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YMMV: The Orphan's Tales
  • Fridge Brilliance: The four books evolve around a set of harmonious themes: "Steppe" is about birth and metamorphosis; "Sea" is about travel and finding your passion in life; "Storm" is about death and sacrifice; and "Scald" is about healing and life-in-death.
    • The revelation of the girl's identity.
  • Genius Bonus: Practically nonstop. Catherynne M. Valente was a medievalist scholar, and a little research into monsters and mythology of the medieval period will reveal how many creatures she borrowed from preexisting stories. Like cyclops that are at war with griffins, dog-headed men, people with one giant foot, goldfish that can turn into dragons if they swim over a waterfall (Japanese myth, along with polite kappas and fox-women), even huldras. Yes, one-third girl, one-third cow, one-third tree? Authentic Germanic myth!
  • Jerkass Woobie: Ragnhild, Dinarzad and the Ash Queen.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Gholod at the end of the tale of Maciej and Malgorzata: "I saw him, and I hungered." Spine chills, right there. And, just a couple pages later: "I wonder what you will look like when you have passed through me?"
    • All of Marrow. Especially the Mint.
  • Woobie: The Manikarnika, Itto, Hind, Zmeya, the girl herself and many more.

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