Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dreaming Anastasia (Dreaming Anastasia #1) by Joy Preble

What really happened to Anastasia Romanov?

Anastasia Romanov thought she would never feel more alone than when the gunfire started and her family began to fall around her. Surely the bullets would come for her next. But they didn't. Instead, two gnarled old hands reached for her. When she wakes up she discovers that she is in the ancient hut of the witch Baba Yaga, and that some things are worse than being dead.

In modern-day Chicago, Anne doesn't know much about Russian history. She is more concerned about getting into a good college until the dreams start. She is somewhere else. She is someone else. And she is sharing a small room with a very old woman. The vivid dreams startle her, but not until a handsome stranger offers to explain them does she realize her life is going to change forever. She is the only one who can save Anastasia. But, Anastasia is having her own dreams....


First Look: ***** I wanted to read this as soon as I saw the words Anastasia Romanov glaring at me from the tagline.  I watched the movie Anastasia many, many times as a child.  This has led to something close to a fascination, for me.  I read the Royal Diaries book about her more times than I care to count.  It's strangely disappointing to know that she didn't actually survive, because thinking she died is just so much more boring.  And yes, I was disappointed to realize that even if she had survived, she'd be dead by now anyway.  *sigh*

Setting: ***** It was okay.  I never really got much detail about the setting.  I couldn't really immerse myself in it.  Not much attention was payed to it at all.  Then again, most of it happened in Chicago, but still.  It would've been much, much cooler if it had been set in Russia, during the Romanov time period. 

Characters: *****
Anne had a really, really cool name.  Seriously.  The coolest name that exists.  It just so happens that certain writers of this blog are also named Anne....  Anyway, I was a bit annoyed with the fact that she shared my name.  I wouldn't have had a problem if I had liked her more, but I really didn't like her all that much.  She just seemed passive and bratty and stereotypical. 

The supporting characters were more interesting.  I was on the line with Ethan, we'll give him a break because his name is Etanovich.  How cool is that?  I love that name.  Ahem.  He had some interesting backstory, too, as did some of the other characters.  The story should've centered around them, instead of Anne.

And Anne's best friend--I can't even remember her name anymore--bothered me to no end.  She was incredibly annoying and unrealistic. 

Plot: ***** 
It definitely took the plot awhile to actually get going.  And once it did, there were some exciting spots, but I just didn't really feel the intensity level that could have been there.  It had all the right ingredients to be awesome, but it just didn't do it for me.  More time was spent researching and talking things over than actually trying to fix some of these problems.

Again, I think the whole story should've focused more on the backstory.  Like the Romanovs, especially the Tsar's illegitimate son and the young Etanovich.  That wouldn't been much cooler. 

Uniqueness: *****
The Anastasia thing was unique.  For a few chapters it seriously looked like it was going to be very similar to Twilight (I know, right?  In a novel about the Romanovs, too.  *headdesk*).  Luckily, it didn't go in that direction. 

Writing: *****   There was nothing huge that bothered me.  No big, reoccurring problems.  Just some awkward phrasings here and there, with a typo or two, if I remember correctly.  Nothing much else to say about it. 

Likes: Anastasia!!!!  Ahem.  Yep.  And Etanovich is just way too much fun to say.

Not-so-great:
The font of Anastasia's letters.  I had a lot of trouble reading it.  Yeah, it looked like someone actually wrote it, but it wasn't necessary.  It made my eyes hurt.

I kept wanting Dmitri to show up.  Yes, this Dmitiri:
But he didn't.  I don't think I should be surprised, but I'm definitely disappointed.  Which really makes no sense, but....whatever.  (By the way, I like his hat.  Why don't people wear ridiculously tall hats anymore?)

Total Score:
This was an okay read.  It presented some interesting ideas, with an exciting premise.  Unfortunately, the intensity level just wasn't there.  The characters really weren't likable enough to make this a memorable read.  If you're like me and the Romanovs tend to interest you for some odd reason, go ahead and try it.  If not, I'd pass on this one.
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