I met Georgiana at the biggest bookfairs in Bucharest in 2018, and she bought both volumes with an autograph. Little did I know that she was an active blogger and that she would become a huge fan of the series. She wrote one of the few English reviews based on the Romanian books, which I hope you enjoy as much as I did. It is by far the most detailed opinion on not only the first two books, but of the Wallachian Universe as a whole.
You can find Gergiana on Facebook, where she runs multiple writing groups: Book reviews by Georgiana
Stay tunned! The English version of VLV 1 is in the professional editing phase!
I hope Georgiana’s review will convince you to place the VLV serie on your TBR for next year!
Review for “The Children of the Mist” by Laura Știrbu
It’s the second book from “The Viscount of the Lost Verentia” written by Romanian author Laura Știrbu. The story focuses on Justinian Rascal’s second half of his first year at the prestigious school SanteVel. The boy is more determined to find out about his past due to the events from the first book.
The writer attracts her readers through her simple style that is easy to understand. The readers will be delighted to read the detailed descriptions of the landscapes and they will feel the characters’ emotions. The action from “The Children of the Mist” has a darker side and bring up subjects like: women’s rights, sexism, snobbishness, arrogance as in Damian Perfid’s case, the rivalry between social classes as it’s seen in the way the nobility and the SanteVel staff behave towards the peasants, jealousy and envy displayed by Lucian Lumiere upon finding out Justinian has a dragon and that he’s trained by Lily, the dirty games of politics and the need of a family like in Justinian’s, Lily’s and Boris’ cases.
Many truths will be revealed in this novel and the readers will also find more about the history of SanteVel, the holidays celebrated within the fortress and the Wallachians’ ancestors. At a close reading, the readers will discover a few sources of inspiration used by Laura from: Romanian history (e.g. Mihnea Viteazul who was inspired by Michael the Brave (Mihai Viteazul), the Romanian national hero who formed the Union of Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania in 1600), the Romanian Educational System, the Romanian Armed Forces (e. g. the strict rules the Fliers have to follow), the underground city discovered in Roșia Montană and the system of underground tunnels/ tombs discovered in Brăila.
Different things and events with a symbolic meaning are also present in the story. Things like: the snake – evil and temptation, the lion – ferocity, royalty, domination and power, the diamond – invincibility, power, clarity, ascension and wisdom, the storms that rage and rain that pour in almost the entire story represent the rough times that will come and the tears shed by some characters, the panther – the fierce and aggressive guardian, things seen in Lily Venom’s character and the mother figure, seeing that Lily cares about Justinian, but doesn’t show it to just anyone.
Another important subject is the antithesis between Justinian and Lily, which shows us the difference between Yin and Yang, good and evil, kind and aggressive, calm and energetic, and modest and tempting. There are some scenes that will remind the readers about childhood, teen years and becoming a responsible adult as they’ll see the seniors from the eight’s year do after graduation.
Dragons, mysteries, secret passages, friendship, loyalty, treason, love, slyness, temptation, tears to which a pinch of fantasy was added can be found in this fantastic novel.
Together with J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, J. K. Rowling, Sophie-Audouin-Mamikonian, Richard H. Stephens, Laura Știrbu revolutionized the fantasy genre through the unique world she created, also proving that Romanian writers can reach the foreign writers’ level too.
I recommend this book to readers 15+ since there are some scenes that are not age-appropriate for younger readers.