Cover image for Wildalone : a novel
Wildalone : a novel
Zourkova, Krassi, author.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : William Morrow, an imprint HarperCollinsPublishers, [2015]
Physical Description:
374 pages : map ; 24 cm
"A Princeton freshman is drawn into a love triangle with two enigmatic brothers and discovers terrifying secrets about her family and herself"--Book jacket.
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FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
FICTION Adult Fiction Central Library

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In this enchanting and darkly imaginative debut novel full of myth, magic, romance, and mystery, a Princeton freshman is drawn into a love triangle with two enigmatic brothers, and discovers terrifying secrets about her family and herself--a bewitching blend of Twilight, The Secret History, Jane Eyre, and A Discovery of Witches.

Arriving at Princeton for her freshman year, Thea Slavin finds herself alone, a stranger in a strange land. Away from her family and her Eastern European homeland for the first time, she struggles to adapt to unfamiliar American ways and the challenges of college life--including an enigmatic young man whose brooding good looks and murky past intrigue her. Falling into a romantic entanglement with Rhys and his equally handsome and mysterious brother, Jake, soon draws Thea into a sensual mythic underworld as irresistible as it is dangerous.

In this shadow world that seems to mimic Greek mythology and the Bulgarian legends of the Samodivi or "wildalones"--forest witches who beguile and entrap men--she will discover a shocking secret that threatens everything she holds dear. And when the terrifying truth about her own family is revealed, it will transform her forever . . . if she falls under its spell.

Mesmerizing and addictive, The Wildalone is a thrilling blend of the modern and the fantastic. Krassi Zourkova creates an atmospheric world filled with rich characters as fascinating and compelling as those of Diana Gabaldon, Deborah Harkness, and Stephenie Meyer.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

When Thea Slavin leaves her native Bulgaria for the hallowed halls of Princeton, she has a goal beyond pursuing a career as a pianist. Fifteen years ago, Thea's older sister, Elza, died during her freshman year at the school, and shortly afterwards, her body disappeared from the morgue. Determined to learn the circumstances surrounding her sister's death, Thea launches an investigation upon arriving at Princeton. But she is soon distracted from her pursuit by the handsome, mercurial Estlin brothers. Though it is Jake who is first taken with Thea during a classical concert, his older brother, Rhys, is the one who pursues her, unaware that Jake has fallen for her. Yet Rhys holds Thea at a distance even as their fixation on each other grows, leaving Thea yearning to learn the dark secret he is keeping from her. Readers who love fantastical romances and mythology are apt to fall under the spell of Zourkova's debut, and once they reach the final page, they will hope that Thea and the Estlin brothers' adventures continue in future books.--Huntley, Kristine Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Ancient Greek mystery religions, culture clash, and college romance form a heady blend in Zourkova's poetic, striking debut. In the fall of 2006, Thea Slavin applies to Princeton from her native Bulgaria, unaware that her older sister, Elza-about whom Thea's family refuses to speak-disappeared from the university 15 years earlier. Once on campus, Thea finds the memory of her passionate, talented "earlier version" impossible to evade, as one of her professors is obsessed with Elza's theories about Orpheus and Dionysus. Thea also has to contend with the attentions of beautiful, wealthy brothers Rhys and Jake Estlin, whose dizzying sexual allure almost disguises their secretive, erratic behavior. Bulgarian-born Zourkova draws perceptive and persuasive connections between Balkan folklore and Greek myth, especially when she identifies the Bulgarian samodivi-lethal, sensual female spirits of the forest, translated by Thea as "wildalones"-with the Greek maenads, but she fails to anchor her romantic triangle with the same meticulous conviction. The resulting novel is strongest when building its maddening mysteries, and it falters when its characters need to deal with the answering revelations. Agent: Grainne Fox, Fletcher & Company. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Starred Review. Zourkova infuses her first novel with atmosphere, lyrical language, Greek mythology, Bulgarian folklore, and the sharp stab of first love. Thea is a piano prodigy from Bulgaria beginning her freshman year at Princeton University. After a public concert performance, she draws the attention of several men on campus, A first-person point of view and a sense of the surreal places the reader firmly in Thea's head as she tries to navigate an unfamiliar culture steeped in tradition: from dressing the part of a Princeton coed to the school's exclusive eating clubs. She is also thrown by the unexpected intricacies and intimacies of American relationships; her feelings for two mysterious men are complicated by family secrets on all sides. Fantastical creatures, forest witches known as Samodivi, or Wildalones, weave a thread through the entire novel, leading Thea to a decision that has consequences far beyond anything she could have imagined. VERDICT Zourkova pulls off a balancing act that few debut authors manage: a clever, dark romance steeped in mystery, with a bittersweet thread of melancholy and keen sense of place. Fantasy and romance lovers, as well as those who liked Donna Tartt's The Secret History or Pamela Dean's Tam Lin should enjoy this. [See Prepub Alert, 3/3/14.]-Charli Osborne, Oxford P.L., MI (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.