers on a trek to her ice-plagued home to retrieve lovite, Strana's most valuable resource, which turns the villagers' skin paper-white. As Valeria travels closer to home, secrets are revealed and she has tough choices to make. Debut author Rubinkowski paints a vivid picture of this mythological, Russia-esque land where fairy tales come to life and adventure rolls over every page. While some aspects of the story that are introduced get seemingly forgotten, the threads that are pursued are thoroughly fleshed out and envelope the reader in a riveting fantasy tale. VERDICT Hand this to readers who enjoy Leigh Bardugo and are looking for a similar fantasy world to dive into.-Maryjean Riou, Hunterdon Cty. Lib., Flemington, NJα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the hardcover edition.


"Sparkling and sumptuous, Rubinkowski's debut crackles with tension and yearning."

-- "Erin A. Craig, New York Times bestselling author" --This text refers to the audioCD edition.

About the Author

Jessica Rubinkowski grew up on a farm in Illinois and now lives in Central Illinois with her family. The Bright & the Pale is her debut novel.

--This text refers to the audioCD edition.

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