This has to be the most delightfully naughty fairy tale in the whole history of fairy tales involving naughtiness. Efrosin and his innocent exuberance were instantly endearing, and I loved how well balanced he and Dmitri are.
The whole idea of the curse of lightness was fascinating, and I adored the way it was handled. Efrosin could have used the excuse to become truly hearless (like his father?) but somehow managed to be a decent, kind-hearted person underneath the externally-imposed inability to care.
Dmitri's stolid acceptance of his life of solitude, and the cheerful optimism with which he lived his life and hoped for visitors were also wonderfully endearing.
It feels almost dirty saying this about a fairy tale, but the two of them together were deliciously hot! The hopeful, innocent way in which Efrosin makes his delightfully filthy overtures to Dmitri, and the delight they both showed in realizing their feelings (first their lust and then their love) were returned made me melt!
The way in which the curse is broken places this solidly in the Grimm camp of fairy tales that have very dark elements, but even that seemed to fit the curses and the motivation behind them. And like all good fairy tales, the messages in this one are of hope and faith and that goodness and love can conquer all. Lovely story!
Some favorite quotes:
"It's quite delightful, except that it's terrifying. Which is, of course, how so many of the best things are."
"What did his tutor tell him it was called? Ah yes. Lust. It was a rather divine and entertaining sensation, now that he knew it. He thought of how silly and desperate men behaved when consumed by it, and he hoped to be just as silly and desperate, indeed."
"'What, pray tell, is the equal and opposite cure of your curse? Flight? Height?'
'Death,' Dmitri said. 'It is the only release from the bonds of this world.'
Efrosin's eyes went wide. 'Oh. Well then, let's not talk of that. I rather like you alive and touching me.'"
"I don't think I've ever been quite this happy. I've been delighted and cheerful and eager and silly and many other things, but this is a different thing altogether. I feel quite full with it."