Review: Romanov by Nadine Brandes

Romanov by Nadine Brandes

Published by Thomas Nelson

Release date: May 7, 2019

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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

Summary

Anastasia Romanov has a mission. She must smuggle a spell into her suitcase on her way to Siberia. The leader of the Bolshevik army is hunting the Romanovs, and Anastasia has two options to save her family: release the spell or get Zash, the handsome and unusual Bolshevik, to help them.

Anatasia is frightened of magic, but even more frightened that she is beginning to like Zash. She thinks the feeling might be mutual. That is, until she’s on one side of the firing squad and he’s on the other.

Romanov is a story of love and a story of loss, a journey through a terrible and frightening time, full of hope and despair, anticipation and fear. The history of the Romanov family is fascinating, and this retelling of the story is fast-paced and magical.

Review

Fairy tale retellings are common in young adult fiction. However, well-done and appealing retellings of historical events are much rarer. Nadine Brandes uses plentiful imagination, wonderful pacing, a touch of suspense, loveable characters, and well-spun atmosphere to make the story of the Romanovs come alive in a fresh, new way.

Romanov is a historical fantasy. It has magical elements, but it is set in a historical time period and represents customs and events from that time. It is not factually going to represent the Russian Revolution, and the world is more familiar and real than the new worlds from other fantasies.

The characters in Romanov are layered and complex. The bad aren’t always fully bad, and the good aren’t fully good. Anastasia has decisions that will shape her future and the future of her family and nation on her shoulders. Zash often seems torn between a desire to help and a desire to stay loyal to the Bolshevik army. The members of the Romanov family, although they don’t always get along perfectly, care about each other and support each other.

I don’t usually comment on the structure of a book. However, Nadine Brandes masterfully builds her story with realistic dialogue, well-placed description, a sense of time and place, and sentences and paragraphs that build on each other well. It is clear that the author has much talent for writing and storytelling.

I liked Romanov very much.  It was a well-built and touching story, with complex characters and a fresh and magical plot. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

If You Like

 If you liked books such as Cinder by Marissa Meyer, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, Fawkes by Nadine Brandes, or Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, you will probably enjoy Romanov.

Let’s Chat!

Have you read any of Nadine Brandes’s books? Are you excited to read Romanov? Have you read many historical fantasies?

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