Friday, October 4, 2013

Something Wicked Returns: Night Witches by L.J. Adlington + Giveaway

Hi everyone!
Remember my review of Night Witches by L.J. Adlington posted maybe 15 days ago? No? Here are three words to remind you: teenage fighter pilots! That's right. Girls fly airplanes. In battles. And they're teens.

Night Witches is a deliciously dark story that combines science fiction elements and Russian lore. I loved it so much that I immediately invited L.J. to write a Wicked post, which she did in a heartbeat because she's awesome. Here's what she shared:


Dare you go into the forest…?
by L.J. Adlington

Night Witches begins with a plane crash in a strange landscape crowded with curious black birds and carnivorous trees.
Forests in fairy-tales are full of danger, bewilderment… and possibilities.  The heroine of Night Witches, Rain Aranoza, has always been told don’t step off the path. In fact, she comes to find it is only by getting lost that she can actually find herself.

In ancient stories, forests have spirits that rise from misted waters, or drop down with a shriek from the trees.  Hungry beasts hunt and leave bones to bleach.  Flower-filled meadows hide blood-sucking swamps.
Brooding at the dark heart of many Eastern European and Russian fairy-tale forests is the powerful crone Baba Yaga.  A witch who won’t hesitate to eat or torture those she despises.  Her house on stilts is ringed by a fence of fire-lit skulls, and she flies in a pestle and mortar.
There are many Baba Yaga tales, old and new.  My favourite is the story of Vassilisa the Beautiful, who is sent by her step-mother (a type-cast villain, if ever there was one) to seek light at the witch’s home.  Protected from Baba Yaga’s stone teeth by her birth-mother’s blessing, Vassilisa wins through and defeats her enemies. 

So often modern fairy tales concentrate on the pink/pretty/princess themes.  Fortunately, for every heroine who’s more likely to trip over her dress hem than stride out on adventures there are girls who are too resourceful to waste precious days wondering when a prince-type person might appear. Far from being scared by Baba Yaga’s skulls with fire for eyes, Vassilisa takes one of them up to light her way out of the forest.  She’s not afraid to own some of the witch’s dark power.  Baba Yaga is no Good Fairy Glinda of Oz.  No fairy godmother.  She’s a powerful primeval figure with control over night and day. 
Be afraid, primped-up pampered princesses - be very afraid!

In Night Witches, Rain Aranoza’s journey is inspired by tales of girls who use cunning and courtesy to face fierce challenges in their quest for survival and success. 
During World War II the great and gruesome Baba Yaga became an icon for a remarkable new generation of flying females in Russia, who were fighting a relentless invasion of their homeland.  Their enemies named them Night Witches.  These young women flew wooden bi-plane bombers instead of broomsticks.  They were every bit as resourceful as fairy-tale heroines.
I’ve told their stories in a new guise, as the futuristic fliers of Night Witches.  I’ve blended fact and fairy-tale with my own imagination to create a story of loyalty, love and betrayal… and above all, a story about being true to yourself.

Writing Night Witches was a treacherous task at times.  More than once I felt as if I was lost in a thorny forest of dead-end tracks, with sharp eyes watching and monsters waiting to pounce if I stumbled.  Self-doubt is the hardest fear to face… but I fought back!  The novel is written and waiting to be read!  This storybook forest is full of teenage bomber pilots, fierce lovers and brave souls.
Like Rain Aranoza or Vassilisa I learned that if you never go into the forest, you’ll never know what you could find there.

Dare you stay safe…?

L. J. Adlington is the author of The Diary of Pelly D, which was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. She graduated from Cambridge University, and has lived and worked in Japan and Spain. She now lives in York, England, where she teaches hands-on history lessons for museums, schools, and historical sites.

A copy of Night Witches will be sent to one winner INTERNATIONALLY. Just enter the Rafflecopter below. I wish you all good luck. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please visit other Something Wicked Returns posts around the blogosphere:

Ginny@Gin's Book Notes: Tori L. Ridgewood: Wind and Shadows
Susan@Taylor Made Ficition: Susan Arden: Collared for a Night
Diane@Strahbary's Fields: Robin Burks : Zeus Inc.


