Thursday, 15 November 2018

Book Review: Romanov by Nadine Brandes (YA/Alternate History/Fantasy)

Title: Romanov
Author: Nadine Brandes
Publisher:
Thomas Nelson

Publication Date: 7 May 2019
Pages:
456
Format:
eBook - PDF
Genre:
YA/Alternate History/Fantasy
Source:
ARC via NetGalley




From the author of Fawkes comes a magical take on the story of Anastasia Romanov.

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.


Having loved Fawkes, I was keen to see what magic Brandes would spin into the tale of Anastasia Romanov, and overall I wasn't disappointed. Romanov offers readers a fascinating alternate history of the events that befell the Romanov family after the revolution. The blending of history with magic and fantasy works well, though at the start it is less conspicuous than in Fawkes. I enjoyed the depiction of Anastasia, who came across as a well-developed character, as did Alexei. However, some other members of the family melted into the background a little. I also struggled now and then with the romance between Zash and Anastasia, as I couldn't see on what it was based, unlike the briefer love between Maria and Ivan, which felt natural and real. There was a slight dip in the pacing in the middle of the book, but it soon picked up again, and in general I was always keen to turn the page and discover what would happen next. I don't think Romanov quite had the magic of Fawkes for me. Nonetheless, it was a fun and engaging read that has a lot to offer as is certain to please the YA historical fantasy crowd. 4.5 stars.

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