(Image Courtesy -the lovely author Nadine Brandes herself )
! SPOILER ALERT ! The following post contains spoilers for whole book. So unless you’ve read it fully, DON’T PROCEED ! SPOILER ALERT !
-S P O I L E R S-
Hello BnB Readalong fam *waves excitedly* WE FINISHED ROMANOV SO CONGRATULATIONS y'all! I had so much fun hosting this readalong (psst, there'll be more in the future too *happy dance*), writing the posts and discussing the story with such awesome readers *heart eyes* You're awesome so do a little victory dance!
So being the listomaniac that I am, I made lists for this review!
THINGS I LOVED
1) ALEXEI. I straight up loved this precious bean so much. Kind heart, sass, humorous, clever and also strong and badass in his own way! Alexei is unforgettable and a character to reckoned with! I really would love to know about his life after the book you know? How he and Dochkin are going to be joining up with the white Army and defeating the Bolsheviks. Anyway, BIG HUG FOR THE TSAREVICH <3
2) NASTYA - Our main character with her heart of gold and all the tricks up her sleeves. Nastya is such a wonderful protagonist and I loved all parts of her. She, like her brother is kind and nice but also so badass and powerful in a way that filled my heart.
“Why won't you die?"
"Because I have a story I was meant to live. And not even you can unwrite it.”
3) THE FAMILY DYNAMICS - Aw the first half of the book had my heart aching for the Romanov family. Even in the hardships, they found solace in each other and really i loved all of them. I wish we'd seen more of the other sisters too - Olga and Tatiana. I also wish we'd seen more of the children's interactions with their mother too. But I LOVED the relationships Nastya had with her father, her brother and her sister maria. The family was portrayed in an achingly beautiful manner.
“No amount of age, pride, or maturity could stop me from loving my papa with the heart of a little girl.”
4) TSAR NIKOLAI - I don't know how the real historical figure was but the character the author has created is just too wonderful for words and i absolutely loved him. when he died, I cried so bad!
5)THE MAGIC SYSTEM. I think the magic system was brilliant. The idea of spell ink and later realizing how Dochkin's Matryoshka doll worked were some really interesting concepts. But I also liked how the magic wasn't all-powerful. Like how at the end Dochkin's powerful spell heals our darling Alexei but his haemophilia is still there. Really loved how Brandes brought magic into history in an ingenious manner.
6) JOY THE DOG. I just love pets in bookas and I'm constantly scared for them and I pretty much cried when the family's other dogs were found dead. Also loved the author's note at the end that informed us that Joy was indeed real and survived it all.
7) THE WRITING. I love Nadine Brandes' simple but elegant writing. The words just flowed so well and I pretty much read the book in one sitting.
"I’d not mourn the lost good memories— I would apply them to my heart as a poultice every time it ached. That was what positive moments were for— to help heal the wounds of the future. As long as we chose to remember them."
THINGS I LIKED
1) NASTYA AND ZASH - Okay so I had mixed thoughts about the ship throughout but at the end of the day I'm glad Zash is there. I liked that the romance wasn't a major part and neither Nastya nor Zash were falling head over heels in love at first sight. I liked how despite her feelings for Zash growing, Nastya maintained a family first and kept at it strongly.
Do I think Nastya forgave Zash too quickly? Yes. But am I glad she did? Yes. Apparently I'm a potato who can't make up her mind *shrugs*
THINGS I WASN'T SO HAPPY ABOUT
1) I felt the second half of the book was a bit rushed? A lot of things were happening and it honestly felt a bit choppy to me. The first half was my absolute fave and I wish the second half had been more longer and clearer
2) ZASH'S EXPLANATION. I mean there was this whole build-up with Zash saying he wasn't ready to talk about it just yet et cetra and when the explanation actually came I was like -
I mean I get what he's saying but after the buildup and the tension it fell flat for me.
3) YUROVSKY'S ENDING - Just nope. I know there's the moral value of forgiveness but there are some things that are just NOT forgiveable. Yurovsky of all the people DID NOT DESERVE to get the blank spell and a chance to start over. NO! I wanted justice ahhhh!
But overall, really loved this dark retelling which is filled with a lot of sorrow but also there's hope peeking through it all and it's beautiful