Filled with magic, adventure, and mythology pulled deep from Russian and Finish folklore, Cry of the Firebird is a dark fantasy that dives deep into the world of magic, pitting those who would abuse it against those sworn to protect it.
A firebird is reborn on the borders of Russia, a gate to a world of monsters and magic is breaking, and only a reluctant, untrained shaman stands in the way of a flood of supernatural darkness...
Anya is still reeling from the death of her grandfather when a strange encounter with the Finnish God of the Dead changes her life forever: Her family has been guarding the gates to the Russian otherworld on their farm for centuries, and she’s the new gatekeeper. Worse, if she doesn’t awaken her magical abilities and assume her new role, the gate will break, unleashing a flood of monsters and dark gods into their world.
As Anya struggles to make sense of her changing world, she can’t deny the strange encounters. She’ll need to accept her fate and work with the legendary firebird if she hopes to survive—and protect humanity.
A Note From the Publisher
“Kuivalainen skillfully blends Russian and Finnish folklore into a delightfully whimsical urban fantasy [and] breathes fresh life into fairy tale characters like Baba Yaga, and fantasy staples like wizards and dragons. With its masterful combination of richly detailed scene setting, humor, romance, quirky characters, and supernatural conflict, this is a story to be relished.” —Publishers Weekly (8/2/2021 Issue & Online)
“Ahhh I want more!! This is definitely going to be an epic series!” —LibraryThing Early Reviewers
* Print and online advertising, social media, and newsletter promotion
* ARC promotion on NetGalley & solicitation for reviews to key trade sources
* Blog tour and other virtual events
* Email marketing to libraries & bookstores
* ARC giveaway by Publisher (8/31 - 9/27)
* Featured author and book at the US Book Show
* Author marketing includes blog tour and social media promotion
* Campaign for October Indie Next List (Nominations due August 2nd)
* Campaign for October LibraryReads (Due September 1st)
Average rating from 26 members
Following Anya who grew up on a farm in Russia, the reader is met with a cast of characters and a wonderfully built world inspired by Russian and Finnish folklore. The found family trope is something that slightly appears in this book: an array of characters meet up to protect Anya from the Darkness, a group of magicians and other mythological creatures that want to take Anya to their side because she is a very powerful shamanista. I really enjoyed all the references to the Russian folktales and folklore because I knew what and who the story talked about! I really enjoyed that the author not only added russian and finnish folklore but also creatures from Greek mythology such as the "thanatos" and the "keres" which were interesting takes on these myth creatures. The book really kept me on the edge of my seat and the characters are very well built out. The different romances, with their different histories and all their friendships were an equally nice addition. I found myself really rooting for all the romances which does not happen very often, especially with more than one couple. Overall a really wonderful and fun book. **Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an e-ARC of the book**
Thank you to BHC Press and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review! Cry of the Firebird by Amy Kuivalainen is an exciting fantasy adventure based on Russian and Finnish folklore. The story is told from the 3rd person point of view and revolves around a large cast of characters, but focuses on Anya, a young woman whose grandfather's death triggers a series of events that cause her to realize her hidden identity as the "keeper of the gates" between Mir (earth) and Skazki (a world of monsters and folklore). Soon, she meets Yvan, a Russian man who has been reborn with the legendary firebird sharing his body. When Yvan's brother Vasili attacks them in hopes of gaining the firebird, Anya and Yvan escape and embark on a cross-country journey while encountering allies and magical creatures along the way. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1, when Anya meets a new character from Finnish folklore: ""And you are?" Alarm bells went off in Anya's brain, not only because he knew her name, but because he smiled at her - a dazzling smile that turned his already handsome features into something gorgeous and dangerous. He held out a hand to her. "You can call me Tuoni." His deep voice rattled her bones. "That's what Eikki knew me as." "Like the God of the Dead?" Anya took his hand to shake it. Tuoni, in Karelian mythology, ruled the Land of the Dead with his children. "Oh, good. You've heard of me. That will save us some time." One highlight of this book is the sense of wonder that I got while reading this book. It reminded me of why I first started reading fantasy books, and it's a feeling that I rarely get anymore. The author's imagination and world-building is amazing, and I would recommend this book for that alone. I was astonished to read that the author is Finnish-Australian. I had thought she had Russian heritage, because the Russian words and references to Russian folktales that she included were spot-on. The characters are also pretty diverse. In addition to the countries and cultures already mentioned, here were Native American characters, Roma characters, Nordic characters; the crew also travel across Europe, from France to the Czech Republic. If I had to nitpick about one thing, I would say that I wish that the author had pared down some of the cast. Although it was great to have so many characters and to have some extensive travels in the world of the book, I did feel like there may have been too many characters. That's not the book's fault. I typically enjoy books with smaller casts of characters, so that's just a personal thing. Overall, Cry of the Firebird is an amazing fantasy adventure. When I got to the end, I was surprised with the "cliffhanger," because I thought this was a standalone book. It seems like the ending is setting up a sequel, and I am definitely interested in reading it. If you're intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you're a fan of fantasy books in general, I highly recommend you check out this book when it comes out in October!
