Fiction Books, YA Books

Romanov by Nadine Brandes – Book Review

The history of the Romanov’s has always fascinated me, most likely because of the film which I adore. So when I heard that there would be an Anastasia retelling I was super excited! And I really enjoyed reading the book!


Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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

The story starts when the Romanov’s have been exiled and the last few months before they were executed. I already knew the history so I knew what would eventually happen to them and Nadine made me fall in love with her characters so it was really intense to read the first half of the story.

We see the story unfold from the point of view of Anastasia which was interesting to see as we get a different viewpoint than one that I normally see. We see her father’s abdication, exile and how the media overage looked from her point of view. She sees her father as a strong leader which is quite different to what history remembers him as. It made them more real past the history facts we know.

I spent the first half of the book on the edge of my seat knowing what was coming and yet it still devastated me. It was so much worse than I thought it would be and I really felt for Anastasia and Alexei.

I really loved how magic was woven into the story and how it affected what happens and was used as a way to explain how Anastasia could have survived. She was such a great character to read. She is feisty and outspoken and smart but she was also afraid and sometimes impatient. Alexei was another favourite character of mine, I really loved how his health conditions were part of him yet he still persevered despite all the struggles he went through.

I liked how the romance between Zash and Anastasia was slow and they were both hesitant as they were supposed to be enemies. It was left open ended too so we don’t know what exactly happened yet they were together. Even though we now know that no-one survived, it was still nice to imagine her finding a new life.

I just wish we had a little more in the ending, I just wanted more details and felt that it was a little rushed and I really wish we could have seen things from Zash’s point of view!

I think it would have brought more depth to the story seeing both sides of history.
Overall I really enjoyed reading this book! The way Nadine wove Anastasia’s story with magic was wonderful to read!

“It takes more strength and courage to forgive than it does to enact revenge”

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