Ok. My first review. Never done this before. Don’t often think too deeply on books I read for fun. Let’s see how this goes.
Author: Nadine Brandes
Year Published: 2019
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
What’s it about?: It tells about the Romanov family’s end with a magical twist.
Likes: Nastya, Alexei, and Zash. The writing. Family values.
Dislikes: Olga and Tatiana were not in the story at all — it felt like a family of five instead of seven. Nastya’s mom was barley in the story almost making it a family of 4.
“I cupped the small flare of hope in my palms and waited for more explanation.”
Thoughts: I went into this knowing basically nothing about Anastasia. I remembered talking about her in my genetics class, but not exactly why we were talking about her. I really enjoyed this story. I really got into it. I spent a day reading about one hundred pages, ending right at the climax, and there had been so much that happened (in the story and in my life) that I took a few days to digest it all before coming back and finishing the book.
I don’t think I’ve read a historical fantasy/fiction story before, but I loved the history with a twist of magic. After I finished the story I went to the internet to learn about the real Romaov family and loved learning about them.
“My throat burned hotter than the scorched pages of my diaries.”
So, admittedly I looked at some other reviews on Goodreads before writing this just to get a feel of what others are saying/how to write a review. A lot of people had some issues with the magic. I can see wanting more magic, but while the family was being guarded so closely by soldiers who were against the use of magic, I don’t see how more magic could have been put in.
Reading the reviews have confused me a little bit about the magic. I know I love the idea of it. I find the spell ink interesting. Do I completely understand the magic system? I’m not sure. Do I need to fully understand it to enjoy it? I don’t know. I think, at least for now with just one read of the novel and having had time to digest the story, my feelings about the magic are neural. Do I love the idea of it? Yes. Did I understand it? Mostly. There were two parts where I was a little confused by how the magic was working, but so were the main characters. I also don’t fully understand how to make more spell ink — something Nastya wondered about a lot — but I wouldn’t be able to make it anyways, so does it really bug me? Only a little.
Some people had issues with the characters. Like I said, the mom was barely in the story so she felt a little flat to me, and after seeing some of these reviews I’m starting to at least see how they feel similarly about Nastya’s dad. Some people commented on how the Romanovs were shown to be a perfect family. Sure, maybe not historically accurate, but as one reviewer pointed out, Nastya, a sixteen-year-old, is the narrator. Sure, maybe she could have seen more faults in her family and father, but she’s young and in a, what I can only imagine to be, traumatic situation. I did find Nastya, Alexei, and Zash to be really good characters. There were times I felt Nastya was younger than she actually was and Alexei was older than he actually was which was a little distracting, but I loved them both all the same.
“That was how we sisters worked. When one was weak, another picked up the strength.”
I have no issue with the story not being 100% historically accurate as some people pointed out. It is a made up story after all. I also believe that there is little to nothing to know exactly how the family thought, so this could be how Nastya thought.
Now, as for the romances. I like Maria and Ivan’s romance. I was a little surprised with how openly they were since it was so dangerous for them both, but they were very sweet and just made me feel good.
Nastya and Zash’s romance was different. One review pointed out that they would be happy with them just being friends. I think that fits better, at least at the end. They did go through a very traumatic experience together, and they need the support of one another after it all. Again, like with the magic element, I don’t hate Nastya and Zash’s romance, but maybe their relationship could have been better if they started out attracted to each other and end the story as friends that went through a traumatic experience with the possibility of romance in the future. Maybe. Just my thoughts after reading the reviews. I didn’t really find anything wrong with them while I was reading it.
“The library of the Tobolsk governor’s house was a candle stub compared to the chandelier of the Alexander Palace library. Still, it was a place of light for me, no matter the size of the flame.”
Well, hopefully that was a good review. I won’t always look at other reviews before writing mine, but with my first review on a brand new book, I thought it might not be a bad idea. I may do it again at times. I feel like looking at the reviews didn’t change my opinions, just made me think more about elements others like or have problems with. Over all I really enjoyed the story. I loved reading it.