The Way Back

by Gavriel Savit

4 of 5 stars 1 rating • 1 review • 1 shelved
Book cover for The Way Back

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The Way Back

by Gavriel Savit

4 of 5 stars 1 rating • 1 review • 1 shelved

Perfect for readers of Neil Gaiman and Philip Pullman, a sweeping historical fantasy that follows two teens on a journey through the Far Country, a Jewish land of spirits and demons.

For the Jews of Eastern Europe, demons are everywhere: dancing on the rooftops in the darkness of midnight, congregating in the trees, harrowing the dead, even reaching out to try and steal away the living.

But the demons have a land of their own: a Far Country peopled with the souls of the transient dead, governed by demonic dukes, barons, and earls. When the Angel of Death comes strolling through the little shtetl of Tupik one night, two young people will be sent spinning off on a journey through the Far Country. There they will make pacts with ancient demons, declare war on Death himself, and maybe-- just maybe--find a way to make it back alive.

Drawing inspiration from the Jewish folk tradition, The Way Back is a dark adventure sure to captivate readers of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book and Philip Pullman's The Book of Dust.
  • ISBN10 1984894625
  • ISBN13 9781984894625
  • Publish Date 17 November 2020
  • Publish Status Active
  • Publish Country US
  • Publisher Random House USA Inc
  • Imprint Knopf Books for Young Readers
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 368
  • Language English


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Quirky Cat 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of The Way Back in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This is my first time reading anything by Gavriel Savit – however, I've been hearing SO many nice things about The Way Back that I just knew I had to give this novel a try. Plus, this adventure is being positively compared to writing by Neil Gaiman and Phillip Pullman, so how could I possibly ever resist?

Demons and the dead are everywhere – though most stay contained in their own little world. With few excuses to ever cross the border, that is where they have little choice but to remain. That is, until a wedding invites all – no exceptions. That sounds like exactly the sort of excuse they have been looking for.

Two teenagers, both vastly different in experiences and temperaments, have found themselves on the wrong side of this particular adventure. Now their only hope is to find their way back, as the title itself states.

“She had seen the Angel of Death.
And her instrument was not a knife.
It was a spoon.”

The Way Back is arguably one of the most enchanting novels I've read in quite some time. The writing itself seemed to suck me in, while that brilliant world full of rich details kept me thoroughly trapped.

I mean that almost literally. It took days for my brain to be free of the world described within these pages. Some would call that a book hangover, and honestly, they wouldn't be wrong. But it felt different than that at the same time. There was just something so...captivating about the story and the setting itself.

“The young were nervous. The old were reflective.
Tupik was going to bury its dead.”

While the world itself (and the demons within), were plenty fascinating, that isn't the only thing I loved about this novel. For example, I adored the differing perspectives of the main character, Yehuda Leib and Bluma.

Their journeys were fascinating, and they felt so vibrant and alive. This is a story I'd honestly suggest to any teenager, young adult, or even adult to give a go. I can see why this world was so compared to the worlds created by Neil Gaiman and Phillip Pullman – it lives up to that statement. At least, it certainly did for me.

Check out more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks