A remarkable, twisted and romantic tale that combines the classical rules from fairytales with Russian folklore and the tragic history of Saint Petersburg during WW2. It's gritty and beautiful. It's complicated and sometimes difficult to follow the time and space of it all. At the center of it all is Marya, a fantastic female lead character. She is not a Strong Female Character, but a person with desires and her own, at times, twisted moral compasAn example of the wonderful weirdness: There's a city where the walls of the houses are actual living skin that gets goosebumps if you touch it.I read it in 6 hours, on the same day.