  1. Night Witches sounds AMAZING and I really need to grab myself a copy. I loved this post, particularly the incorporation of myths like Baba Yaga. I think I last heard her story at a Halloween read-aloud when I was eight and have been terrified since, so I'm excited to read this one soon. Wonderful guest post!(:

  2. Ooh yes I totally remember this book! I cannot wait to pick up a cooy for this sounds amazing I mean teenage freaking fighter pilots :O

    Fantastic guest post! <33

  3. That cover...completely freaky but awesome in its uniqueness. And those Baba Yaga stories are fantastic but if I ever see an old woman who lives in a house with chicken legs, I might drop dead of fright!

  4. Well, this looks like a great book
    GREAT post, Maja, and the author!
    Your reader,

  5. Love the guest post! It is funny how in a lot of cultures forests were always hiding evil dark things!

  6. I definitely do not want to get eaten by Baba Yaga, she looks terrifying! I don't know if I'd be that brave girl who steps off the path literally as dark forests at night are beyond creepy, but figuratively I like to think I'm a girl that takes risks now and again, it's how I started my business. Just had to take that step off the 9-5 path, scary as it was:) Loved this post, and Night Witches sounds amazing!

  7. Night Witches sounds great! I love Russian fairy tales, I grew up reading and watching them. :) I would love to read this book. LJ, keep up with the great work, greetings from Macedonia! :)

  8. This book sounds freaking awesome! I do remember when you featured it before Maja and I thought it sounded great then, but I'm even more intrigued now! Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. It sounds really cool :D I did not know all of that

  10. I actually bought the book after reading your review a fortnight ago. Thanks for sharing the guest post with us! I love getting to know the author's perspective :)

  11. Thanks for the post! Very interesting; Night Witches sounds great and I REALLY love the cover.

  12. Oh yes! This sounds fab and I love Baba Yaga stories. I also love those stories where the protag discovers that it is best to be true to yourself. Oh so moving this up my wishlist.

  13. I love all the various tales of Baba Yaga, excellent post! Love the sound of Night Witches :)

  14. Not my typical read, but the book sounds fascinating!

  15. I love that she references the Nachthexen, the "night witches" of WWII, who flew their planes at night, no lights, cut the power just feet from the ground to glide soundlessly over enemy troops and drop bombs on them.
    If you're ever in Seattle, come to the Museum of Flight- they have a wonderful exhibit about these Russian heroines, including planes, photos, and written firsthand accounts. :)

  16. Teenage fighter pilots!!! YES! I still haven't bought it yet, but it's in my list, so hopefully I'll get to it soon! Oh, I love this guest post, especially knowing how the night witched title came to be. Thanks for sharing, Maja :)

  17. I love witches, so this book sounds like fun!! :D

  18. This book sounds exciting :D

  19. Want to win this book! It sounds awesome!

  20. Witches on war planes. Creepy nd scary

    Tnx for.the giveaway

  21. Love the guest post! Out of all the fairytales, I am most interested in exploring the dark and creepy ones. Growing up in Europe, I am very familiar withthe Baba Yaga story. My parents used to scare me that if I don't get back inside before the nightfall, Baba Yaga will come and take me away, and she'll keep me locked up in her cabin deep in the middle of the dark woods. As you can imagine, it worked pretty well :) Not only was I always sure to be back home for supper (we're talking a small kid, maybe 8-9 yo, playing outside with a bunch of friends from the neighborhood), but I never fussed over it either. And then I'd spend an hour or two glued to the window, trying to spot the wicked Baba Yaga roaming the neighborhood in search of her next victims. I never did see her, of course, but the fear and imagination alone was enough to keep me in line hahaha :)

    Looking forward to reading Night Witches, it sounds amazing and right up my alley! :)

  22. I have been meaning to get Night Witches since I read your review of it, Maja, and now after reading L.J.'s guest post and how she based it in fairy tales and Baba Yaga, I just went and bought a Kindle copy! Hopefully I'll have time to read it soon!

  23. I really want to read this one. It sounds fantastic. I just read a Crown of Midnight and it had a version of Baba Yaga in it. She is so creepy!

  24. i want ot read the night witches :) it sounds intriguing :)

  25. This sounds cool! The phrase Teenager Fighter Pilot had me hooked! Thanks for the giveaway! :D

  26. I love the setting a dark mysterious fairy tale forest sounds so spooky

  27. Can't wait to read The Night Witches. Thank you for the giveaway!

  28. Can't wait to read The Night Witches.This is cool.


Thank you for stopping by and commenting. If you're a fellow blogger, I'll visit and return the favor as soon as possible. If your're using Google+ to comment, please make sure that your blog link is clearly visible on your profile.

Unfortunately, this is now an award and tag free blog, but I do thank you for your consideration.