Sunday 26 May 2024

Book Review: City of Night Birds by Kim Juhea (Contemporary Fiction)

City of Night Birds
Kim Juhea
26 November 2024
320 pages
eBook - EPUB
Contemporary Fiction
ARC via Edelweiss

A once-famous ballerina faces a final choice—to return to the world of Russian dance that nearly broke her, or to walk away forever—in this incandescent novel of redemption and love

On a White Night in 2019, prima ballerina Natalia Leonova returns to St. Petersburg two years after a devastating accident stalled her career. Once the most celebrated dancer of her generation, she now turns to pills and alcohol to numb the pain of her past.

She is unmoored in her old city as the ghosts of her former life begin to her loving but difficult mother, her absentee father, and the two gifted dancers who led to her downfall.

One of those dancers, Alexander, is the love of her life, who transformed both Natalia and her art. The other is Dmitri, a dark and treacherous genius. When the latter offers her a chance to return to the stage in her signature role, Natalia must decide whether she can again face the people responsible for both her soaring highs and darkest hours.

City of Night Birds was a very different story from Kim's first work, but it was no less enjoyable. The way the tale wove between past and present, slowly filling in the blanks, worked well. The prose was easy reading yet still descriptive and captivating, and Natalia was a character who caught and held my interest right from the start. I enjoyed the ballet/theatre setting, and, in fact, reading the book made me want to watch some ballet again, as it's been a while since I last saw any live performances of the medium. I am giving this book 4.5 stars. It's well worth a read for those who enjoy contemporary literature with a strong character/psychological focus.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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