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Romanov

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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 saving her 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 saving herself and her family 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 has only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction to 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.


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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 saving her 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 saving herself and her family 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 has only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction to 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.

30 review for Romanov

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nadine Brandes

    Any ANASTASIA fans in the room? I have been DYING to share this news with everyone! ROMANOV will be another historical fantasy standalone. And now that I'm squealing, I'm at risk of revealing spoilers (BECAUSE I'M THAT EXCITED.) For those who want a teensy more info about the book's inspiration,you can find it in my dorky YouTube announcement.

  2. 5 out of 5

    MischaS_

    ***Advance Review Copy generously provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Romanov family fascinates people for a century. Well, their end does. And I was curious what Nadine Brandes would do with the story. And mainly how she's going to end the story, that's what I'm always curious to see. I believe that the book had great potential. However, it seems a bit like a miss. Like the story is always the one note away for me to really enjoy. But it's still an ***Advance Review Copy generously provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Romanov family fascinates people for a century. Well, their end does. And I was curious what Nadine Brandes would do with the story. And mainly how she's going to end the story, that's what I'm always curious to see. I believe that the book had great potential. However, it seems a bit like a miss. Like the story is always the one note away for me to really enjoy. But it's still an enjoyable read, and I think that you won't be disappointed reading this. Roughly the first 60% follow the Romanov family from Tobolsk to Ekateringburg. Here, it seems very precise. The author then said that she did a lot of research. However, it seemed like she mainly used the Wikipedia article about the Execution of the Romanov family. There are some sentences that seem very similar. Or they might have the same source. (No judgement, only stating my subjective feeling). However, the result is that it seems a bit textbook said from the POV of a teen girl. And I'm not sure this is the desired result. Then the last 40% is a fiction. Following the myth that Anastasia and fully developing the fantasy element of this book. Strangely enough, I prefer the textbook beginning. Why? Because there it at least makes sense. Unfortunately, the author seems to be lost when she suddenly does not have a history to follow. What to do now? And suddenly there are so many problems for me to unsee. I have several things I need/want to point out. - There is a lot of Russian words used to describe things. Budenovka, fortochka, droshky. I understand all of them. But, I really doubt that someone who does not speak a Slavic language will know all of them. And unfortunately, it is not a good thing to be forced to google things, especially in fantasy. Also, I saw that several times the Russian was done wrong as well. In a basic sentences. If I remember correctly the "Good morning" was wrong. - The Romanov family was shown as the nicest people ever. And while I understand that of course, Anastasia would love her parents... It does not work. The author claims extensive research, but here I believe she fails. Nikolai was very much a family man who loved his wife and children. But, he was a very bad tsar. Meek. Under the influence of his wife who was HATED by the Russian people. But here Nikolai is suddenly the perfect leader who leads his family and supposedly was a devoted leader to his people. It seems fake. Romanticised. (But I have to say that I loved the relationship in the family! Well written). - The book should have started at a different point; not everyone is familiar with the Revolution and the Romanov family. If the book started maybe with the abdication, it would make more sense. Explain why Nikolai was forced to abdicate. Why people hated him and his wife. Explain Bolsheviks, Mensheviks. Why the revolution started, how badly the Russian people were affected by the First World War. And I wish Grand Duke Michael was at least mentioned in the book. -This is one of the problems. People need knowledge. One time Nicholai talks about his cousin King George V of the United Kingdom. But he does not say his name and people are left guessing. Or confused. (view spoiler)[From the book it sounded as if Nicholai was hurt that George did not take them to Britain to save them. But he did not know that George refused; he believed that it was the UK's government! So, do not try to be historically correct and then drop things like that. (hide spoiler)] - There is a lot of talk about the White Army, but once again I felt like it was very confusing unless you know the history. And by the way, correct me if I'm mistaken. But wasn't it the Czechoslovak legion that was reaching Ekaterinburg? They were going East so that they could go back to Czechoslovakia if I remember correctly. - Also, Maria went with her parents first and once they left her sisters sewed the jewels in their dress. So, how is it possible that Maria wore jewellery in her dress as well in the end? The jewels had to be put there before leaving Tobolsk but they started to do it once Maria left. - Do I have any Russian friends here? If yes, please, help me here. Zash. I'm really confused by the name. I know the name Zasha exists, but I never saw Zash. I know that защитник (zashchitnik) means defender. But is there Zash as a name? - Also, Zash is supposed to be from an aboriginal tribe from Siberia, but his description makes him sound more Scandinavian than Siberian. - Talking about Zash. (view spoiler)[ The supposed romance between him and Anastasia does not work. At all. (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[Oh my main issue! The anjin spell takes them into a shadow world or whatever and whatever happens to their bodies after that will be erased. But not before. Anastasia says it after the execution while lying in a car. And then when they come back, she only has bruised ribs. The way they were killed was a massacre. They were butchered; there is no way she would be shot only one time. They would put more bullets in her and then take a bayonet on her. This is nonsense! (hide spoiler)] - And the ending: (view spoiler)[ Anastasia asks to be buried with her family. And it's true that she and Alexei were found in a different grave. But still, I don't like this because if they lived a long happy life and then they were buried with their family, their skeletons would be of old people. I know fantasy... but still. And talking about this I just want to point out that the point where Alexei tells the soldiers that he is now the tsar there is no way they would just let him go! If they were truly the Whites, Alexei is the most important thing to them. They would have stayed with him, protected him and tried to get him to their leaders. They would have not just waved goodbye and watched as they went back to the enemy. (hide spoiler)] - Also, Anastasia is injured if only cracked ribs, but she was starved for months with a minimum of exercise. She's wearing a skirt, corset and heavy coat. But suddenly she's able to walk for a day while carrying her brother. Then she manages to jump out of the train on a horse and then from horse to the train... Oh, I almost forgot, MOVING train. I'm saying no. Making her a superhero is stupid and I hated this part. - The problem with this book is simple. It tries very hard to be historically correct but always fails in small things which matter. And it does not work with the fantasy element. I want to believe that if it was fantasy all along, different names, different family, setting it might have worked. This book needs to be more fantasy, or more historically correct, the mix right now is very in between and seems artificial.

  3. 4 out of 5

    emma

    well, i started using netgalley. my tbr should fear me.

  4. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    like many girls born in the 90s who begged their parents to take them to see the groundbreaking film ‘anastasia’ in theatres, i too have fostered a lifelong obsession with all things romanov. i would never claim to be an expert on russian history or the imperial family, but i have read loads of books about the subject. and because of that, i have a lot of thoughts about this novel. so bear with me. first, i think this a good novel for anyone looking to dip a little toe into the romanov family pool. this do like many girls born in the 90s who begged their parents to take them to see the groundbreaking film ‘anastasia’ in theatres, i too have fostered a lifelong obsession with all things romanov. i would never claim to be an expert on russian history or the imperial family, but i have read loads of books about the subject. and because of that, i have a lot of thoughts about this novel. so bear with me. first, i think this a good novel for anyone looking to dip a little toe into the romanov family pool. this does a decent job at describing the conditions and routine of the family whilst they were in exile in ekaterinburg. i can tell that brandes did some research and i like how she presents the difficult circumstances in a really approachable (albeit simple) way for the reader. however, this glimpse into their life, all the way up until the night of the murders, takes up a good 2/3 of the novel. like i said, ive read many books about the romanov family and i was excited to pick up this retelling because of the promise of magic spells - what a neat twist on history! but until the fantasy element even comes into play until the last 100 pages or so, this just feels like any other book ive read on the subject (almost word for word, in some places). it just feels like a weak attempt to integrate a magic system into the story, so i am a little let down in that sense. i do think this is an informative novel and one most people will enjoy. but the fantasy aspect did not have a prominent focus in the story and its nonexistence left me feeling disappointed. overall, i didnt hate this, but it didnt quite meet my expectations either. ↠ 3 stars

