Winter Sunlight

Rusalka series: in conclusion

I finished reading the Rusalka books and continue to be awash in FEELS for these characters.

... although I can see why I remembered the first book being better than the second two. The plotting of the later books is kind of a mess, even in the revised editions. SO MUCH aimless running around in the woods and random WTF encounters with people!

But they deliver so beautifully on the friendship and h/c front. Group hugs! Daring rescues! Desperate worry about desperately injured companions!

About the edited ending ...

The new and original endings of Yvgenie are not that different in terms of what actually happens. Mostly, it's just fleshed out a lot more. The biggest single difference is that Sasha is now involved in the final battle, rather than sitting it out, which makes him feel much more a part of things. We also get more Nadya POV, so she feels more like a character than Sudden Random Love Interest.

In both cases the ending suffers, I think, from trying to stuff the characters into the happy-ending box after three books of uncertainty and moral ambiguity. Like, WTF is that ending for Chernevog and Yvgenie? Isn't he still a rusalka living in a stolen body? And everyone is now okay with this WHY? Emotionally, the ending left me in a warm happy glow (everyone is alive! and together! and they're all going to be living in one big house and EEEEEE) while my logical/analytical side made a lot of puzzled WTF faces at it.

One minor thing that I actually felt was stronger in the original ending is that the first edition makes it a lot clearer that Sasha's healing Pyetr was one of those once-in-a-lifetime acts of magic, like the unbreakable jug. The revised version is now weirdly vague about that; it almost feels like the healing scene is set up as this big thing that never actually comes to fruition in the rest of the book. The final scene vaguely implies that Sasha has wished a happy future for everyone, doesn't relate back to the healing at all, and ... I dunno, it just felt a lot more general and less concrete than when the strong implication was that he'd accidentally made Pyetr immortal, or something akin to it.

On the other hand, as weird and convenient as Nadya's sudden appearance is, I am WAY more okay with Nadya/Sasha than I was expecting to be. Much as I like the idea of a Pyetr/Eveshka/Sasha OT3, I think the reality would actually be pretty toxic (rather like my feelings on Peter/Elizabeth/Neal). I think having more people, and especially more non-wizard people, in their little compound is a very good thing all around. The earlier parts of this book made a good case that all by themselves, they're too insular; they aren't healthy as a group. They need more people around, and more connections to the outside world. So I like the idea that they'll have more people in the group, and (potentially) more kids than just Ilyana. And no more than we've seen of Nadya, she really feels like someone Sasha would get along well with (and I assume she's well-educated because of her background, which is something he'd really like, I think -- someone literate to have intellectual conversations with).

In any case, it really made me want post-series fic. I am still very DNW about Chernevog/Ilyana, but I want aaaaaallll the fic about Nadya settling in, getting to know her father and her new stepmom and sister, what her future with Sasha would be like, and so forth. Nadya reveling in her newfound freedom now that she doesn't have to be a proper Yurishev daughter anymore and climbing on the rooftree or jumping the horses over fences bareback and giving Pyetr a (metaphorical) heart attack ...

All the cohabiting, one-big-sprawling-messy-family fic. ALL OF IT. :D


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