Sofia Leonidovna Prokofieva (born 14 May 1928) is a prominent Soviet and Russian author, best known for her children's books; she has also written scripts, plays and poetry. Her first husband, whose surname she has kept, was the son of Sergei Prokofiev.
Her later works tend to shift towards fantasy and darker themes, and the Broken Base can't agree whether it is a success.
Among her works are:
- The Big Sister and Little Sister
- Loskutik And The Cloud
- Ruler of the Magical Keys
- The Secret Of The Crystal Castle
- While The Clock Chimes
Tropes common to Prokofieva's works:
- Ambiguous Time Period: For the stories set in our world, it's either vaguely modern (meaning somewhere between 1950 and 2005) or vaguely medieval.
- Angry Mob: Always appears when the royals have a 0% Approval Rating (such as the king in Astrel and the Forest's Guardian).
- Beauty Equals Goodness: Subverted pointedly. There are many stunning-looking villains (such as Gina in The Island of Captains or the Ice Kingdom's ruling family in The Big Sister and Little Sister), and plain or downright ugly heroes (like Barbatsutsa in Loskutik And The Cloud) can appear as well.
- Children Are Innocent: They definitely are open and good-hearted, with extremely few exceptions (such as Gina Banditto). It gets exploited by many villains, since children are also more prone to temptations if Corrupt the Cutie occurs (like in The Hoard under the Old Oak) or almost occurs (like in The Castle of the Black Queen), the cutie in question is usually a child.
- Cruel Mercy: The fate of any Big Bad, often combined with Cool and Unusual Punishment.
- Distressed Dude: Pretty often, it's the girls who save the guys (for example, Nitochka frees her fiance Trot in A Girl Named Glazastik).
- Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: Mostly played straight. Bright and clear equals good, sharp and piercing equals bad.
- Good Shepherd: Quite frequent in her post-Soviet works (Father Ioann in The Big Sister and Little Sister, the holy hermit in The Secret Of The Crystal Castle etc.).
- Hoist by His Own Petard: If the villain possesses a very cool and/or dangerous artifact, the chances are high it will be used against them in the climax. Such is the case, for instance, with the Mountain Spirit's writings in The Big Sister and Little Sister or the ice key in A Girl Named Glazastik.
- Holy Burns Evil: Again, in the post-Soviet books. If villains or their minions are so wicked they have absolutely zero chance of redemption, they will crumble at the sound of prayer or tolling church bells (like the underground dwarves in The Castle of the Black Queen).
- Intergenerational Friendship: Happens fairly often. For example, the wizard Alyosha in Ruler of the Magical Keys is a good friend to the kids in the neighborhood, and in the heroes' team in Loskutik and the Cloud we get the elderly Barbatsutsa and Rositta, the Vague Age Cloud, Vermilyon who is implied to be in his twenties or thirties, and the preteen Loskutik and Soot.
- Lady of Black Magic: If a female magician is the Big Bad, expect her to be like this: beautiful, elegant, poisonously polite, with a good supply of evil spells and handy artifacts, and dressed in dark colors. The Black Queen in The Castle of the Black Queen is a classic example.
- Meaningful Name: In every work.
- Nice Mice: Helpful mice, such as the Mouse Queen in A Girl Named Glazastik, often save the day for the heroes, even if they are a tad too self-absorbed to be on the heroic team.
- Princess Classic: Played with. The good princesses (such as Astrel from Astrel and the Forest's Guardian or Selizetta from The Big Sister and Little Sister) embody the trope, being beautiful, gentle and refined, but they are also quite capable in facing villains and become the ones to save the day more often than not (see Silk Hiding Steel below).
- Public Domain Character: Prokofieva has written an entire series about Snow White. The first book is a loose retelling of the Grimms' fairy tale, but the rest are completely original.
- Puppy Love: In practically any story that features a boy and a girl who aren't related.
- Ring of Power: Appears quite often (the Snow White series, The Castle of the Black Queen etc.), usually as a Chekhov's Gun to save the day for the heroes in the final battle.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: If they are quick and savvy enough, the villains can avoid Cool and Unusual Punishment and simply run far away.
- Signature Style: A book by Prokofieva almost always includes: a kindhearted plucky girl (child or grownup), a villain with piercing eyes (usually Lady of Black Magic if female), Puppy Love with a nice boy if the heroine is a kid (if its Standard Fantasy Setting, he is a servant or page), Distressed Dude love interest if the heroine is an adult, Nice Mice, siblings with a large age gap, evil kings overthrown by an Angry Mob (mostly in the pre-1991 works), a soft-spoken Evil Chancellor.
- Silk Hiding Steel:
- The heroines. Villains tend to think that Real Women Don't Wear Dresses and that a delicate, soft-hearted, feminine Ingenue (bonus point if she's also a preteen girl) can't be a serious threat to their plans. They are very much mistaken. An especially prominent example is Smirinka from Princess Wennie, who is a servant in the villain's castle and lives by the Turn the Other Cheek principle... until she foils the villain's Plan A and successfully fights off his main sidekick.
- Not to mention the extremely capable and dangerous female villains: the Lovely Gina, Kicking Ass in All Her Finery in The Island of Captains, Queen Demonta in The Secret Of The Crystal Castle, the Black Queen in The Castle of the Black Queen etc.
- Would Hurt a Child: Most of the villains (Tragimor, for instance, targets a child specifically because children have the purest souls).