Book Review: Romanov by Nadine Brandes // An Anastasia Retelling

Reasons to Read Romanov by Nadine Brandes

Hello book lovers!

Fun fact about me: I don’t normally read historical fiction. I don’t know why, especially when I used to love history at school, but it’s just not the kind of book I find myself reaching for.

A fantasy book based around historical events, however? I’m ALL OVER THAT.

I was immensely excited when I came across Romanov, not only does it have THE MOST BEAUTIFUL COVER that basically had me stroking it every five minutes, but it is also based around the history and myth of Anastasia, daughter of the last Tsar of Russia. When Nicholas II was forced to abdicate and go into exile with his family, who were later slaughtered, rumors began circulating that Anastasia had somehow survived. Alas, history has now proved this is not the case, but the story still continues to fascinate and capture the hearts of many (including mine since watching the famous animated film and studying Russian history at ALevel!)

I was so excited to see how a YA novel would take on this topic, incorporating it with magic and mysticism, especially considering the role of Rasputin in history as a family friend and holy man who had a ‘mysterious’ hold over the family.

So, did mixing history and magic make for a good read? Find out below!

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Film Review

The Hobbit Battle of the Five Armies Poster

It’s the end of an era. *Sniff, sniff.*
I can’t believe that The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will be the last new Middle Earth film I’ll ever see. Sure, I’ll rewatch them (probably numerous times) on DVD, but I’ll never feel that same rush of awe as I did seeing them the first time, nor the nervous anticipation. I felt collected when I first entered the cinema and found my seat, but half an hour in I felt a sudden, overwhelming panic about how NOT READY I was for shizz to go down, and for this to be the final part… and for all the feels about to descend…!
As the film ended and the credits began to roll to the beautiful melancholy song The Last Goodbye by Billy Boyd (mirroring his previous haunting song Edge of Night from Return of the King) my friend and I, as well as the other people in the cinema, all sat in complete silence for a good 3 minutes as if suspended in the moment, awed, with our hearts just a tad broken, not quite ready to let go of the hobbits dwarves and elves that had been our companions and friends for so many years. Continue reading

The Hills are Alive…With the Sound of my Bookcase Creaking.

book haul

Hello all! It’s that book haul time again. You know, where I begin to hyperventilate and go completely bonkers at the sight of pretty inanimate objects.
I have to say, I think I’ve been doing pretty well on the book buying front lately, while I gave up on my naïve attempt at a book ban a while back (which everyone but me knew wasn’t going to work) I’ve still been trying to restrain myself when it comes to my bookish whims. After all, if I had my way I would buy the ENTIRE store, and my TBR pile is nearing 200. Although actually now I think about it, due to my latest escapades it’s probably over that now…whoops.
However, a couple of weeks ago my second year university results came though. I discovered that I had passed everything with flying colours, including my soul sucking statistics course which was the biggie because it’s the only module everyone has to pass in order to go onto to their third year, and it was my one weak spot. Safe to say, it was a big relief! So of course, I chose to treat myself by buying a tonne of books I had been lusting after.
So, onto the bookish goodness. 😀 Continue reading

Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan Review 4/5

Overall Impression: Intelligent world building and complex storytelling at its best.

I don’t normally like this phrase, but at this point I think Thief's Magic by Trudi Canavanit’s safe to say that I am one of Trudi Canavan’s ‘biggest fans’. I was first exposed to her work aged 15 Since, I have bought all of her books, visited her at an author signing and followed her general online updates with a bucket of over enthusiasm. Naturally, I was looking forward to the release of Thief’s Magic in May with a sort of excited and impatient hysteria. A new book AND a brand new series? I couldn’t wait to see what Canavan would do with a new fantasy world.
So of course I was in a state of shock when the Little, Brown Book Group offered me an ARC of Thief’s Magic, the first book in the Millennium’s Rule Trilogy in exchange for an honest review. Holding back shouts of ‘Gimme, gimme!’ I accepted, and a pretty brown package turned up the next day. I raced though the pages of Thief’s Magic quickly, once again Trudi Canavan did not disappoint!

In a world where an industrial revolution is powered by magic, Tyen, a student of archaeology, unearths a sentient book called Vella. Once a young sorcerer-bookbinder, Vella was transformed into a useful tool by one of the greatest sorcerers of history. Since then she has been collecting information, including a vital clue to the disaster Tyen’s world faces.
Elsewhere, in a land ruled by the priests, Rielle the dyer’s daughter has been taught that to use magic is to steal from the Angels. Yet she knows she has a talent for it, and that there is a corrupter in the city willing to teach her how to use it – should she dare to risk the Angels’ wrath.
But not everything is as Tyen and Rielle have been raised to believe. Not the nature of magic, nor the laws of their lands. Not even the people they trust.

Continue reading

The Traitor Queen by Trudi Canavan Review 4/5

Overall Impression: FEELS. SO MANY FEELS.

(To read my review of the previous book from The The Traitor Queen by Trudi CanavanTraitor Spy Trilogy, The Rogue, click here.)

Don’t you just love how majestic and powerful this cover is? The whole thing is so slick and bold, I really love it! When life is stressful or getting a little overwhelming I always know that I can turn to Trudi Canavan to brighten my cloudy day. The Traitor Queen was no exception to this and felt like a breath of fresh air. This is the last book in the Traitor Spy Trilogy which takes place 20 years after the events in The Black Magician Trilogy. I have to say I was thoroughly impressed with how Canavan tied everything up in this last novel. Once again I find myself feeling sad because I have to say goodbye to so many of my favourite characters all over again!

Please note: For those of you that haven’t read the previous Black Magician Trilogy or the The Ambassador’s Mission, this review will contain spoilers about previous plots and characters from those books. However, this review will not contain any major spoilers for The Traitor Queen.

Events are building to a climax in Sachaka as Lorkin returns from his exile with the Traitor rebels.
The Traitor Queen has given Lorkin the huge task of brokering an alliance between his people and the Traitors, and Lorkin has had to become a feared black magician in order to harness the power of an entirely new kind of gemstone magic. This knowledge could transform the Guild of Magicians – or make Lorkin an outcast forever.

The Traitor Queen picks up right where The Rogue left off. Tensions within Sachaka are mounting and Lorkin has been given the difficult task of promoting communication between the Guild and the Traitors with the hopes of forming an alliance. Plans go array however  Continue reading

Quoting the Quill #23

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‘Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.’

 – J.K. Rowling (The Harry Potter Series)

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I’m not 100% sure if this is the book or film phrasing, but it remains one of my all time favourite Harry Potter quotes.  Continue reading

The Rogue by Trudi Canavan Review 3/5

Overall Impression: An enjoyable meander around the world of Kyralia that lacked some of the fire of Canavan’s previous works.The Rogue by Trudi Canavan

(To read my review of the previous book from The Traitor Spy Trilogy, The Ambassador’s Mission, click here.)

After getting to meet Trudi Canavan, one of my long time favourite authors, I thought it was about time I settled down with the next installment of The Traitor Spy Trilogy! I was originally planning on giving this book four stars, but on reflection I have changed it to a three. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Rogue as an escape from deadlines but as heartbreaking as it is for me to say, there is nothing memorable about this novel. Already its content is beginning to fade and it has left me wondering how exactly Canavan managed to fill five hundred odd pages.

Please note: For those of you that haven’t read the previous Black Magician Trilogy or the The Ambassador’s Mission, this review will contain spoilers about previous plots and characters from those books. However, this review will not contain any major spoilers for The Rogue. Continue reading