okay, I'm very high on this already! very happy. glad I read a book called Slavic Sorcery years ago, so you can throw words like domovoi at me, and I know what we're talkin' about--but it's not essential that anyone read about house imps, and forest imps, and rifle imps before going to Deathless; Valente does get around to quietly-inserted English wordings for anything Russian, relevant, and repeatedly written. so, whatever.
I get the sense that Space Opera--which rippled through my BookLikes Friends updates not long ago, and seemed to garner a happy reaction--is more of a full-on Comedy than this thing. this is more impish and cheeky, when it's being light (which makes sense because we have imps--so, some impishness, eh?). this is more like an extended Fairy Tale, with a dark, tragi-Romance feel burgeoning in the early-going. but it's also whimsical and not bound by many rules; it's definitely a Fantasy novel...perhaps reminding me of things like A Fine and Private Place, by Peter S. Beagle, or Tea with the Black Dragon, by R. A. MacAvoy. fun as the surface to a deep well...but still fun.
I like the writing style, although it's clearly been sculpted to fit this particular type of story; I mean, it will be interesting if I finally get to Space Opera, to note how she adapts the style I'm seeing to that other book. my gut says this is an author who can master different 'voices'.
anyway, I love it thus far. one of my favorite books is The Journey to the West, which is a key work of Chinese Mythology, humorous and a bit scary, certainly magical--so now that I'm doing Russian mythology, well-written and unpredictable, I'm glad I picked this. was eyeing Space Opera at the bookstore today, in fact, based on how much I'm enjoying Deathless, but I left it behind for now; it's still a hardcover, after all (albeit not horribly priced...hmmmmmm...).
so yah, I have a big crush on this Fantasy novel, and its creatures and characters, and let's hope that continues.