HANDSOME YEVA by Stanislaw Sielicki

HANDSOME YEVA

An Attempt to Synthesize and Reconstruct Some Prominent Themes of the Proto-Indo-European Myth in Context of the Slavic Jarilo Folklore Cycle
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Sielicki (The Double-Edged Sword of Freedom of Speech, 2012) offers a reconstructed myth based on the Slavic Jarilo folklore cycle.

Fraternal twins Yeva and Mara are born to a mysterious foreign couple on the outskirts of the Village of Falling Stars. Despite the fact that the residents harbor suspicions regarding the kids’ parents, the youngsters quickly become the darlings of the village. They are soon known for leading other local children on adventures in the nearby Forest. However, as the twins get older, their outlandish destinies become apparent: they’re favorites of the Dars, powerful beings who guide the world with their complex machinations. Saena-from-Peaks, the Giant Wolf, spirits Yeva away from his family to be tutored by Dar Vilenus and his stepdaughter, Daria Zimina. Merega-go-Between, the Giant Eagle, takes Mara, who later receives three gifts from Dar Vzor, including the Key That Opens All Doors. The fates of both twins appear to be tied up in an old story about Dar Svet, a junior Dar who stole the Heavenly Fire for his people; other Dars pursued him and caused his chariot to crash in the forest. Soon the twins must confront the legacy of the rebellious Svet. The world of this story has a fun, Tolkien-like density to it, as it features various gods, nations, shape-shifters, and talking beasts. As in many ancient myths (or pastiches of them), much is included, little is explained, and lists of minor people and places pop up every now and again: “—Look,—Fawa said to Yeva, guiding him through the Noble Oak Groves of Leshies, the Enchanted Swamps of Navi, the Aspen Highlands of Beregini, the Pine Dunes of Rusali, the Starry Steppes of Pyleviks, the Labyrinth Jungles of Gandharva, the Dreaming Deserts of Hala, and the Icy Barrens of Vilas.” The story is relatively short, and it will be enjoyable enough for mythology fans. It’s disappointing, though, that Sielicki never explains his methodology for creating this world; readers never know what’s source material, what’s borrowed, and what’s merely invented.

An entertaining fantasy presented as an ancient Indo-European Ur-myth.

Pub Date: Nov. 10th, 2014
Page count: 45pp
Publisher: Self
Program: Kirkus Indie
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