ARC Review: Romanov | It’s Not What You Expect

ARC Review: Romanov | It’s Not What You ExpectRomanov by Nadine Brandes
Published by Thomas Nelson on May 7, 2019
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: eARC
Pages: 337
Source: NetGalley
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three-stars


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.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given, offered, or taken to alter the opinion forth with.

I was really excited about Romanov. It had a great start and the story moved along at a great clip, not too fast or too slow. The writing was good. I enjoyed the writing and I would read another one of Nadine Brandes’ books. However, I didn’t love this story like I had hoped I would. I don’t really have any other reason for that than I just didn’t gel with it.

I wanted to love this book. I wanted to be completely invested in Zash and Nastya’s relationship, but I wasn’t. If Zash and Nastya hadn’t ended up together at the end, I honestly would have been fine. I felt zero connection or sympathy I supposed for their relationship. I know I was supposed to but there just wasn’t that… fire between them that made me love them.

As far as the plot goes, I did not expect this book to go where Brandes took it to be honest. I couldn’t guess a thing. I’m not really sure what I expected from this book, but what I got wasn’t anything I would have guessed. Personally, I think this is a good thing. I was really curious about how the magic in this book was supposed to work, and I’m glad Brandes took the time to reveal the mechanics towards the end. After overcoming my initial surprise at how it works (which I can’t say because SPOILERS), I liked that she chose something different for those magical mechanics than what you usually see.

It was an interesting choice for the Romanov family to be so focused on forgiving their enemies and not wanting to hurt anyone, including their enemies. This was a theme throughout the entire book. It was a different and fresh take on a dire situation that you don’t usually see depicted in books, and I thought Brandes did that really well and convincingly. I loved how Nastya realized at the end that killing her enemies wouldn’t make her pain go away and that there is strength in forgiveness, even when forgiveness seems impossible. It was such a beautiful message and one I have never come across and any book that I have ever read. Brandes just communicated this so incredibly well.

Overall, I didn’t love Romanov but it’s solid book and if you’re interested in reading it I would recommend giving it a try.

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