  5. 5 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    This was definitely the type of Anastasia retelling I have been waiting for!!! I already knew I'd love this book before I picked it up, I mean pfft have u seen Fawkes which is a magical Guy Fawkes retelling that exploded into my life and I am still thinking about a year later?!? Exactly. Nadine Brandes does the best HF retellings...but adds in magic and heartbreak and endings that cut deep, but also aren't hopeless. I love that balance. Love it. *:·゚✧ | PLOT | *:·゚✧ If you know the history of the Romanovs, then/>*:·゚✧ This was definitely the type of Anastasia retelling I have been waiting for!!! I already knew I'd love this book before I picked it up, I mean pfft have u seen Fawkes which is a magical Guy Fawkes retelling that exploded into my life and I am still thinking about a year later?!? Exactly. Nadine Brandes does the best HF retellings...but adds in magic and heartbreak and endings that cut deep, but also aren't hopeless. I love that balance. Love it. *:·゚✧ | PLOT | *:·゚✧ If you know the history of the Romanovs, then you know...this isn't a light quirky story ok. It gut-wrenching. It picks up when the Romanov family are in exile, banished to a house where they need permission to even open a window. It's basically a waiting game, while they're promised a fair trail, but they're dreading being executed. So the plot isn't an action-adventure...we feel trapped and stagnate with Nastya. We feel the dread and the thin hope as maaaaybe the White Army will save them. I would've liked to have seen them in their palace life though?! I wanna prequel. 🤗 *:·゚✧ | MAGIC | *:·゚✧ ok something I love about Brandes novels is how she weaves magic in so flawlessly you kind of forget...history...didn't have magic?! It's incredible. We have spell ink here, so you can learn the words and write the spells and they sink into your skin. And isn't that an awesome magic system?! 10/10. With Rasputin dead, Nastya is the only one who can do a little magic (she desperately wants to learn to be a full spellmaster) and she can give Alexei a little relief from his illness with spells. But the ending goes BADASS with the magic and it's phenomenal, clever, and heartstopping. *:·゚✧ | CHARACTERS | *:·゚✧ the story is Nastya and she holds onto life with all the love and fierceness of a girl who knows she has potential and the world cannot break her. Nastya is such an optimist! She's a mischief-maker and a sweetheart and she refuses to be beaten down, emotionally or spiritually. afkdlsad I do love her. And she has such a sweet relationship with her 13yo brother, Alexei, who has haemophilia and he's so sick. He spends a lot of the book in a wheelchair too. While I can't speak of any personal experience with his disability/illness, I do feel like the disability rep was done with such love and care. Making !!! me so !!! happy !! Also he's a sassy little spitfire and I nearly choked laughing when he interrupted Nastya and Zash just as they were having a Moment. (He also shipped them so loudly, so like 😂Alexei is adorable.) Now Zash...ah, our love interest. He is a troubled scowling boy, a guard of the Romanov family in their house-arrest prison, and I liked that the book didn't force him and Nastya into a whirlwind romance. Their relationship was tentative and more of a promise. Which was good because captor/captee romances need to be done veeeery carefully. ALSO THERE WAS A DOG AND I LOVE THE DOG AND I PANICKED OVER THE DOG BUT ALL IS WELL WITH THE DOG. 🙏🏻 *:·゚✧ | OVERALL | *:·゚✧ it's one of those book that balances such darkness with the light. It's a brutal plot line, full of cruel intentions and unfair circumstances. And while it does follow history a lot, so you WILL get your heart smashed, it takes spins and twists you don't expect. I loved that about it (brb sobbing tho). Nastya also explores a heavy theme of forgiveness, and whether it is worth giving. While I'm not big on forgiving evil, I did appreciate how Nastya was so soft and yet so strong with her choices here. Afdsjakld she is a gem. ...anyway you need this. It's ANASTASIA!!! and it is magical, powerful, and thoughtful.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Vibur

    I liked Romanov. Really, I did. But. The setting was… ho-hum. What should be descriptions of places were instead inconsequential, uninspired snippets of text. Sure, there was the whole house arrest shebang, so it'd be unfair of me to fault the setting for being as claustrophobic as it was, but I can fault the writing for being bland and undescriptive—after two hundred pages, I should have a better sketch-out of the house than just the fact that there was, uh, a couple of rooms. Oh, and stairs. Which br I liked Romanov. Really, I did. But. The setting was… ho-hum. What should be descriptions of places were instead inconsequential, uninspired snippets of text. Sure, there was the whole house arrest shebang, so it'd be unfair of me to fault the setting for being as claustrophobic as it was, but I can fault the writing for being bland and undescriptive—after two hundred pages, I should have a better sketch-out of the house than just the fact that there was, uh, a couple of rooms. Oh, and stairs. Which brings me to the feeble worldbuilding. So much wasted potential and it's just. So. Frustrating. For the most part, the worldbuilding was lost in a sea of vague, confusing information, and on top of that, there was nothing to anchor the details to anyplace specific—or in this case, to twentieth-century Russia. Not to mention, I am so, so cheesed off. I mean, seeing as how the Russian Revolution was happening at the protagonist's literal doorstep, I was hoping that at some point, I'd read something about… hmm, an actual revolution? But nope, nada. Moving on. Then there was the plot—which, to be honest, felt more like two mismatched halves than a whole. Alright, so I did like the slowness of the first half. The unfortunate thing was that this slowness worked against the novel later on; going into the second half, there was a significant pickup in speed—and it was jarring enough to pull me out of the ride. What's more, some parts of the plot were incredibly contrived—aaand I'll leave it at that, lest I start yanking my hair out. Regardless, there was something about Brandes' portrayal of the Romanovs that touched me. The fabric of their lives worn and unravelling at the seams. And the unwavering thread of love running in between, binding them all together. In which case, I have to applaud Brandes for her writing, for her playful yet elegant turn of phrase which imparted such a fierce vitality to Nastya's voice. And the truth is, I adored Nastya, whose hope shone bright and unrelenting throughout the darkness and despair. Someone who possessed a deep compassion for all her people, who loved friends and enemies alike. Because in the end, Romanov was as much triumphant as it was tragic—a story about suffering and loss, but above all, about survival and forgiveness. 3.0/5 note: thank you to Nadine Brandes and Thomas Nelson for the ARC! This review reflects my honest thoughts, and although I know I wrote more about the bad than the good in this review, I'm not discouraging people from reading this, because I did appreciate this book for what it was. And like I said, it did touch me in the end :)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Zainab

    I don't understand why none of y'all are reading this book at this very moment. Honestly just drop whatever you're reading because I assure you it's not half as good as this book. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the *children* version of Anastasia. I don't really care for it because I find the true story much better. (Please look it up if you don't know) Anyway, this is a retelling of Anastasia (as if it wasn't clear) It involves spells and stuff and feels like a better nicer ve I don't understand why none of y'all are reading this book at this very moment. Honestly just drop whatever you're reading because I assure you it's not half as good as this book. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the *children* version of Anastasia. I don't really care for it because I find the true story much better. (Please look it up if you don't know) Anyway, this is a retelling of Anastasia (as if it wasn't clear) It involves spells and stuff and feels like a better nicer version of the actual story. Sure the dark parts are still there but not half as bad as what actually happened. Okay so I just realized that if you don't know the actual story then this sounds like gibberish but if I do write the story, I'd be giving some major spoilers so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ The book is beautifully written and undoubtedly one of the most underrated books of the year!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tucker

    Many thanks to Thomas Nelson Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review No one can out shout a revolution If the Romanov family lived in the Harry Potter world, it would be this book. Inspiring, beautiful and captivating, I could not have loved this book more. Now, I know that not a ton of people enjoyed this book which honestly doesn’t make much sense to me. I mean, what’s not to like. No, wait. Don’t answer that. So, what’s this book about Romanov follows Anastasia and her family who are under house arrestthat.review Many thanks to Thomas Nelson Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review No one can out shout a revolution If the Romanov family lived in the Harry Potter world, it would be this book. Inspiring, beautiful and captivating, I could not have loved this book more. Now, I know that not a ton of people enjoyed this book which honestly doesn’t make much sense to me. I mean, what’s not to like. No, wait. Don’t answer that. So, what’s this book about Romanov follows Anastasia and her family who are under house arrest. They are doing their best to escape their captivity. But when they try, they are shot to death. Or are they? Using magic, Anastasia and her friends escape. And now they must stop their captors, the Bolsheviks. ♠ Anastia - "I opened my mouth to protest. How I loved protesting.” - As you can see, Anastasia is rebellious, which I obviously loved. But aside from that fact that she’s willing to fight for herself, Anastasia is also kind and caring. Throughout the book, she is constantly putting herself aside to protect her brother and family which is nothing short of inspiring. ♠ Zash - Broken and afraid, Zash is that character that you just want to hug. He is afraid that his family will get hurt and to protect them and himself, he joins the Bolshevik army which ends up causing lots of feelings for both him and Anastasia. He is torn between loyalty to The Red Army and his loyalty to Anastasia. I’ve always had a soft spot for retellings. I mean my all time favorite book is Stalking Jack the Ripper which is, in fact, a retelling. There is something so interesting and fun about reading history or an already existing story but with a twist. Somehow, you know what to expect but you never see the plot points coming at the same time. I love it. I can only imagine how fun it would be to basically re-write history. I loved the magic/fantasy twist that Nadine Brandes put on the Romanov. I do wish that the magic had been explored more. I loved that they could use spells but I wish we had some explanation. I felt like it was explained with the It’s magic so it works cheat. If we end up getting a book two (and we better get a book two), I want to see the magic explained. I think that once some of the rules are cleared up, it will become so much more believable and overall enjoyable. Finally, I loved the theme of forgiveness. Throughout the book, Anastasia had to choose whether or not she wanted to forgive her enemies and captors. I loved that the book recognized that forgiveness isn’t a simple word. It’s a battle that takes courage and insurmountable strength. In the end, you should read this book. If not to get your fantasy fix, than to be inspired and encouraged. Bottom Line: 5 Stars Age Rating: [ PG-13 ] TW: Murder, Suicide Cover: 5/5 ~ Characters: 4/5 ~ Plot: 4/5 ~ Audio: 3/5 (That narrator's fake Russian accent was not great) Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction Publication Date: May 7th, 2019 Publisher: Thomas Nelson Best Format: Hardcover/Paperback | Goodreads | Blog | Twitch | Pinterest | Reddit

