***Disclaimer: I received a free early access copy of Romanov by Nadine Brandes from NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for review purposes. Thank you so much for opportunity.
I was so excited about Fawkes that you should’ve seen my face when I learned Romanov was going to exist! The Romanovs were such an interesting family and all of the mysterious circumstances that surrounded their true disappearance. The speculation of Anastasia living, the rise of Leninism ,and just the general misfortune upon them is so interesting and heartbreaking.
The history books say I died.
They don’t know the half of it.
Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.
Nastya’s only chances of survival are to either release the spell, and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s never dabbled in magic before, but it doesn’t frighten her as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her . . .
That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.
One thing about this book I really love is how Nadine explains the contents of the book. She tells of her research, what is real/based off of real people and what has been added to make the story. So many of the element incorporated were actual things and people, even if the truth was stretched.
Russian history is one of those subjects that is fascinating to me because of how a majority of the world currently views the country and because their history is so rich. The Romanovs may not have been the perfect ruling family, but much of it was definitely just unfortunate timing as the ruling family in power that played a part in their demise.
I love how the story beings with a general telling of events. It’s slower paced, but it helps build up to the rest of the book. For those who don’t know a lot about the Romanov family or their exile it helps give a background for what happened. The Bolsheviks that came in contact with them did come to love the family. They were not maniacal or power hungry. I enjoyed how that was a constant theme.
For the magical elements I think Brandes did a wonderful job because she wove Russian history into it seamlessly. With movies like Anastasia in 1997, it’s always been sort of romanticized as such. I think that’s what helps make this story believable and not far-fetched.
Nastya is a very well written and developed character. She has feelings that ever girl goes through. She’s loyal to her family and friends to nearly a fault. She struggles with responsibility and worries about being the person she’s supposed to. I enjoyed her weak moments with the romance plot because emotions can really hinder life in the present. It’s not always in a bad way, but as an adolescent it’s especially tough.
I love Nastya’s relationship with Nikolai. She will do anything for her brother, which I can personally connect with. He is also a character I enjoy in the book because he doesn’t let his sickness get his spirits down. In fact, he’s the one with the witty one-liners and much of the banter’s comic relief. He’s also shown to be a strong part of his sister’s conscience.
I did enjoy that the villain was a villain through and through. There was no horrible backstory to be able to sympathize with him or make him morally grey. I find that nowadays villains can be more ambiguous, which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s nice to be able to have that clear line of good and evil now and again.
The ending was definitely something I was happy with. I think people who read it will enjoy it as well.
I gave this book 5 stars.