Author: Nadine Brandes
Published: May 7, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
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 saving herself and her family 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 has only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction to 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.
This is the second book of Brandes that I’ve attempted and the first that I’ve read all the way through. The problem that I had in Fawkes came out a little in Romanov but thankfully not enough for me to DNF it. It’s honestly my only real criticism. Brandes has a habit of writing books that need a prerequisite. She throws in details about magic and culture that have no context and I automatically felt like I was missing something important. As I said, I felt that a little in Romanov but not as bad. I’ve also studied the last Romanovs so I understood the historical context. Brandes seemed to try to stick as close to history as possible and I liked that a lot.
The unfortunate side effect was that the Romanovs’ boring lives in Ekaterinburg and Tobolsk bled through into the story and there were times that I wanted things to move a bit faster. However, I liked her portrayal of the family and of the Bolsheviks. I believed every word and action and I would be the least bit surprised if it all happened exactly like in the book. I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction. It’s also safe for teens to read, but due to the slow pacing, I’d save it for older teens.