Vita Nostra | Hot Take Review

Published: 2007 (Published in English November 1st 2018)

Cover of "Vita Nostra" by Marina & Sergey Dyachenko

Pages: 416

Format: Audiobook (Library Copy)

Tags: Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Supernatural, New Adult, Translated, Dark Academia

| Synopsis from the Publisher |

While vacationing at the beach with her mother, Sasha Samokhina meets the mysterious Farit Kozhennikov under the most peculiar circumstances. The teenage girl is powerless to refuse when this strange and unusual man with an air of the sinister directs her to perform a task with potentially scandalous consequences. He rewards her effort with a strange golden coin.

As the days progress, Sasha carries out other acts for which she receives more coins from Kozhennikov. As summer ends, her domineering mentor directs her to move to a remote village and use her gold to enter the Institute of Special Technologies. Though she does not want to go to this unknown town or school, she also feels it’s the only place she should be. Against her mother’s wishes, Sasha leaves behind all that is familiar and begins her education.

As she quickly discovers, the institute’s “special technologies” are unlike anything she has ever encountered. The books are impossible to read, the lessons obscure to the point of maddening, and the work refuses memorization. Using terror and coercion to keep the students in line, the school does not punish them for their transgressions and failures; instead, their families pay a terrible price. Yet despite her fear, Sasha undergoes changes that defy the dictates of matter and time; experiences which are nothing she has ever dreamed of . . . and suddenly all she could ever want.

Keywords to describe this book: slow paced, cerebral, character-driven

~My Thoughts~

I’ve had Vita Nostra on my TBR for a couple years. I read about it in a Book Review magazine and it sounded really intriguing! I was happy to pick it up this year because it could fulfill one of my reading challenge prompts. And, honestly, if it weren’t for the reading prompt, I might have DNF-ed this one.

Now, I decided to listen to the audiobook for this one because it’s a long book and I was worried I might not be able to finish it in a reasonable amount of time if I read it. And man, this book really drags! The story is intriguing at first, but then it slowly becomes very strange. Just weird. I didn’t really enjoy any particular aspect of it.

The characters are all very bizarre. Sasha is likable and she seems like a normal person at first, but because of her training at the Institute, she becomes weird like everyone else. I really didn’t enjoy her progression into becoming…whatever she becomes at the end. I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone, but I also can say that I didn’t really understand the science-fiction/fantasy aspect of it. The world building is okay, but a lot of the supernatural aspects of this world are…absurd. I’m not a fan of absurd things.

Long story short, this book is long, dark, and weird. The writing is fine and the characters are fine. It’s just really not my thing.

My rating: Ok, But Not My Cup of Tea

Thoughts & Thanks!

Anyone planning on reading this book? Yea/Nay? Let me know if you’ve read it, want to read it, or have read something similar that you can recommend me!

And, as always, thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

4 thoughts on “Vita Nostra | Hot Take Review

  1. I keep doubting about reading this one, but I think I might skip on thid one.. If it was just okay, and I´m not really a fan of slow books haha!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would skip it. I mean, it has some cool moments, but mostly I was just like, “What is going on?” and that didn’t change even at the end.

      Liked by 1 person

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