I'm always up for some retellings of Russian fairytales - especially anything to do with the firebird. Firebirds are special to my heart, because the first "adult" fantasy book I ever read ([b:In The Forests of Serre|81073|In The Forests of Serre|Patricia A. McKillip|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1401324417s/81073.jpg|726213]) was a retelling of the firebird story. Kind of.
This could have been a five-star story, but there were a few too many cultural mistakes in the narrative for it to be perfect (referring to the firebird as a "he" when all firebirds are female). However, the author isn't Russian by birth, and readily admitted that she wasn't able to capture everything with her research, and I respect that. It's still a strong story - definitely closer to a 4.5-star than a 4-star.
The message of the story itself is a positive one, and the way the main character was handled doesn't happen very often (or very often in the books I read), so the "twist" wasn't cheesy or cliche, but came across as touching. I'm ready to admit that that might just be me, though. I've seen more stories use FtM than MtF, so it didn't feel tired to me.