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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
In Slavic folklore, there is more to mermaids than mere femme fatalism. In the second book in the Spirits and Creatures series, Ronesa Aveela presents A Study of Rusalki - Slavic Mermaids of Eastern Europe, where she takes a closer look at these mysterious females who reside in unknown turbulent waters. It is a specialized study in Slavic folklore that focuses exclusively on the origins, variations, and symbolism of the rusalki. Brilliantly told, here we can trace that the Slavic rusalki has its parallels and derivation from the Greek sirens of Homer and significantly developed their own arcane identity. This book contains references from the works of classicists and scholars that add depth to the presentation. We learn that the Rusalki lore has variations and is region-specific, which makes these mythical creations versatile characters in fantasy literature, film, and popular culture.
Although scholarly references are generously provided, A Study of Rusalki does not sound academic, but more of a fun and informative reference that is a cross between an encyclopedia and an illustrated storybook. Ronesa Aveela’s writing voice shines with such passion for her subject that we are drawn into the discovery of one of folklore’s enigmatic creations. At the end of the book, you come to realize that the rusalki are redeemed from their putative malicious intent toward mankind into a promise of romantic, sirenic images. This book is an easy read for general readers. Fantasy writers and storytellers will find this an excellent reference on the literature of the rusalki.