  9. 4 out of 5

    Katie Hanna

    DNF. Please do not mistake the lengthy ramblings below for "I-read-the-whole-book-and-here-are-my-thoughts," but rather, "I-decided-not-to-continue-and-here's-why." *deep breath* *cracks knuckles* Romanov is a historical fantasy novel starring 16-year-old Anastasia Nikolaevna, daughter of the last Tsar of Russia. We learn within the first few pages that Anastasia, or "Nastya," aspires to become a Russian 'spell master' (i.e., practitioner of an ancient brand of magic that lets you speak special words & DNF. Please do not mistake the lengthy ramblings below for "I-read-the-whole-book-and-here-are-my-thoughts," but rather, "I-decided-not-to-continue-and-here's-why." *deep breath* *cracks knuckles* Romanov is a historical fantasy novel starring 16-year-old Anastasia Nikolaevna, daughter of the last Tsar of Russia. We learn within the first few pages that Anastasia, or "Nastya," aspires to become a Russian 'spell master' (i.e., practitioner of an ancient brand of magic that lets you speak special words & thereby receive powerful favors). We also learn that Nastya's teacher/mentor in the basics of this art was none other than Grigori Rasputin. There's a lot to unpack there, so let's start from the beginning. First off, this type of "spell magic" is the exact same thing that got so many Christians so upset about Harry Potter. Now, for the record, I don't have a problem with HP; mainly because HP to my mind is clearly not intended as a representation of our real world. Howeverrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, I do think spells like these become a lot more--shall we say--Murky when they're introduced into a real-world, historical setting [like the Russian revolution] and when they involve real, historical practitioners of black magic [like my man Rasputin over here]. Because that's who Rasputin WAS. You can't get around that part of his reputation. And you definitely can't convince me that his historical reputation as "Powerful, Successful Dabbler in the Occult" wasn't a big part of the reason why he was chosen for the fictional role of "Powerful Magic Teacher" in the first place. I was, as I say, disturbed. But I was willing to continue reading to learn more about what sorts of things this fictional magic system does. I soon found out. On page 11: "Thirteen years ago, I'd watched Mamma and Papa open a layer of that painted doll and release the now-forbidden spell that brought us Alexei." [Alexei being her younger brother.] Yes. You read that right. These people have a magic spell that allows them to conceive a human baby. And not [if I'm reading this correctly] to 'help' conceive, not to cure dysfunction or whatever; but to literally, directly conceive a child. To create new life where none existed. Do you See *rubs nose pensively* do you Begin to See where the Problem might lie, Jeeves? Real talk: I am not comfortable with seeing the power to create life allocated to human beings, through magic, even in a fantasy world with no God. But, this ISN'T a fantasy world with no God!!! This is our real, historical world, populated with real historical figures who profess to believe in God and Jesus and the Bible; and yet, when they wanna make a baby, they turn to magic and not to prayer. Which is . . . disturbing. The fact that this magic [allegedly, according to the story logic] ACTUALLY WORKS is 1000x more disturbing. Like. Would you mind telling me, Mr. and Mrs. Romanov--would you mind telling me just WHO you imagine sent you this baby; and WHAT he/she/it/they might stand to gain in return? Moreover, I'm not at all comforted by Nastya's assurances that this baby-creating spell is now "forbidden." Sure, maybe they don't use it any more; but they used it at least once? And it worked?? And now they have this living, breathing kiddo walking around who (by their own admission) was FedEx'd to their parents' bedroom from Somewhere in the Cosmos, and definitely not from the Big Fella Upstairs??? I can't get on board with that, people. I just can't. The ONLY WAY I could continue reading this book with a clear conscience is if I had assurances that the whole point of the story would be overthrowing the magic system--if Nastya's character arc were aimed at her realizing that Rasputin had led her whole family astray and that she should never touch any of these spells, ever again. That, however, isn't the impression I get from other readers. In fact--I've been told that the climax involves Nastya using a spell to (view spoiler)[resurrect dead folks. Which is just . . . whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!?! Now you have power over life AND death, apart from God's power?? Just who do you think you are???? (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[EDIT: I've been given more information about the dead-people thing and honestly I feel MORE disturbed than before: So, basically, Nastya uses a spell that allows you to remove your own soul from your body, for 'safekeeping' if someone's trying to kill you, and then have the soul return to the body [with all physical damage erased] by using the spell again after the danger is passed. One could argue that this doesn't equal "resurrection from the dead," since the person doesn't technically "die"; but I would argue that's EXACTLY what it equals, given that the definition of 'death' is separation of soul from body, and the definition of 'resurrection' is reunion of soul with body. If Nastya is using a spell which allows her to reanimate her own, previously soulless body . . . then that is self-resurrection in a nutshell, since it's precisely what Jesus Christ did on Easter Sunday. And that, my dudes, is what we call Theologically Problematic. (At least from my point of view.) (hide spoiler)] Life is sacred. There is a reason we mere mortals don't get to control it. It should stay that way. Even in fantasy, I believe, it should stay that way. And Rasputin was horrible. Thanks for coming to my TED talk. *peace out*

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ivana - Diary of Difference

    Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest From the author of Fawkes comes a magical take on the story of Anastasia Romanov. The history books say I died. They don’t know the half of it. Ever since I read Fawkes, I knew I loved Nadine’s writing, and when Romanov was announced, I couldn’t be happier. As I have spend my childhood and young adult life in the Balkans, whilst travelling across Europe, I have always admired Russia, and always enjoyed reading all the theories about the Romanov family. As a child I would be told stories and fairy tales, I would Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest From the author of Fawkes comes a magical take on the story of Anastasia Romanov. The history books say I died. They don’t know the half of it. Ever since I read Fawkes, I knew I loved Nadine’s writing, and when Romanov was announced, I couldn’t be happier. As I have spend my childhood and young adult life in the Balkans, whilst travelling across Europe, I have always admired Russia, and always enjoyed reading all the theories about the Romanov family. As a child I would be told stories and fairy tales, I would watch the Disney adaptation of Anastasia, and as I was growing up, I would read history books and fiction on this very subject. When I got my hands on ‘’Romanov’’, I knew I would be up for an adventure, with lots of expectations, but what I never knew was that I would be blown away of how beautiful this book is! This book is split into two main parts, before and after the Romanov’s execution, but it is also split into the first being the historical part, and the second being the fictional part. Both parts of the book are quite intense, and very different emotions come up to surface, but they are both very powerful throughout, and fitted together quite well. In the first part, we are introduced to the Romanov family, and how they are kept as hostages by the Bolsheviks. It would’ve been much better if we had more details on the pre-hostage period, why the revolution began, why the king abducted the throne, who are the Bolsheviks and what they believed in. The book starts in the middle of this whole situation, and whilst I knew the beginning before, I am certain a lot of people wouldn’t have. The history, as much accurate as it was, also had a personalized feeling that the author wanted to give. I have to admit, a lot of the details, especially around the family were quite accurate. The family did stick together and loved each other, they did have secrets and they did make friends with their captors. Anastasia’s brother did indeed had hemophilia and Rasputin was allegedly helping him. However, the author decided to put her personal feelings into the history as well. The king is presented as a wonderful leader that cares about the people. I understand that we see this story from Anastasia’s point of view, and as his daughter, she is supposed to see her father as the best figure in the world. But I still believe this part should be more objective, if not from Anastasia’s point of view, then at least by the king’s actions and dialogues. The other big element that bothered me was the portrayal of Rasputin. He is shown in this book as a family helper and a kind man, when in fact, he was far from that. In the history books, he is described as a madman, a creepy person, and the king was not happy of him coming in the house. The family’s secrecy and the queen’s silent domination over the king, together with Rasputin’s doings were the start of the revolution, and I believe that it one of the required truths that this books should have included, but didn’t. And that troubled me. On top of this, is the Russian language used throughout this book. There were a lot of spelling errors, and misinterpretations. And whilst I can understand these words, many people can’t, and translation wasn’t provided in the book. Also, I really found this quote interesting, talking about the Russian culture, and how they don’t show emotions. Just a note – this is most of the time true, people won’t be nice to strangers, but actually, Russian people are quite friendly and emotional as well. ‘’We Russians weren’t required to share any amount of emotion we didn’t want to.’’ Apart from these few things that slightly bothered me, I really enjoyed this book. Anastasia is an amazing character, and through her we can see her love towards her family, her country, and even towards the people that wish her harm. We get to see her love, cry, be hurt, be afraid, forgive, and grow throughout the book, and her journey was magical. ‘’As I lay in the grass next to the spell that could rid me of heart pain, I realized that a part of forgiveness was accepting the things someone had done – and the pain that came with that – and moving on with love. Forgiveness was a personal battle that must always be fought in my heart.’’ I loved the beginning of the book the most. The setting was well-written, and I got the feel the same way as the Romanov family did. They tried to act as if everything was normal, when in fact, they were held captive, and moved out of their home. They weren’t allowed to go out in the garden often, and when they did have this opportunity, they enjoyed every single second of it. And they all had hope every single day. They kept smiling and stayed together. There are number of scenes that will always stay close to my heart – the relationship between Zash and Anastasia (as unrealistic as it might be), always kept me on my toes, his desperation, and his guilt, and her ability to forgive and love regardless. The brother’s illness, and his persistence through it. His motivation and his will to never give up. The love he holds for his family, and especially his sister Anastasia, and the toughness and not letting go. A few scenes were unrealistic with him, as I hardly believe anyone suffering from hemophilia can survive all those injuries mentioned in the book and the pools of blood, but above all – this character did achieve what he was meant to do – show hope where there is none. A wonderful and magical tale, with a history behind it of a mysterious family, especially their end – this book brought tears on my eyes and made me think about the power of forgiveness and love. A true masterpiece. Thank you to Nadine Brandes, for letting me be a part of her Ninja Team. Thank you to the publisher, Thomas Nelson, and NetGalley, for providing me with a complimentary ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

