A great find!
Author: J. Nelle Patrick
Release date: 27th of February 2014
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Historical, YA, Fantasy
Published by: Razorbill
Pages: 337 pages in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle
Natalya knows a secret.
A magical Faberge egg glows within the walls of Russia's Winter Palace.
It holds a power rooted in the land and stolen from the mystics.
A power that promises a life of love for her and Alexei Romanov.
Power, that, in the right hands, can save her way of life.
But it's not in the right hands.
Well… I’m still trying to find words to describe this memorable, gorgeous and simply breathtaking story. I read so many praising early reviews, but I was still totally caught off guard on how beautiful, emotional and just brilliant it really ended up being. For the moment, my absolutely highlight of the year.
So what’s so good about his book? Well, what’s not!
First of all, the prose is vivid, inventive, detailed, descriptive, smooth – it conveys everything necessary and a lot more. I actually felt like I was in the midst of all the places the story took the characters to: St Petersburg, Moscow, the train, the countryside, the Winter Palace, in between the warring Reds and Whites. While I usually shy away from too descriptive books, this one came alive due to that and I loved it for the images it formed in my mind. The writing was superb!
The historical background in which the story took place has always fascinated me and the author was incredibly convincing with all the historical facts and I believe that there was extensive research put into every small detail, this made me respect the author a great deal more. Furthermore, I’ve read so many books set in different eras, in between huge historical events or even in mayor city’s around the world with extensive history, culture and atmosphere, but most of the time the book just notes that it takes place in this grand place/setting, but when reading the idea simply doesn’t reach me and falls flat. I had no such issues here, the story didn’t take any prisoners, striking from page one to the last.
The plot was quite simple: an aristocrat about to lose everything with the revolution sets out to save the only thing she thinks can restore everything as it was. The story was basically one huge search mission, but that just the skeleton of it. There was so much hope, desperation, wonder, loyalty, discovery, failure and success along the way, which made the story a wonderful journey for me as a reader. Especially since all these emotions the characters were faced with, I too experienced. I also liked the fantasy element of the plot. It was subtle, and not all out Harry Potter, but I felt the magic and mystic powers working perfectly in sync with the adventures of our heroes and the faith of Russia.
I also thought the love story was stuff of fairy tales and a complete tearjerker…, but maybe not. Knowing what happens to the royal family, I went into the story with the mindset that it was doomed and my heart would be ripped open, stepped on and the run over by a bus and then a steamroller. I wasn’t too off the mark, but I didn’t expect the turn of events that restored my hope in romance in this book. I don’t really want to spoil anything, but let’s just say that Natalya genuinely loves her prince and vice versa, but life doesn’t stop when things don’t work out the way you planned and when a door is closed… a window is opened – and I kind of adored that “window” opportunity.
I thought the ending was stunning in a very simple way as well, somewhat of an open ending, but I felt that everything came full circle.
Natalya – I thought was a great heroine, she was a spoiled aristocrat with the biggest catch as an intended, but she didn’t annoy me, she didn’t make utterly stupid choices, she didn’t complain/whine/act like a child, she wasn’t selfish, … instead she was heroic, responsible, determined, loyal – ok, yes, quite naïve about why the Reds were protesting and fighting for, but I wouldn’t expect someone like her to completely understand having led the life she had. Most of all, she absolutely loved her prince and homeland.
Why aren’t more people picking this up? Only a couple of reviews on Amazon, only 30ish reviews on Goodreads – I can’t understand it! So here’s my request (demand): please give this a try alone only for how well written this is, if not for any of the other million reasons to read it!