I was so intrigued by the Russian and Finnish folklore in this book that I was happy to have the opportunity to read it! It's honestly really intriguing and wonderfully dark. It has elements of being a bit of a noir paranormal fantasy. The setting, plot and the characters are really interesting.
Anya has grown up on a farm near a small village, living with her grandfather. He has the magic to close the gates between the human world and to Skazki, a world filled with magic. After he dies, she is suddenly thrown into a world of magical beings, and now she realizes she has a lot to learn. My favorite was Yvan. the prince who has melded with the firebird. Along the way she picks up more people/beings to help her, both as guardians and as teachers. There is true evil in these worlds, and a struggle between the light and the dark, with the neutrals trying to stay out of them. I loved the pace of the storytelling and the variety of people/creatures living in these worlds, especially those within Anya's circle. I was lucky to get an advanced reader copy of Cry of the Firebird and this is my honest opinion.
I'm a big fan of Amy Kuivalainen's Magicians of Venice series, which is peak smart-girl-heroine vibes (think of Genevieve Cogman's Invisible Library series, Deborah Harkness's Discovery of Witches, A.J. Hackwith's Hell's Library series, or Stephanie Mirro's Immortal Relics series) and I'm a big fan of modern urban fantasy retellings of classic folklore, so I am absolutely here for this series. Kuivalainen originally released this series a few years ago, but after the success of her Magicians of Venice series, it is getting a total re-do. It was aquired by BHC Press and is undergoing a rewrite. I own the original edition, but hadn't read it yet. When I heard she was rewriting them, I practiced superhuman powers of patience and decided to hold off on reading them. So, to my delight, I received an advanced reader copy of book one, Cry of the Firebird, and read it in a single day. It was everything I'd hoped it to be. Our heroine, Anya, is a drunk. Living alone on her late grandfather's farm in Karelia, she doesn't expect much more from her life than rough farmwork during the day and falling asleep in a vodka stupor. But one day, Death himself shows up in a nice suit and informs her that he's not the only odd creature who would be visiting her in the next few days, and that she has a magical heritage that comes with some serious obligations. What ensues is an engrossing tale of good versus evil played out across Europe and with a quick-growing cast of companions. While the characters are well-fleshed out and relatable, it is sometimes frustrating to become invested in one character's arc and then swiftly switch to the next. However, the story never drags, and is never a bore, and when this book ended I was hungry for the next. Strongly recommended for fans of fantasy sagas or urban fantasy.
I just love novels based on fables and folklore! That is what drove me to request this book. I know virtually nothing about the Finnish and Russian tales this book draws it's inspiration from. But now I am fascinated. Kuivalainen wrote a totally beguiling book that had me mesmerized from the first page. The characters were well developed, as was the world building. There were parts where the writing was a bit clunky but thankfully they were few and far between. Overall I thought this was a great start to a series and am anxious to see what happens next.
Exciting start to a new series - action, mystery, family secrets, heroes, villains, demons, witches, and magic - mixed with a good dose of Russian folklore. One of the better fantasy reads out there - looking forward to the next one to see the story continue!
This was such a cool story. Loved the Russian and Finnish Gods--haven't seen too many other books with them mentioned in them. Loved the chosen one aspect of the story. Our main character has to quickly discover her powers and assume her new role or all hell will break loose. This has the feel of something from Neil Gaiman (who I love his works) so this just made my reading experience even better. I did really like this one and can't wait for others to give this a try as well.