  11. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Hi, my name is Erin. I have been under the spell of books since I first met Anne Shirley at age 7. Some stories/periods of time I will return to again and again. I am not here to recover, I just attend to get more recommendations and eat these cookies. This historical fiction/fantasy standalone takes readers to Russia in 1918 where Tsar Nicholas and his family are being imprisoned by the Bolsheviks. One hundred and one years later, the tragedy of Russia's royal family still captivates many, incl Hi, my name is Erin. I have been under the spell of books since I first met Anne Shirley at age 7. Some stories/periods of time I will return to again and again. I am not here to recover, I just attend to get more recommendations and eat these cookies. This historical fiction/fantasy standalone takes readers to Russia in 1918 where Tsar Nicholas and his family are being imprisoned by the Bolsheviks. One hundred and one years later, the tragedy of Russia's royal family still captivates many, including this particular reader. I liked Romanov but I didn't love it. The story is told through the eyes of youngest daughter, Anastasia (Natsya) Romanov. Imprisoned with her parents Nicholas and Alexandra, sisters; Olga, Tatiana, and Maria and brother Alexei, Anastasia brings to life the families last months of life. Rich in historical detail, what has been passed down about the Romanov's and their guards is all there on paper. Nadine Brandes adds some dark magic and spells to push her narrative a little farther in scope. Now I have read previous books that discuss alternative history from Anastasia, Maria, and Tatiana's point of view and how they escape from their tragic fate. Aside from the magic that is new, I felt there was a lot of sameness in this book. The romances with guards, the Rasputin subplot, and the promise that whatever character has survived is going to live this incredible life albeit in secrecy. I wanted a bit more fireworks for this story. All in all, the release of this book is definitely going to bring the story forward to a whole new generation of readers. My hats off to Nadine Brandes for her dedication to getting her version of the story out there. I wish it had happened that way. Goodreads review 07/05/19 Publication Date 07/05/19  I received a complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    ROMANOV is a raw, real story, full of pain and hurt. But it's beautiful. It's full of love and light and courage. Courage to hope beyond the hopeless. It's the kind of story you don't just walk away from unchanged. I was blown away by the characters. Every single person who appears on the page, even if they're only there for a few chapters, has a heart and a story and a reason. They're like living, breathing humans. I loved the relationships between the Romanov family. The sister telepathy, the father-daught/>I ROMANOV is a raw, real story, full of pain and hurt. But it's beautiful. It's full of love and light and courage. Courage to hope beyond the hopeless. It's the kind of story you don't just walk away from unchanged. I was blown away by the characters. Every single person who appears on the page, even if they're only there for a few chapters, has a heart and a story and a reason. They're like living, breathing humans. I loved the relationships between the Romanov family. The sister telepathy, the father-daughter. It was all so pure and so real I could feel it. Nastya (Anastasia) was such a perfect narrator for this, and I connected with her so deeply. No spoilers, but the romance was beautiful. The story is an amazing mix of historical truth and fantasy. The magic system was simple, but I loved it like that. The different twists and turns of the story, the style, the author's heart in every scene had me hanging on each page for more. Some content warnings. I try to keep the spoilers to a limit, but enter at your own discretion: (view spoiler)[- One kiss - Several main characters are shot and killed - A character has to bury their friend - A character considers/attempts suicide but is stopped by another character - Other violence -- nothing unreasonable, but there are fight scenes, mentioned executions, near-deaths, severe pain caused by magic, etc. (hide spoiler)] This is a MUST re-read for me. I loved it so, so much, and I can't get enough of it. ❤ Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for my honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Candace Robinson

    This was an interesting read, while getting to know more about the Romanov family. The book is beautifully written with a family bond. I just think historical fantasy/fiction isn’t my favorite genre!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Xandra (StarrySkyBooks)

    The book spirits have granted me access to an eARC! and I am!! so happy!!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Serethiel ☽ ✨

    July 2018: HELLO YES I NEED THIS NOW NADINE IS BASICALLY THE BEST AND OH MY WORD AN ANASTASIA RETELLING???? *all the heart-eyes* May 2019: I HAVE READ IT. AND I HAVE THOUGHTS. AND I HAVE FEELINGS. Feeling #1) That. Aside. MIND. BLOWN. (Teach me your ways, Nadine!) Feeling #2) I A-D-O-R-E-D the Romanovs' family bond! It made me think so much of my own family. I LOVED IT. Feeling #3) Pg. 152. I still haven't recovered. *sobs* Feeling #4) Pg. 212 made me cry ALL THE HAPPY TEARS. /> July 2018: HELLO YES I NEED THIS NOW NADINE IS BASICALLY THE BEST AND OH MY WORD AN ANASTASIA RETELLING???? *all the heart-eyes* May 2019: I HAVE READ IT. AND I HAVE THOUGHTS. AND I HAVE FEELINGS. Feeling #1) That. Aside. MIND. BLOWN. (Teach me your ways, Nadine!) Feeling #2) I A-D-O-R-E-D the Romanovs' family bond! It made me think so much of my own family. I LOVED IT. Feeling #3) Pg. 152. I still haven't recovered. *sobs* Feeling #4) Pg. 212 made me cry ALL THE HAPPY TEARS. Feeling #5) Ch. 31. NASTYA, YOU LITTLE SPITFIRE KICKBUTT HEROINE YOU. solr hgb srogosos lsrhsgnlgh EPICNESS. Feeling #6) Romanov was SO GOOD. It wrenched my heart out of my chest and stomped it into the ground but IT WAS GOOD. My one complaint was that I didn't love Romanov quite as much as I loved Fawkes. Which IS preference! I just missed the immersiveness (is that a word?) and buckets of tears Fawkes supplied. BUT. BUT. Romanov was amazing nonetheless. The relationships! The forgiveness! Just... my heart. <333 Now what are you waiting for? GO READ ROMANOV!

