3rd December 2013 [LINK]
Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers’ Favorite
Destinies In Motion by Liliya Galitskaya brings us into the adventures of Tacker or Tac, a house cat who is more than just that. He becomes the king of the forest and a feline that loves his family so much he seems to merge destines with them. He would do anything to help them. The Vladners family is a normal, everyday family. Lana is Tac’s mistress, the one he connects with the most, and it is Lana that must confront the magical changes that the family notices. The biggest problem in this, however, is that Lana does not actually believe in magic.
What a unique and adventure-filled romp. I have read stories and adventures from the pet’s point of view before, but this one is a fresh breath and new take on that. I found myself smiling almost the whole time through this book even if I was not supposed to be smiling (serious parts) because I could see my cats in Tac and that will always make me smile. The writing is well crafted and flourished in a way that pulls you in. I found every passage descriptive but not overdone so that you could simply immerse yourself in the story and enjoy every moment. I could picture the characters, the places, and the adventures of treasure hunting and more. If you are someone who enjoys the outline of a quest with a unique telling of the tale, I would recommend this book. I fully enjoyed it from cover to cover.
26th November 2012 [LINK]
Destinies in Motion is an epic adventure fantasy tale written by author and illustrator Liliya V Galitskaya, a Russian seamstress living in Canada.
The story introduces the Vladners, a family whose everyday lives are suddenly changed by events that seem beyond their control. Lana, the daughter of the family decides to take on the quest to discover the truth. But her pet cat Tac knows everything about the mystery and starts to lead her on her journey, and once they begin their quest, transforms himself into a hero.
Reminiscent of the film Labyrinth, Lana must find her baby brother in another magical world, and ultimately save herself.
I wouldn’t say Galitskaya is the best illustrator in the world, but her drawings do convey the message and have a folksy charm reminiscent of Russian Lubok illustrations, and this is a spirit in which the writer has invested in the narrative also.
There is nothing terribly original in the thematics of this story; it has all the usual elements of a quest tale. If you are a fan of this genre, it may resonate. It occurred to me whilst reading that while it seems a very long story for a child reading alone, and it does become slightly difficult to retain all the plot points and details at times, but the illustrations actually lend this work to a bedtime read to a child from a parent or carer, and could easily contribute to a fantastic dream and themes of growing up for discussion with those aged maybe ten and above: it also has merit for the adult reader who enjoys fantasy fiction of this sort.
Younger readers will also enjoy the camaraderie of the animals such as Tac and the characters so carefully described, which again, stand out as a unique point in this work. Lana, the main character, could be any girl reading the book: she is not always perfect or brave or kind. This resonates and makes her a round character leading the story.
Written in a delicately descriptive way with intricate visual descriptions of all of the fantastic events, places and creatures that Lana meets along the way, the finery and finesse elevates the classic elements of quest, creatures, young misfit hero and talking animals to an entertaining and lively read. The creatures are slightly more dastardly than most; I wonder if this too is a glimpse of the more macabre Russian fairy story Galitskaya is familiar with.
Galitskaya should be commended. This book was clearly a great undertaking, and to illustrate and self –publish also must have taken a soul’s worth of energy; in fact what makes it so likeable is the writer’s flair for minutiae: it is, as if in her career as a seamstress, she has stitched this story for the reader in fine needlepoint using the most fairy-thin threads, shimmering on the page.
“Cool air and soft darkness hugged the overheated village of Pokerweild. At that moment the summer night was clear of clouds, allowing onlookers to enjoy the show of stars scattered on its dark blue canvas. From where they sat on the hill, the two saw the bright and low-hanging moon illuminate the open spaces of their village, leaving the rest in mysterious shadows. ” is a whimsical opening for a tale which weaves exquisite descriptions throughout.
Destinies in Motion is worth a look just to see what is achievable with a little passion and energy. A book borne of a lot of heart, which can be rare even in self-publishing, it also achieves the mission even fewer do: to convey the writer’s own world of imagination onto paper and then into the imaginations of others successfully and with a sense of wonder and faith in all things magical and therefore possible in a book.
November 14th, 2012 [LINK]
Russian folklore is rich in characters. There is Baba Yaga, the fearsome witch with iron teeth, bumbling fools, damsels in distress and fantastic creatures like the fire bird. Their adventures and mishaps are buried deep in Liliya Galitskaya’s mind.
Born in the Black Sea port of Odessa, Ukraine, Galitskaya can’t help but draw on them for inspiration. I grew up surrounded by stories, she says, as she explains how those tales and legends were fodder for her first self-published book. “Originally, it was a mental exercise. But I thought why don’t I base my book on Russian folklore? People don’t know it.”
Destinies in Motion begins in the home of the Vladners, who have their lives turned upside down by a series of mysterious events. Their cat Tacker, though, is privy to these strange happenings. His silence prompts his teenage mistress Lana to begin a quest to unravel the mystery herself. “It’s three different stories – the story of animals, the story of families struggling and a fantasy world,” says Galitskaya. But soon, these three separate worlds start to bleed into each other. Lana is forced to confront the magic she does not believe in with Tac, the house cat, as her guide.
Tac becomes a treasure hunter, the wealthy owner of a fairground and an employer of humans. He battles dragons and wizards. There’s a little romance mixed in with the clashing interests of magical helpers and powerful enemies. Full of different characters, surprises and emotions, Galitskaya hopes the book reflects her vision, artistic leanings, imagination and sense of humor.
A graduate of the prestigious Ukrainian Art-Theatre Institute, Galitskaya specialized in historical costume design. She used her drawing and painting skills to sketch 22 illustration for her book. And it wasn’t just folklore that inspired Destinies in Motion. The book also reflects Galitskaya’s love of animals. Tac’s curiosity and spunk was inspired by her own cat, Matilda. “I hope that people stop looking at animals like an object of possession but look at them like a person,” she says. “That’s why I give them human characteristics and a personality, hoping that people stop abusing animals. If you look at something, as something of value, it’s hard to hurt it.” Other characters are based on people in her life, including her husband Roderick Rhodes, who helped edit the book and has a Scottish sheep – Rory MacBaah – named for him.
Galitskaya also see the novel as a fable of sorts, that ends with a moral or lesson. “I figured I could tell a story about a young person trying to find their place in life,” says Galitskaya, who wrote the book for a teenage audience, but believes it’s a tale for all ages. When Lana’s baby brother Troy is kidnapped by an evil witch, she is forced to make a choice. Will she be a passive fence-sitter or accept the challenge to protect family, friendship and love? “It’s old-fashion values,” says Galitskaya, who is quick to point out that the book has no violence, even though Tac must slay a dragon, his nemesis. “They just need to find something to transform the character into a nice guy.”
Just like the legends she heard as a child, Galitskaya hopes her novel can transforms and transport. “Our life is very flat and very practical,” says Galitskaya, who is already working on a sequel. “People want a little bit of magic. It’s like food. We need a little bit of flavour. That’s why people like fantasy. It’s an exercise of the mind. It’s about possibilities.”
copies of the book can be purchased on this site. Liliya is also selling copies of the book at her workplace Meadows Cleaners in Valley Fair Mall.