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Reviews of Foul Days by Genoveva Dimova

Foul Days

The Witch's Compendium of Monsters #1

by Genoveva Dimova

Foul Days by Genoveva Dimova X
Foul Days by Genoveva Dimova
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  • Paperback:
    Jun 2024, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jo-Anne Blanco
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About this Book

Book Summary

The Witcher meets Naomi Novik in this fast-paced fantasy rooted in Slavic folklore, from an assured new voice in genre fiction.

As a witch in the walled city of Chernograd, Kosara has plenty of practice treating lycanthrope bites, bargaining with kikimoras, and slaying bloodsucking upirs. There's only one monster she can't defeat: her ex, the Zmey, known as the Tsar of Monsters. She's defied him one too many times and now he's hunting her. Betrayed by someone close to her, Kosara's only choice is to trade her shadow―the source of her powers―for a quick escape.

Unfortunately, Kosara soon develops the deadly sickness that plagues shadowless witches―and only reclaiming her magic can cure her. To find it, she's forced to team up with a suspiciously honorable detective. Even worse, all the clues point in a single direction: To get her shadow back, Kosara will have to face the Foul Days' biggest threats without it. And she's only got twelve days.

But in a city where everyone is out for themselves, who can Kosara trust to assist her in outwitting the biggest monster from her past?

1

It was nearly midnight on New Year's Eve, but the city inside the Wall didn't celebrate. The people there knew the birth of a new year was—like any birth—difficult, painful, and dangerous.

Only one pub, nestled in the snowdrifts between Chernograd's tall spires, was open that night. It was packed but hushed. The patrons huddled close together, rubbing shoulders as they lifted their glasses. The corner table, hidden in a cloud of pipe smoke, was particularly quiet. It was Kosara's turn to bet, and she took her time.

Being the best at cards wouldn't be enough to win tonight: she had to be the best at cheating. And to cheat, she needed that damned fireplace to burn brighter.

"Well?" Roksana said, plum rakia dripping down her chin. It landed on the table, glistening in the dim electric lamplight like droplets of amber. The two golden beads tying her thick braids glinted, contrasting against her tanned skin. Her fingers drummed on the deck of cards, ready to deal. "Are you in?"

All...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Imaginative, exciting, and often darkly humorous, Genoveva Dimova's debut novel is by turns scary, funny, and poignant – a fast-paced, rip-roaring adventure across two cities, with monsters, magic, and a parallel supernatural realm rooted in Slavic culture. The Bulgarian folklore aspect of the story has the timeless qualities of dark fairy tales juxtaposed with contemporary sensibilities, witty comments, and sardonic observations, lending it a refreshingly original perspective and a hauntingly ominous atmosphere permeated with welcome light relief. Foul Days is entertaining and compelling, which bodes well for the second installment...continued

Full Review Members Only (790 words)

(Reviewed by Jo-Anne Blanco).

Media Reviews

Paste
The definition of a summer fantasy must-read.

SFFWorld
Rich with the mythology of [Dimova's] heritage… [it] felt a bit like the world of the Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo [and] reminiscent of Sapkowski's The Witcher… A fun, immersive novel.

Booklist (starred review)
Dimova melds Slavic folklore, murder, and mystery into her fast-paced, magical debut, with detailed world-building and thoughtful consideration of matters related to trauma, the immigrant experience, and trust.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Dimova dazzles in her immersive fantasy debut... Dimova's atmospheric worldbuilding and well-shaded cast make it easy to sink into this fantasy adventure. Kosara is especially vividly rendered and her witty narrative voice is sure to get readers on her side. This is a standout.

Kirkus Reviews
This gritty, atmospheric fantasy brings folklore to life.

Library Journal
[An] energetic, witty debut... This twisty, fast-paced fantasy adventure feels like what would happen if Delilah S. Dawson and Naomi Novik teamed up to rewrite The Witcher.

Author Blurb Frances White, author of Voyage of the Damned
A fast-paced thrill ride with immersive worldbuilding and a snarky but realistic main character who you just can't help but root for.

Author Blurb Kamilah Cole, author of So Let Them Burn
Foul Days is a phenomenal blend of danger and delight from an exciting new voice in fantasy. The characters, the world, the magic, and the monsters are all compelling, but the deft way in which Dimova brings them all to life while weaving in heavier themes of classism and abuse will leave you breathlessly awaiting the sequel long before you reach that final page.

Author Blurb Marie Brennan, award-winning author of A Natural History of Dragons
There's no safety when the Foul Days come for you: this book will drag you in and not let you go until dawn.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

The "Foul Days" of Bulgarian Folklore

Man wearing a fur-covered costume with horns at a Foul Days festivalGenoveva Dimova's debut novel, Foul Days, takes place over a twelve-day period known in Bulgarian culture as the "Unclean Days," "Dirty Days" – or, indeed, "Foul Days." In the first chapter, in a pub on a dark, wintry New Year's Eve, one of the characters explains: "The Foul Days have begun. The New Year was born, but it hasn't been baptised yet. The monsters roam the streets freely. … They are only allowed to come here during the Foul Days, when the boundary between our world and theirs is hair-thin."

In Bulgarian folklore, the Foul Days occur over the twelve days between Christmas Day (25th December) and St. Yordan's Day, also known as Epiphany (6th January). During this period of transition from the old year to the new, it...

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