  16. 5 out of 5

    R.F. Gammon

    "Let no one ever call you tame." THIS WAS FANTASTIC. I don't think it tops Nadine's Out of Time series (because that one truly is just the most fantastic thing ever), but it's still so, so, so good. Anastasia (or Nastya, as she is called in this book), was the feisty and strong-willed heroine we're all tired of--except she wasn't! She was so complex, and her drive to protect her family was beautiful. She was mischievous. She cared about people. She truly struggled with her desire to love peopl "Let no one ever call you tame." THIS WAS FANTASTIC. I don't think it tops Nadine's Out of Time series (because that one truly is just the most fantastic thing ever), but it's still so, so, so good. Anastasia (or Nastya, as she is called in this book), was the feisty and strong-willed heroine we're all tired of--except she wasn't! She was so complex, and her drive to protect her family was beautiful. She was mischievous. She cared about people. She truly struggled with her desire to love people, even when it was hard. The protagonist of a story really makes it for me, and AGH SHE WAS BRILLIANT. I think I liked Zash best overall. I love the conflicted male leads who want to do the right thing but also want to protect people but also don't really want to die. He felt so real. I wish we'd learned a little more about the things that made him tick, but in the end, he was amazing and I have 0 complaints. Alexei! Was! Awesome!!!! I''ll always love sassy little brothers, and Alexei just asdfkaghdafjdkkl. So presh. So sass. Much love. <3 Also his illness was handled so well and I appreciated that very, very much. The rest of the Romanov family was so precious and made me cry (oh, Maria...). Ivan was a sweetheart who did NOT deserve his fate. Yurovsky was a disgusting villain; Avdeev was just as complex as the other characters. I loved how character-driven this novel was! So goooooood! Also, can we just talk about how beautifully short this story was? It was only 300-something pages, which shocked me when I took it out of the package, but which, I think, is perfect. It never felt slow, but it also never felt too fast-paced. I loved it. My biggest complaint overall is how quickly the grief seemed to get sidelined. (view spoiler)[Like, I know they were running for their lives, but Anastasia and Alexei seemed to get over the fact that their entire beloved family had been KILLED way too quickly. (hide spoiler)] Overall, though, that's a small issue. CONTENT: Romantic stuffs: Nastya has feelings for one of the guards, but I never found it physical-attraction-based (HALLELUJAH) and it was very clean. One of her sisters has a tragic romance, which was very chaste and sweet and also RIPPED MY HEART OUT. RUDE. There's rumors that Nastya's mother had an affair, although no details on that are given beyond the bare rumor itself. Language: Nothing. Religion: This story is way less Christian-based than either the Out of Time series or Fawkes. The Romanov family does some praying as a family, and reads the Bible at one point (I think?). They pray to "Iisus," but beyond that, there isn't much theology or Christian stuff going on. Magic: the spells are crucial to the story. Most of them are "healing" spells that can fix someone's body in a very specific way. It's a much less intricate magic system than in Fawkes, and I found it significantly easier to understand xD Drugs/alcohol/abuse: one of the commandants is always drunk. The soldiers tend to be very appropriate with the Romanov girls, although one of them slaps Nastya's sister at one point. Violence: people are shot and beaten. Someone tries to choke another character. Dead bodies are mutilated (not in detail) and acid is poured on them. There's some pretty profuse bleeding, especially from Nastya's brother, who has hemophilia. I didn't find any of this overdone--it's hard to look at, but it's realistic and necessary. Overall, 4 stars, and totally worth the wait and preorder!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Luupi "The Reading Queen"

    29/10/18 I got an ARC of it!!!! :D I'm sooo excited 18/10/18 It's fantasy, it's about the romanovs and it has a gorgeous cover. I'm sold <3

  18. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    My copy of Romanov just came in the mail!!!!!😍😍😍 I also got a $100 wine voucher......I am praying that this book isn't too depressing!

  19. 5 out of 5

    nadia (( disquieting thing ))

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. lots of spoilers ahead, everything is a spoiler, even if you are familiar with the historical events, spoilers spoilers spoilers !!!! “You find joy in so many little things. For once... I want to see joy find you. Surprise you. You deserve it.” and i deserve joy, too! i deserve to love a fantasy novel about the time period that i am so passionate about, right/>“You/>lots I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. lots of spoilers ahead, everything is a spoiler, even if you are familiar with the historical events, spoilers spoilers spoilers !!!! “You find joy in so many little things. For once... I want to see joy find you. Surprise you. You deserve it.” and i deserve joy, too! i deserve to love a fantasy novel about the time period that i am so passionate about, right? while i might think that i do, Romanov is certainly not the book to give me the satisfaction. 3 stars, could not bring myself to giving it more, no matter how much i would love to. but let’s start off with some language trivia! good things first! besides, it seems like the thing people enjoy reading about. valenki boots - it would be just valenki [валенки], because it is a type of winter boots made of thick, usually grey felt. points for correct spelling though! opyata mushrooms - same thing, opyata [опята] is a type of tiny mushroom that usually grows on tree bark. fortochka - [форточка], a small window. i smiled when i saw the word. it’s one of my favourites in the russian language for some reason, and yes, they really are common in our houses. sidyet - [сидеть], sit down. while the word is spelled and generally used correctly, in the case where it is mentioned it would be better to use syat’ [сядь], as a direct request to sit the person down. the form used here is harsh, bordering on rude, and is normally used to train an animal, a synonym to “sit!” shvibzik - Nastya’s nickname, is actually not Russian for “imp”, which would be “чертик” or “бес”. it is a German word that the family is using. there were a few more, but they were used and spelled properly, so i didn’t mark them up. so, yeah, the language part of this book certainly provided. now let’s get to the good stuff, the real Tea, the, as the kids say, Beef that i have with this book, which is pretty much everything else. the biggest issue that Romanov has is, in my eyes, confused tone and subsequent misleading marketing. the story never feels immersive, because it struggles with the feeling of the world that it tries to convey. The Historical Part of Fiction the first thing that caught my eye when i opened this book’s description was the very first line on the top: a magical take on the story of Anastasia Romanov. the story that is as heartbreaking as it is mysterious and controversial, the tale of Nastya Romanov’s alleged escape and survival is something that has been interesting to me for a while now, so i went into this book with some knowledge on the subject. my understanding was that the author would be trying to weave the magical elements into her own theory of Nastya’s escape. which, admittedly, was what Romanov was about overall; my main complaint in this section is everything that precedes the events described in the book. now, forgive me for the pettiness that is about to follow! but i was under the impression that Romanov was a piece of historical fiction. and i like my historical fiction books to be a nod to real history, i like to read and feel immersed into the time period, i like to feel like me and the author are on the same page. the thrill, for me, is in knowing that i know the same things as the author does. Romanov was not entirely like it. there were lots of little things that were handled carefully, which of course i appreciated. i would even go as far as to say that the first 20% of the book felt like a russian to english translation: the character’s speech and behaviour was organic and reminiscent of those i’m used to seeing in russian literature. however, it all started going downhill from there, and my excitement slowly dwindled. as the characters unfolded, i started doubting the book. in historical fiction, it is hard to portray real people the way they truly were, as there is no concrete proof of what these people were like, and i understand that i’m entering the murky waters now. in the end, Romanov depicted the royal family in a completely different way from what i know and think of them. for example, same facts which, i am sure, the author is familiar with, could be interpreted differently, and that is all it takes to change the course of the story like this. the Romanovs truly were a loving family, and their love was what helped them survive the terror and madness that they experienced in the year of their imprisonment and execution, but Nikolai II was not the tsar that cared for the nation. not in the way that mattered, at least: it is a fact that he deemed his reign a burden and would much rather lead a much simpler life. he knew he was a weak leader. Romanov never addresses this issue, and while i understand that Nastya’s constant assurance that her father tried to do everything in his power to help Russia is likely her actual perception and the focus of the story is the family relationship, to me, it still felt wrong. with so many facts got right, with the author’s obvious attention to historical accuracy in those first 20%, i guess, i expected the trend to follow. but that is more of an annoyance than an actual complaint, i admit. it didn’t spoil the story for me entirely, just rubbed me the wrong way. what i could not get behind at all though was the figure of the spell master. Rasputin was not a kind-hearted man with pure intentions to help the royal family, and while it is true that his figure is still controversial, it is a known fact that he was a peculiar figure, almost a madman. although his presence allegedly helped the tsarevich’s health, he held the tsarina and the whole royal family by extension under his thumb. it was his tremendous influence on the state politics that concerned those close to the Romanovs the most, which resulted in Rasputin’s assassination. the tsar wasn’t just “wary” of him; he outright protested Rasputin’s presence. i thought it was worth mentioning, because the story would’ve been completely different had it followed the more historically accurate path. Alexei’s hemophilia is another thing that was just not a strong point of this story. no 13 year old would be capable of surviving the extensive and numerous wounds and bullets sent into their body, much less a 13 year old with hemophilia. reading about the pools of blood that the poor boy had lost and then proceeded to walk on his own with the help of magical pain-reliever only was frustrating at best. there were more little things that i will not be listing, because they all pretty much boil down to my 18 years spent in Russia, reading the literature and history and being directly involved with the culture. lots of things that the characters did and said would just not be said and done, because that is not what Russian people would have said and done in 1918. one thing on that front, though, that kind of made me smile was Nastya’s remark on how Russian people are reluctant to show their emotions unless absolutely needed/around the people they absolutely trust like friends and family. that, yes, that part is true. we would not be smiley and friendly to a retail worker, for example, it’s just not what we do. The Fiction Part, Then history facts aside, this book is about what happened after the impeachment and execution. and, well, magic. see, even if i were to brush off the historical part of fiction here, it would’t benefit the book as much as i would love it to. Romanov starts on the day the family is separated, with Nikolai II and his daughter Maria leaving for the supposed trial but being transported to another place of captivity instead. there is little to no exposition throughout the book, and i would dare to assume that the reader is expected to know at least a little bit about the historical figures behind the author’s characters. which is unhelpful, as we’ve established above already. some characters just don’t seem fleshed out at all (my biggest issue is with basically everyone except for Nastya and Alexei). even going into Romanov with no knowledge of what there people were really like, the reader is likely to be disappointed. most of them are just cardboard cutouts of real people. but, well, i quite liked the first half of the book, which focused mostly on the Romanovs’ time in the Ipatiev house. i felt the tension, the stress, the monotony and anxiety in the air, and i thought that this was one of the best parts of the book. if i were to recommend it for any reason at all, it would be for the atmosphere in the house in the months following up to the execution. but what is with the magic, then? it was pretty simple, and i wouldn’t say i was disappointed with it. on the last pages it actually even made me hopeful: Nastya brings back to life some of the characters, and the way the spells worked reminded me of the fairy tale magic that i know most western-european cultures mention in their folklore. i don’t know if it was dine intentionally or not, but it certainly earned half a star in my heart. the romance was just. really inappropriate, taking up most of the narrative while somehow being underdeveloped and shallow. Nastya’s infatuation with Zash felt forced, and to be honest, most of the time it read like Nastya was constantly trying to convince herself she was in love with her guard and executioner. i couldn’t get on board with that, i felt like there should have been more development aside from Nastya’s jumbled and random thoughts about him. Romanov was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and it left me disappointed. a lot of my friends are interested in the Romanov dynasty, and i could not wait to recommend this book to them, but that surely won’t be happening now that i've actually read it. with that said, 3 stars is not a bad rating for me: disappointing, but still enjoyable and readable. there were a few redeeming qualities that allow me to admit that i did not hate this book, i just simply did not like it. it wasn’t for me, and i think that it was, partly, on me: i expected this book to be more serious than young adult, apparently, allows for. in conclusion, i would like to highlight my main point here: Romanov’s biggest enemy is itself. having finished the book, i am still unsure what the tone was. was it a historically accurate retelling with a bit of magic? too many factual gaps for that. was it an Anastasia retelling? then i missed the memo (note: i see people calling it that in the reviews, but the description says nothing of the sort). was it a romance story? then it was a bad one. a story of the family tragedy? well, that, maybe. but the romance got in the way a lot. i wanted to love it, but i didn’t. although, i will be immensely happy if the people who read and liked it then went and researched the real history after. if this book accomplishes that, i would say it’s a success.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Elis