Love love this author! As with her Immortal City series, this book draws you in from the start. There’s magic, mythology, and tons of adventure. Her world building amazes me. It’s one of those books you want to climb into and never leave.
Kuivalainen weaves her own brand of dark fairytale, a path of magic and fate, that leads to Anya's becoming. There are many characters along the way, familiar and not-so, who lend themselves to this unforgettable journey. But it's the confluence of Russian and Finnish folklore and mythologies which will have readers delving deep into their own research, inspired by Kuivalainen's ingenious worldbuiding. This expertly drawn start to her series will prove difficult to resist
Amy Kuivalainen (Magicians of Venice series) proves her world building abilities are as strong as ever with her new series, Firebird Faerie Tales. In this first book we meet Anya, a young woman who has been having a rough time. She's trying to make a go of her grandfather's farm in Russia after his death but her biggest success is in emptying vodka bottles. Then one day Tuoni, the Finnish God of the Dead appears to explain the facts of her life to her: her family has long been gatekeepers between the mortal world and a magical world and if she doesn't wake up and learn how to use her magic and control the family's gate within the next six months it will fall apart and allow all kinds of otherworldly creature free reign in the human world. Although on the bright side, magic users will probably brutally kill her for her magic way before then. Good luck. He also gives Anya a stone that he says has been in her family for centuries and is now hers to care for. Anya would love to pretend this is all a vodka fueled dream except that night the stone breaks and a firebird hatches out of it. Who then turns into a man. And that is the most normal thing Anya experiences for awhile. Cry of the Firebird throws Anya and the reader into the deep end of a world that mixes "normal" and magic in intriguing blends. Fortunately, you don't need to know anything about Russian or Finnish fairy tales to understand, let alone enjoy, the story. Along the way Anya gathers unlikely friends and allies as she tries to learn enough about her magic to not get herself or anyone else killed and prepare to close her family's gate- especially as it becomes clear that the gate is unravelling faster than Tuoni had first predicted. Like in the Magicians of Venice series, Kuivalainen gathers an ensemble cast with radically different abilities, characters, and reasons for being together that works really well when a description of them suggest they wouldn't. Here the cast is larger and more varied and we get to know more of them right away, romantic (or at least sexual) interests flare faster, and fight scenes are epic. Light and Dark are not quite what you think they are and there is always a price to be paid. Kuivalainen takes traditional myths and turns them into something uniquely her own in this new and engrossing novel. I already can't wait for book two in the series and am hoping someone will discover how brilliant all her books would be on Netflix. I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
✅Bloodline Magic ✅Death Gods ✅Firebirds ✅Shifters ✅Travelers ✅Team vs Teams vs Teams ✅Fairytales come to life ✅Badass Women with BIG guns ✅Possessive, BDE Men ✅Baba Yaga When can I have book 2?
I am a biased reviewer- I LOVED "The Magicians of Venice" trilogy by Amy Kuivalainen and started reading "Cry of the Firebird" knowing that I would likely love it. In fact, I held off reading this book because I was worried that I would either A)somehow end up disliking it or B)would love it and not have the next book available to read. Judging by the 5-star review, the latter is obviously the case ;) "Cry of the Firebird" is a re-released book. I didn't read the book during its original release, so I don't know if anything has changed between re-publication. Taking place in Russia and in France, "Cry of the Firebird" follows Anya, a woman that has recently found out that her memories were taken away by her grandfather. Upon the death of her grandfather, she starts to remember her past-- including the fact that she comes from a long line of witches and that it is her duty to make sure that she keeps the gate from Earth to a dimension of demons closed. There is a large cast of characters that are very distinct from each other. As the series progresses, I hope to see some of the backstories of these characters get told. My summary of the story sounds pretty basic, but there is a lot going on in this book, which really adds to the adventure. Admittedly, "Cry of the Firebird" is not perfect. It kind of reads like a WB tv show- lots of gorgeous people, weird drama, and at times, awkward pairings. Normally, I would shy away from this type of book, but Ms. Kuivalainen's writing style really makes the story exciting and worth reading. I have no complaints reading about a host of gorgeous men alongside Russian and Finnish mythology storytelling. I look forward to reading the re-releases of the next installments in the trilogy. Thank you Netgalley and BHC Press for an e-copy of this book.