Review: Tsarina

Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick
Release Date ~ February 27, 2014
Razorbill ~ Penguin
ISBN13: 9781595146939
ARC received from Penguin Canada for review 

Goodreads Synopsis:
Natalya knows a secret.
A magical Faberge egg glows within the walls of Russia's Winter Palace.
It holds a power rooted in the land and stolen from the mystics.
A power that promises a life of love for her and Alexei Romanov.
Power, that, in the right hands, can save her way of life.
But it's not in the right hands.

When I was younger and became a voracious reader all on my own, it was historical fiction which captured my attention. One book in particular was Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess from The Royal Diaries collection. And then I went through a phase where I read every book about Anastasia Romanov that I could get my hands on!

I was thrilled when I first heard about Tsarina's upcoming release. As I read it, I was incredibly pleased with the story Jackson Pearce (under the pen name J. Nelle Patrick) created for a fascinating historical character and event.

  1. Writing with rich details:

    Jackson's writing in Tsarina is STELLAR. I'm wary of books bogged down in too much detail, but there is a perfect balance here which painted a breathtaking picture in my mind for the setting. The storytelling in Tsarina completely swept me away!
  2. The sweetest love story:

    It was interesting starting the book with the romance already intact - so many stories explore the build up to a relationship, but Natalya and Alexei are already together and looking to the future. This adds such a different perspective from other YA books, plus the love story is kind of the grounding element for this book. This provides Natalya's motivation for most of the book. And yet, it's so difficult watching it all unfold!
  3. A magical, historical re-imagining:

    Historical fiction always takes some artistic liberties with filling in some knowledge gaps or changing certain details - but I hesitate to call Tsarina true historical fiction. It does follow a very important period in Russia's history, however it truly felt to me more like a fanciful re-imagining of this event rather than true historical fiction. 
The only thing I didn't love about Tsarina was the ending - it felt like such a stretch to me after reading through the whole book. I just wasn't happy with the closure we were given! Partially because it isn't what I wanted but the rest of the story didn't convince me that this is how the characters would respond to the situation they were put in. 

But this is a perfect read for those looking for a swoonworthy, heart-wrenching love story and a little bit of magic in a tragic time. It's a story many of us are familiar with, but with its own unique twist. 


ChristasBooks said...

I love this period of Russian history so I'm happy to hear this is worth reading. Going on the wishlist!

Jacquelynne said...

Oh I am ALWAYS looking for a swoon-worthy romance :P You'd think with all the romance I read I'd have a constant love struck look on my face, lol! Anyway! I knew this book would be a delicously cute read when I first came across it - and you've confirmed that :) Wonderful review Brenna! I love the balance that happens with the magical vs. historical, with the limited detail to just that right amount, and even the romance seems to have some balance as well! Your reviews are always so thoughtful and ideal for people looking for a confirmation of how amazing this book will be OR if they're humming and hawing about if they should choose "this" or "that" - just wonderful!

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