    time for a lisa review about this lovely work of art called romanov!! first tho, a disclaimer : I have never read anything fictional or nonfictional about the romanovs and I have never seen the movie/musical/whatever of anastasia so I went into this with a completely blank slate of knowledge and expectations, totally open minded and excited to let this be my first experience of the story. with that said, onward we march - :: I loved the aesthetic of the book!! it's really good!! and i time for a lisa review about this lovely work of art called romanov!! first tho, a disclaimer : I have never read anything fictional or nonfictional about the romanovs and I have never seen the movie/musical/whatever of anastasia so I went into this with a completely blank slate of knowledge and expectations, totally open minded and excited to let this be my first experience of the story. with that said, onward we march - :: I loved the aesthetic of the book!! it's really good!! and it matches the cover to perfections. there's blackness : brutality and pain and cruelty and death and darkness and violence. yesshh. there's gold : royalty and magic and great themes. and there's red: blood and love. this book would LOOK really good as a movie, I can tell you that. :: the characters were really amazing!! nastya, for one : I adored her. she was brave, she was clever, she was sneaky, she had backbone, but above all ... she tried to be good. she tried to understand the *enemy*. she tried to NOT HATE, to NOT LET HER HOPES GET DASHED. sure, she ... failed a little. but hello, she was TERRIFIC. her father too : if he was anything like this at all irl, he was a remarkable man. alexei : this kid had so much heart, he was a KING, even though he was 13, and I want to be him when I grow up!! the rest of the fam were great too : maria and nastya's mom got the most attention of them, and I do with the other sisters had gotten a bit more screen time so I'd get to know them because I'm really not remembering a thing about them. oops. and the other characters who were not the romanovs - I have no complaints whatsoever. they were just suited. :: I SHIPPED ZASTYA FROM THE MOMENT I READ THE BLURB AND I WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED. zash is great. he's a moody person - aka favorite sort of love interest in books lol IS ANYONE SURPRISED. if you're surprised WHO ARE YOU? anyway. I shipped. I loved shipping it. I was very concerned over this ship. but it sailed. thank heavens. :: THIS BOOK WAS BRUTAL. IT STABBED ME IN THE FEELS. << this is really good ok - I was feeling rather heavy and dreading impending doom all evening while reading this + when I was not reading it and just *applause* good job Nadine!! :: THEMES WERE GREAT. they were very ... high themes. like ... loving and forgiving. hard stuff. well done. I appreciate. :: the magic!! it was F A S C I N A T I N G. never seen anything like it. I was thrown for a loop and had absolutely no idea what was going to come next, especially in the second half. :: plot. some people say it wasn't so great cos it all happened UNDER HOUSE ARREST, but I'm like ... why complain? it was brilliant. I think it shows some skill ... writing a relatively boring event/setting in a way that makes it utterly fascinating and suspenseful and yeah I was never bored. and in the second half the action was just amped up by like 100% AND I WAS SO HAPPY. did I know where things were going? no. did I think it would be something bad? yes. was it? HAHA CANNOT TELL YOU. all I can say is, I HAD AN AWESOME RIDE. :: the ending (view spoiler)[ was so satisfying I'm amazed. I thought it would be a BAD ENDING. A SAD ENDING. A CRUSH YOUR HEART ENDING. but I was thankfully wrong. (hide spoiler)] :: and I just loved being in russia!! I know it had really little do with the ordinary life/ordinary setting, and was all confined to the imprisonment/escape of the royalty but still!! all the little russian-ness. :: THE SWING!! AND THE SWING SCENES. now you know I'm a huge fan of swings and swinging and I will never stop, no matter how old I grow. :: the thing that happened with the hair. #bigfan I know it's weird but I feel satisfied. :: ZASH. did I mention him already? I did? oh. THIS BOOK WAS SO brutal BUT ALSO BRIGHT IN SMALL WAYS AND I LOVED IT. (warning that it has VIOLENCE in it.) BUT HEY. I approve. wonderful historical fantasy!! Nadine does it again!! yayyyyyy ... can we all have a round of applause? *applauds*

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lili (@lilikmarcus) Marcus

    I’m not that familiar with Russian history but I have heard of Anastasia Romanov and I really want to read a book about her. That’s the first reason why I requested this the moment I saw it on Netgalley. Second, God I love the cover. It really is so beautiful and gorgeous. Just so pretty. (Please note that I am talking about the fictional book I read, not the real history. I will never comment on a history I’m not familiar with.) Anyway, let’s get on with stuff that matters I’m not that familiar with Russian history but I have heard of Anastasia Romanov and I really want to read a book about her. That’s the first reason why I requested this the moment I saw it on Netgalley. Second, God I love the cover. It really is so beautiful and gorgeous. Just so pretty. (Please note that I am talking about the fictional book I read, not the real history. I will never comment on a history I’m not familiar with.) Anyway, let’s get on with stuff that matters more in the book. First, the plot. I believe this is a Historical Fiction and I’m all for it. Like I said, I’m not really that familiar with the history where it’s based, so I really enjoyed navigating through the Romanov’s life even though, yes, they’re not experiencing good things. In fact, they experienced such horrible things, my heart really goes for them. The author did succeed at making this an emotional read. But, sadly, the ‘Fantasy’ side of the story ruins it for me. I don’t mind reading a Historical Fantasy but in this case, it seemed like the author couldn’t decide if the story should be Historical Fiction or you know, just a fantasy. It’s because the Fantasy element, ‘the magic’, seemed forcedly included. Maybe it’s just me but the focus of the plot is just too conflicting. There are times that I felt like two separate things are going on in the book. The romance too, it seemed out-of-place. I would’ve been okay without it and settle for friendship. The Characters are OK. I don’t really have any major problem with them. I like the consistency of the characters. Especially Nastya, her loyalty to her people and family and her playful antics. Her antics added some light, fun element in the storyline. I love that. Though I have one little issue about the characters. Actually more like about the narration. This is written in the first POV, with Nastya as the narrator, and maybe that’s why she can’t help but say good things about the Romanov. Like I said, I AM NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE REAL HISTORY AND COMMENTING ABOUT THE FICTIONAL THAT I’VE READ. Nastya, in her narration, portrayed the Romanovs as perfect, humble, kind people. They’re without any blemish and I find that too pretentious. The thing is this is fiction, so maybe at least give these characters something humane. Their sufferings are humane, yes, but their personalities? Nope, they’re perfect. The thing is the author made the Bolsheviks as human as possible. Nastya would say something like, they’re Bolsheviks and it’s not their fault that they’re in the other side of the fight. They fight for what they believe. I hope the story gave the Romanovs a little personality flaw the same way a good thing was given to the Bolsheviks. Lastly, the writing. Too many metaphors and simile. I swear, it’s like every other sentence is a figure of speech. In some way, I’m amazed by the author coming up with plenty of metaphors and similes with but using all of them in one book is a bit too much. Overall, this book is a solid 3-star for me. I know it seemed like I have a lot of problems with it. I do but if you look closely, I liked every element of the book, only I also found something to dislike in each of those elements. So 3 stars is fair. If you like Historical fiction with a bit of magic, this book is for you. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    m a r y l i z

