Friday, May 17, 2019

"Romanov" by Nadine Brandes

About this book:

  “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.”

Series: No, standalone.

Spiritual Content- A few Prayers; A couple Scriptures are mentioned & remembered; Mentions of Jesus (Iisus) & showing forgiveness; Mentions of prayers, praying, & blessings over food; Mentions of churches & nuns; A few mentions of the Bible & Bible reading; A mention of Heaven; A mention of Easter;
             *Note: Saying spells & causing healing for someone; All about many mentions of spells, spell masters, them healing/curing others, & magical items (it should be noted that when the spells in this book are said they do not provide tangible object; one spell sends Anastasia to the “spirit realm” (like a ghost) halfway in the living and halfway in the dead); Mentions of ghosts & souls; A few mentions of sirens.

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘dumb’; A few mentions of muttered curses & shouting profanities; Some eye rolling; Lying (for the safety of her family); All about exile & the possibility of being killed; Stabbing someone & blood (semi-detailed); Being shot, nearly being strangled, injured, & bleeding (up to very semi-detailed); Seeing deaths, loved ones shot and murdered, hearing gunshots, injuries, pain, deaths, their bloody bodies, blood, & bleeding (semi-detailed to very semi-detailed); Seeing someone almost commit suicide (up to semi-detailed); Many mentions of deaths, murders, executions, & firing squads (up to very semi-detailed); Many mentions of gunshots, bullets, pain, injuries, blood, & bleeding (up to very semi-detailed); Mentions of someone almost taking his life; Mentions of riots & their awful words; Mentions of threats; Mentions of stealing & thieves; Mentions of alcohol, drinking, & drunks; Mentions of hatred; Mentions of lies & lying; A few mentions of bloody bodies (barely-above-not-detailed); A few mentions of a possible lynching; A few mentions of cigarettes & smoke; A few mentions of gossip; A few mentions of beloved dogs being killed (no details on how, just that they are dead); A couple mentions of someone being runover (barely-above-not-detailed); A couple mentions of shooting a horse (barely-above-not-detailed); A mention of a dog catching a squirrel.

Sexual Content- a boarder-line barely-above-not-detailed // semi-detailed kiss; Touches, Hand Holding, & Nearness (barely-above-not-detailed); Wanting to hold hands; Flirting & Winks (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of kisses, seeing a kiss, kissing, & blowing a kiss; Mentions of flirting & flirts; Mentions of a married woman spending time with a man alone (nothing happened, it was gossiped to a possible romantic tryst but was not at all); A few mentions of men who cannot keep their hands to themselves; A couple mentions of noticing; A couple mentions of jealousy; A mention of a married couple kissing; Some love, falling in love, & the emotions;
             *Note: A threat towards Anastasia to tear off her clothing to find something she hid (does not happen); A few mentions of Anastasia and her sister stuffing items down their corsets; A few mentions of the bosom area; A couple mentions of girls’ figures.

-Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov, age 16-17
                                1st person P.O.V. of Nastya
                                        Set in 1918
                                                337 pages

Pre Teens-

New Teens-

Early High School Teens-

Older High School Teens-

My personal Rating-

{Not for those sensitive to executions or magic.}

Compared to the author’s previous historical fantasy, “Fawkes”, I knew much more about the history in “Romanov” than the gunpowder plot.
Heartbreaking. That’s the best way I can describe what happened to the Romanov family.
And here’s the thing: While this fictional retelling of that historic event obviously had its sad and suspenseful moments, it had hope lined with the pages and a believable end that wasn’t the “all-wrapped-up-with-a-neat-little-bow”. It had its own heartbreaking moments, moments where you could feel the pain of Nastya.
Let’s note some details for this book’s review:
 -While “Fawkes” (which is in no way connected to this book; it’s just the same genre of historical fantasy) was set around the time of Protestants and Catholics, those two denominations were not specifically said at all during the nearly four-hundred and fifty paged book. I found the faith content to be missing in that novel. “Romanov” was refreshingly different in this way. Anastasia and her father would mention the Russian name for Jesus and pray along with read the Bible at different times. While still lighter faith content than I typically enjoy, I was happy to see that in this book as I wasn’t expecting any faith content.

 -This book felt way too short. I was imagining that this new novel would be in the 400-pages length, so when I opened this package, I was a bit surprised at how thin it was. Less than 340 pages which is pretty on par for YA, but I do think the story moved a bit too fast at times. The ending was paced out well, though.

 -On the topic of something being too fast. The romance. It really started about half-way through the book, but it seemed to develop quickly. So, that felt a little rushed to me.

 -The spells. Magic in Christian Fiction is always a touchy topic. Always. In the world of “Romanov”, the spells are/were used by those who have studied and are only used for helping others. Anastasia uses a spell to provide relief for her brother when he is in pain. With the exception of someone using a tracking spell to track someone else, none of the spells/magic were used in evil/harming ways. In all honestly, the spells in this book are probably the lightest form of “magic-y stuff” I’ve read in a fantasy (not that I read a lot of fantasy, but you know what I mean.)

 -While I know this book is historical fantasy, there were a few parts that seemed unrealistic. I’ll be honest to admit that I still don’t quite understand all the spell parts and such. But it was interesting. I really like Nastya’s character though that was shown throughout the novel.
So. All that to say that this was an interesting book. And that it’s not for those sensitive towards magic, executions, pain/blood, or very sensitive towards the topic of suicide. Nadine Brandes has a certain way about her writing that’s hard to describe but like a unique way of thinking through her writing. It’s different and it’s what kept me interested in her books even though I know there may be some content I won’t like. While “Romanov” definitely had its heartbreaking moments, there also were added parts that made this story a little more hopeful.

See y’all on Friday with a new review!

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.

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