Return to the magical world of Slavic folk tales

Return to the magical world of Slavic folk tales

Sophie Anderson: The Thief Who Sang Storms (Usborne Publishing Ltd. 2022)

Sophie Anderson British writer was born in Swansea and currently lives in the Lake District with her family. Her works are often inspired by folk and fairy tales, especially stories with Slavic origin, which she first heard from her grandmother. She has won numerous awards for her books, which you may have read about on BogiWrites before. The novels have been translated to more than 20 languages, and The House with Chicken Legs recently has been adapted for stage by Les Enfant Terribles.

The Island of Morovia is shaped like a broken heart. Together with two other islands, it is constantly swimming in the oceans of the world. Here people and the bird-people (alkonosts) whose singing has magical powers lived in peace with each other. The singing magic has different forms: it can make flowers bloom, light fires, but it can also calm people and animals alike. Everything was perfect until a summer day, three years ago, when a great tragedy struck, affecting both the human people and the alkonosts. However, humans blamed the alkonosts. They were driven out of their homes and exiled into the swamp, but they could not live in peace here either, they had to hide because they could never know who would betray them and they have to steal because humans had taken everything from them and they had nothing left anymore. Linnet lives the same way with her father, Nightingale. Linnet’s only wish is to get her old life back and be with her friends again. When his father is captured, she must set out on a dangerous journey to save not only her father but the entire island.

In my opinion, this is the writer’s most serious novel so far. It contains a lot of problems which are affecting us also. How can we find our place in the world? Linnet, unlike other alkonosts, has no singing magic, but she realizes that there is something special about her that she can serve the society with. The original of Nightingale’s figure is a negative character in the Slavic folk tales, but the author said, who is the villain of one story, may also be the hero of the other. Many times, the problem with us is that we only see our own truth and don’t listen to the other side’s opinion. The most important message of the novel is: that we can only close the distance between us by listening to each other.

I made a mini interview with the author, please check it out below:

Boglárka Döncző: Who is your favorite character from your books?

Sophie Anderson: It is too difficult to choose! Maybe Baba Yaga from The House with Chicken Legs because she reminds me of my grandmother.

Boglárka Döncző: Are you planning to write other stories based on Slavic tales?

Sophie Anderson: Yes! I’m working on one right now!