    *deep breath* O K A Y. I wanted to fall in love with this book. I really did. But . . . to be perfectly honest, I never connected that much to it. L I K E S: - Family bonds! All the close relationships among the Romanovs were lovely. It was evident that they loved each other dearly and would die for each other in an instant. I always adore a good family relationship, yes I do. -The concept. Anastasia happens to be my FAVORITE Broadway musical, so the concept of an Anastasia retel/>-The/>O *deep breath* O K A Y. I wanted to fall in love with this book. I really did. But . . . to be perfectly honest, I never connected that much to it. L I K E S: - Family bonds! All the close relationships among the Romanovs were lovely. It was evident that they loved each other dearly and would die for each other in an instant. I always adore a good family relationship, yes I do. -The concept. Anastasia happens to be my FAVORITE Broadway musical, so the concept of an Anastasia retelling?? TAKE MY MONEY. Nadine did an admirable job of creating a spin on the Romanovs that was uniquely its own. -The historical detail. My word, the research!! You can really tell that Nadine poured a lot of time into the research process. One thing I really respect and admire about this author is that she attempts to "do right" by history and respect historical facts. Of course, it is fiction, but that doesn't mean it should skimp on accurately representing history. Which, thankfully, Nadine never does. -The writing style. Personally, I wasn't of the opinion that this is her best writing, but it was still poignant and evocative. -IVAN AND MARIA. My heart . . . I actually liked them more than the main couple. They were the absolute cutest. -The whole matryoshka dolls/ink spells thing. Okay, so I have mixed feelings on the magic, but Nadine is an expert at creating magic systems that blow my socks off. I have a certain fondness for matryoshka dolls, and the nesting spells were so freaking cool. Also, the ink spells just reminded me of how "magical" words are. :) -The characters (?) I didn't really connect to them that much, for the most part, but I liked them from a distance and can appreciate that they have a lot of depth. Especially Zash, Nastya, and Alexei. D I S L I K E S: -The setting. I know what you're thinking. "Didn't she JUST say she loved historical detail and that her favorite musical was Anastasia? How could she not love the setting?" The setting is not the problem; the seeming absence of one is. To be fair, this book is somewhat short, but the description is so obviously lacking that I could never quite conjure a mental picture of what it looked like. The vagueness of it all distanced me from the story and never gave me the feeling of actually being in Russia. Which is so unfortunate, given that the setting was one of the things I loved most about Fawkes and was looking forward to the most in this book. -The plot. I loved the concept, but the plot dragged. The blurb makes it sound like the story begins close to the execution, but in actuality, that doesn't happen until over halfway through the book. *scratches head* I . . . thought this was going to be an epic, heart-stopping tale about Nastya post-execution? But instead, the first half consisted of a heckin' boring description of their life in captivity. Another disappointment, considering the potential this story had to be extremely compelling. *sighs* I also felt that the magic was used as a cheap plot device to move the characters through the story. It was an "easy escape" for the characters and deadened any sense of urgency or conflict. Because we all knew they could just use magic to escape. -The magic was a little . . . iffy. Eh. I don't know. I'm still not entirely sure where I stand on the whole magic thing, so I may not be the best person to rely on in this area. However, despite the unique quirks of the magic system, it felt too "easy" and slightly boring. Characters could just speak a word and then Things Happened, which was underwhelming, to say the least. It didn't feel highly organized and wasn't explained very clearly. -I just never CONNECTED. Which is a terrible shame, it really is. I feel extremely disappointed because this story had so MUCH potential, and yet, it fell flat. The writing wasn't as compelling, the characters never grabbed my heart, the themes felt a little too "in my face," and the setting was fuzzy. I never fell in love with Romanov; I merely admired aspects of it. I don't know if that makes any sense at all, but that's how I felt. There was a disconnect in my brain that kept me from truly loving the book and for that, I'm really saddened. :( Especially in light of how much I adored Fawkes. It also was rather short, and in my opinion, would have benefited greatly from being longer. However, I still love Nadine Brandes as a person, and she's an encouraging light to everyone she meets. Even though this book wasn't my favorite, Nadine's passion and heart for others shine through clear as day. :) 3 stars

  23. 5 out of 5

    Faith (BookSelf ~ You Are What You Read)

    I received this eARC from Thomas Nelson (publishers) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of this book in any way. All quotes are taken from the uncorrected proof and are subject to change. No one could outshout a revolution. This felt like a bad flashback to when I tried to read an ARC of Dark of the West and could only make it a few chapters in, only this time, I could only make it about 1 chapter and then only barely. DNF at 7% My biggest issue/>No I received this eARC from Thomas Nelson (publishers) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of this book in any way. All quotes are taken from the uncorrected proof and are subject to change. No one could outshout a revolution. This felt like a bad flashback to when I tried to read an ARC of Dark of the West and could only make it a few chapters in, only this time, I could only make it about 1 chapter and then only barely. DNF at 7% My biggest issue with this is something that many other people will probably love about it, so probably take it with a grain of salt. The premise falls into one of my biggest bookish pet peeves: when authors take real life historical figures and fictionalize them, usually by giving them magical powers. I don't know why I hate this so much but I absolutely DESPISE this. Every time in Percy Jackson books, when another random popular real-life figure was said to actually be a demigod, I would roll my eyes and curse Riordan's name. This kind of thing honestly makes me think of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter more than it makes me think of retelling or immersion. The only book I've read that did this and didn't make me want to scream was Blood Rose Rebellion, and that's mostly because the main character wasn't a historical figure, as far as I could tell. This book didn't feel like a retelling, it felt like a behind the scenes with a twist, and that's not what I signed up for. Now, if the magic had felt well done, inserted seamlessly or even with some better explanations, I wouldn't have minded it as much. But it didn't. The magic felt tacked on. The inherent secrecy surrounding it didn't make it seem like a "behind the scenes", it made it feel like I was reading two different books: one a historical fiction romance, the other a fantasy novel; and they didn't mesh well, unfortunately, neither did they intrigue me. The other biggest issue, and the main reason I simply could not go on, is that I hated the writing. Not the deeper stuff - the characterization, set-up, or exposition - though those were pretty awful too, but the actual syntax, the writing itself. It was so pompous and pretentious, over-using similes (there are other ways of making metaphors, and metaphors aren't required every other sentence to make a point), and using passive voice excessively (which doesn't make you sound artistic, it makes short scenes go on for ages and makes me needlessly bored). This book and Dark of the West both somehow made 1st person read like badly done 3rd, and I hated it. Honestly, I'm just going to finish the ARCs I already have for this year and stop requesting new ones, and just stop reading new releases in YA all together, unless they're sequels to series I've already started. YA (fantasy in particular) has been mostly disappointing this year and I'm sick and tired of it. If the writing standards are lowering in traditional publishing, then their sales and fan response ought to lower as well. Seems only fair.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tricia Mingerink

    How do I ever write an adequate review of this amazing book???? It's so good! Romanov, starts in the middle of the tension. I was actually surprised at where it started at first. I expected it to start before the downfall of the Russian tsar, but instead it focuses on what happens when they are already under house arrest. Already suffering. And it works well for the book. It focuses the book on their final days, giving time to let the book fully tell the story of those last days of tension leadi How do I ever write an adequate review of this amazing book???? It's so good! Romanov, starts in the middle of the tension. I was actually surprised at where it started at first. I expected it to start before the downfall of the Russian tsar, but instead it focuses on what happens when they are already under house arrest. Already suffering. And it works well for the book. It focuses the book on their final days, giving time to let the book fully tell the story of those last days of tension leading up to the infamous night in July. The characters in this book are so adorable! Alexei, so determined and strong of will even if he isn't always strong of body. Nikolai is just about the best dad figure ever. I'm so glad the book focused so much as Nastya's relationship with him, even if it made the book all that much more heartwrenching. The sister-relationships were also so well done. And Zash. His struggles. That moment when he...(well, that would be a spoiler). Argh! Poor guy! I especially liked Nastya. She's my favorite kind of book main character. She can be funny and optimistic even in dark times. She still has very real struggles, but her strength comes from a strength of mind and a willingness to follow her father's example to be kind and forgiving even during times that are horrible and unforgiving. The themes in this book were so well done. I appreciated how the Romanov family's faith was so subtly woven into the story, yet also so fundamental to who they were. It made me hurt all the more for the real historical people who suffered these events in real life. I listened to the audiobook version of the book, and it was really well done. I'm not an expert on what a Russian accent should sound like, but I thought the narrator did a good job of using a hint of a Russian accent without making it sound too faked or forced or overwhelming.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Noa ☾

