Saturday, 9 August 2014

Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick

Tsarina
J. Nelle Patrick
Razorbill
[February 27, 2014]
Library book

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 in the wrong hands.

I like Jackson Pearce's books. Her fairytale retelling series wasn't working for me, but I did love her debut novel and I still liked her writing. So when the deal was announced that she was writing a Romanov book, I was 10000% here for it. And when I found it in my library's selection (seriously, they have the most RANDOM books. None of Leigh Bardugo's NYT bestsellers, but they had this? I don't even know) I immediately grabbed it and I'm SO GLAD I DID but now I need a copy anyway.

Natalya was a really interesting character to get to know. She knew where her heart was and she knew what she wanted from life, even when everything around her was making it impossible. She was determined and loyal and protective, even if she didn't always think her choices through and consider what the reality was. In a way, she had a one track mind, but it was the kind of track that you can't fault her for having.

Another really interesting aspect of TSARINA was that I was expecting a romance. And it was in a way. This description doesn't really explain, but Natalya and Alexei, are the kind of couple everyone assumed would be getting married as soon as they were allowed. However, they were apart for most of the novel. You could still feel how very much she loved him at every moment.

TSARINA also tackled a topic that isn't super common to find in YA and tackled it in this really graceful, masterful way. I don't want to spoil it because it's not in any description I've seen and I wasn't really sure if it was happening until a great deal of the way in, but it could've come off horrible and awkward and gross. But it was smooth and just amazingly well done.

I also loved how it was as historically accurate as it could be without taking away from the story. There were some blemishes and the ending just seemed a little too simple and perfect to have been possible in the Russian Revolution, but it was never enough to really irk me. I was able to handle one of my favorite time periods being messed with a little bit because it was done, generally, smoothly enough I didn't notice.

Basically, I adored TSARINA. So, so much. I decided to read it while I was traveling and all my train trips went by just TOO quickly because I wanted to finish my book, dang it! I've checked Goodreads at least twice to see if Jackson Pearce has any other books coming out under this pseudonym (and therefore like this) and I'm now itching to read more historical, especially in this time period. And I have every intention of getting my own copy of this, especially with that gorgeous cover. I'm also already kind of wondering if they'll change the paperback and considering if it'll be pretty enough to also collect. 

Essentially, I'm commanding you all to go read this. It's romantic and full of action and friendship and amazing character development and masterfully skilled writing and it makes this skewed history feel as real as it can. GET IT. GET IT NOW.

--Julie

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