• Type: Books
  • By: Nadine Brandes
  • Age Category: Teens
  • Genre: Sci Fi/Fantasy/Horror
  • Recommended by: Tom S.
  • ISBN/UPC: 9780785217244
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Princess Anastasia fights Bolshevik terror with a magical matryoshka doll

This book begins with historical fact – the arrest and imprisonment of Tsar Nicholas II and his family during the Russian Revolution – and takes off into speculative fiction featuring Grand Duchess Anastasia and her efforts to become a ‘spell master’ with the ability to heal her brother Alexei’s hemophilia.  Interestingly, the author also takes material that lies somewhere between fact and fiction and integrates it into the story.  For example, the persistent legend that Anastasia and Alexei somehow survived the execution of the rest of the family (which has been disproven through forensic science) becomes an important plot point.  Here, Anastasia saves herself and her brother by using spells carried by an ordinary-looking matryoshka doll.  And the reported ability of sketchy holy man Rasputin to treat Alexei’s hemorrhaging?  Simple, says our narrator Anastasia – Rasputin was a spell master.
Though there’s plenty of violence and death to go around, it’s nonetheless entertaining to see semi-pampered Anastasia switch into superhero mode.   She engages in hand-to-hand fighting, wields firearms, rides horseback like a Cossack, and helps carry her brother through miles of Russian forest.
Seasoned with a little romance and a touch of Russian Orthodox spirituality, this is a readable historical fantasy about the wildest Romanov sister.