    ARC provided through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review Where do I even start ? I was really excited to get into this story because Russia + Magic + Anastasia… It just had me, you know ? The plot was very promising but the execution was REALLY bad. 🌺 The magic system : if you asked me to explain the magic in this book, I… can’t. I’m still confused because if I happened to be some spell master and I discovered that the only thing I can use is some spell ink that’s basically useless, I’d be V/>🌺 ARC provided through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review Where do I even start ? I was really excited to get into this story because Russia + Magic + Anastasia… It just had me, you know ? The plot was very promising but the execution was REALLY bad. 🌺 The magic system : if you asked me to explain the magic in this book, I… can’t. I’m still confused because if I happened to be some spell master and I discovered that the only thing I can use is some spell ink that’s basically useless, I’d be VERY upset. The magic made no sense to me, at all. 🌺 The plot : it could’ve been good, had it not been SO SLOW AND BORING. 🌺The historical aspect of this book was completely butchered imo. Now, granted this was NOT a history manual and trust me, it’s not what I expected from it but god, something as complex as the Russian Revolution cannot be simplified like this.It’s so much more than a story of the Mean Bolsheviks Attacking The Nice Royal Family. And I’m no history expert, nor am I pretending to be (I only studied Russian History for a semester). The depiction of the tsar was pure nonsense : he was not the ever-loving person he’s pictured to be. And this depiction would’ve been “fine” if we had seen Anastasia try to see BEYOND the image her father was trying to give of himself. 🌺I suggest you check out MischaS review as she explained really well the problematic aspects of the book regarding the history of the Romanov. Even though the author said she did research, I can’t help but feel like she either didn’t understand it or didn’t do enough. 🌺 The characters : they felt flat. I didn’t feel for ANY OF THEM which was a shame because it could’ve been different. (view spoiler)[ okay I did feel for Ivan, poor child who got shot because he got a little bit cheeky (hide spoiler)] . Here’s the thing : this book had a lot of potential but if you add up everything that’s wrong with it, it just ends up being a book about missed opportunities. The love story was unnecessary and SO FORCED. 🌺Overall, this was a huge disappointment. I did note two quotes that I thought were really beautiful but that wasn’t enough for me to actually like this book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sh3lly

    RELEASE DAY! Full review found at Grumpy Book Grrrl. Release date: May 7, 2019 Thank you Netgalley and publisher for a digital copy to read and review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    The Clever Reader

    This book was such a wild ride! From prisoner to fugitive to spell master, Nastya is faced with many challenges. She is the daughter of the former Tsar and now they have been placed in hiding and guarded by their enemy. When her father is taken from her he leaves her with a secret that could help save their lives. This story has so many intense moments that leave you wondering who will survive to the end! I enjoyed how fast paced this book was and the back and forth between who Nastya This book was such a wild ride! From prisoner to fugitive to spell master, Nastya is faced with many challenges. She is the daughter of the former Tsar and now they have been placed in hiding and guarded by their enemy. When her father is taken from her he leaves her with a secret that could help save their lives. This story has so many intense moments that leave you wondering who will survive to the end! I enjoyed how fast paced this book was and the back and forth between who Nastya can trust and who she can’t. The Tsar is also a very wise man who provided her with some great advice throughout her life which helped her get through her circumstances and at the end Nastya is faced with the decision whether or not to forgive those who have caused her so much pain. The relationship between Nastya and her siblings really shows the dynamics of the royal family, a dynamic that the common people do not see. I liked the people Nastya comes in contact with who help her along the way. I enjoyed this YA fantasy. I especially liked the magic aspect because it wasn’t complicated and added just enough to the story.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Tagg

    Whoa. Whooooooaaaa. 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍 I have not been this googley-eyed over a book in quite awhile. I don't even often read YA books...or fantasies! BUT I could not resist the premise of this one. I've been fascinated by Russian history since fourth grade and am always so intrigued by anything relating to the Romanovs...especially (of course!) Anastasia. And oh my goodness, I loooooved this book. I read it in less than 24 hours...I actually stayed up late last night reading, which, any Whoa. Whooooooaaaa. 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍 I have not been this googley-eyed over a book in quite awhile. I don't even often read YA books...or fantasies! BUT I could not resist the premise of this one. I've been fascinated by Russian history since fourth grade and am always so intrigued by anything relating to the Romanovs...especially (of course!) Anastasia. And oh my goodness, I loooooved this book. I read it in less than 24 hours...I actually stayed up late last night reading, which, anymore is a mega feat for this morning person. Things I loved most: -The history!! I really, really loved how the author wove in the actual events—and harsh realities—of the Romanovs' exile...right down to Joy the spaniel. :) I wondered how she'd tie in Rasputin and the rumors surrounding him and the tsarina...I love how she chose to frame those characters (in such a perfectly bittersweet, heart-tugging way, too!) and other pieces of the Romanov story that we can only guess at now. -The character of Nastya. She felt so true to her age—a perfect mix of impish and vulnerable, strength and uncertainty. Her journey toward forgiveness was so well-done, too. (I especially appreciated one spot where she acknowledges that forgiveness has to be a daily choice.) -Zash! Loved watching his struggle to pick a side...I won't say anymore than that. Other than, wow, talk about a great romantic obstacle between a hero and heroine. -The whole Romanov family...all their interactions...Alexei and Papa most of all! 💗 -And ohhhh such a roller coaster ride of emotions! The plot was jam packed—particularly in the latter half—but I tend to be a reader who needs great dialogue and above all, characters that climb inside my heart, in order to really care about the action. This book satisfied on all counts. And I just love how this story made me feel. so. much. My heart could barely handle a couple of the saddest moments in the book...even when I knew they were coming...TEARS. -THE ENDING! Loved, loved, LOVED how this ended. And now I'm just over here like, uh, hello, Melissa...why have you never read a Nadine Brandes book before now?! I super loved it and I super recommend it! (And I am super heading over to Amazon right now to check out Fawkes!) *I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kendra Ardnek

    I'm not crying. You're crying.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jemima jamir aka Sentranced Jem

    Title: Romanov Author: Nadine Brandes Genre: Historical Fiction, Re-telling Publication date: May 7, 2019 I understand that a lot of people are quiet on the fence about re-tellings but I LOVE a good re-telling. I love the imagination and creativity it takes to be able to wield and capture an audience and entice them into making them fall in love with a story that they already know and love or in some cases know and hate. hahaha. So, it's suffice to say that I am always on the lookout for a re-telling. Ever since I started this blog exactly a Title: Romanov Author: Nadine Brandes Genre: Historical Fiction, Re-telling Publication date: May 7, 2019 I understand that a lot of people are quiet on the fence about re-tellings but I LOVE a good re-telling. I love the imagination and creativity it takes to be able to wield and capture an audience and entice them into making them fall in love with a story that they already know and love or in some cases know and hate. hahaha. So, it's suffice to say that I am always on the lookout for a re-telling. Ever since I started this blog exactly a year ago, I've been fortunate enough to read a couple of re-tellings that I absolutely enjoyed. When I read the synopsis for this book, I knew that I had to get my hands on this. Romanov was such a riveting book filled with a fantastic, compelling story. It brought to life a story filled with a culmination of history, fantasy and intrigue. One of the things I loved about this book was the ability of the author to use simplistic words yet she (the author) manages to create the perfect atmosphere for the readers to experience every feeling that the characters go through. Before you judge me, hear me out. Considering the fact that this book IS a historical fiction its very easy to fall into the rabbit hole and use jargons to capture the 'true essence' of the time. Trust me when I say that I have come across a few re-tellings where I felt like I was reading up a thesis rather than leisurely reading. Romanov is beautiful. It takes you on a journey of fear and doubt, hopelessness and loss, hope and excitement. I have to admit that there were times where I forgot that this is a work of fiction and not reality. Romanov, written by Nadine Brandes has brought forth a new intrigue of mine towards a kingdom that ruled Russia. The story of the House of Romanov is fascinating and this book ensnares the readers into a spell that makes you crave for more information regarding every facet of this family. Once again, at this point, I must remind you know that this book, thought a work of fiction, was based on TRUE Life events. A part of me was hoping that the magic was real... Who knows... It just might have been.

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