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Monday, September 1, 2014

Review: Queen of Someday by Sherry D. Ficklin

Read (July 19-20, 2014)

Book: Queen of Someday (Stolen Empire #1) by Sherry D. Ficklin
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Number of Pages: 262
Genre/s: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

ONE GIRL WILL BRING AN EMPIRE TO ITS KNEES...

Before she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophie will have to survive her social-climbing mother’s quest to put her on the throne of Russia—at any cost.

Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family—and herself—Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.

Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be.

In a battle for the soul of a nation, will love or destiny reign supreme? - (source)

Set in the time of Imperial Russia, the Queen of Someday tells the story of the Russian empress, Catherine the Great or Sophie before her conversion to the Orthodox Church. I've always had a penchant for stories set in this period. It excites me to delve into the world of ball gowns and court intrigues, that's why the blurb of Queen of Someday along with its stunning cover immediately caught my attention.

To be honest, I am not familiar with Catherine the Great nor any monarchial figure, so reading a historical fiction novel depicting them seems like a good excuse as any to learn more about the history of the past great kings and queens. I am aware that this would generally not appeal to anyone except me (heh) and a few others so let me start by saying, Queen of Someday will be enjoyed both by historical fiction readers and any normal people alike.

Ficklin manages quite beautifully to merge fiction and facts into one cohesive whole (I did my research after reading, sorryNOTsorry). It's impressive to see her skillfully interweave her own take at what might have occurred in Catherine's past life as she ascended to the throne. Her narrative made it so easy to get lost in the political intrigue and the romantic entanglements.

Sophie, as a character, is lovely to read about. She's sensible, intelligent and brave. She can handle herself with charm and wits or with a knife if needed. I saw her dramatic change from a naive, impressionable girl to a fierce, unwavering would-be queen. I ached for what she had lost in the process of acquiring a crown, but my heart rejoiced at her strength and resoluteness. She was heartbroken, yes, but she is hopeful that even after the cards she'd been dealt with, she would come to find a little happiness in her situation.
“Because I cannot win, I cannot have what I truly desire—it is beyond my grasp, I realize that now. It's sad really, to think that until I came here, I had no other dreams, no other desires but what my family wanted for me. I discovered my own mind and heart too late ... Fate has offered me an opportunity. A crown in one hand and a husband in the other. Even if I were to throw all that away, it would still not get me what I want. It would only serve to hurt the people I care about. I would be sent back to Germany in disgrace, and my family would lose everything. There is no way to win, but there is certainly a way to lose. My choice, what little choice I have, is not to lose.” 
Ficklin's writing is a marvel to read. The dialogues and secret correspondences were so alluring and exquisite that I highlighted like crazy to note them all. I also fully embraced the romance in this one. It was swoon-worthy, splendid and all-consuming, and like mostly with good things, it was terribly tragic as well.
“I will have what I've always had, myself. And I will have a lifetime worth of sweet memories to keep me warm at night. Don't weep for me, my love. Live your life in joy, and know that if I could have lived it with you, I would have.”  — Cue sobbing. *sobs uncontrollably*
Queen of Someday is an enthralling, romantic historical fiction. I flew by its pages and it was over before I knew it. It left me salivating for more and I truly think that's a mark of an effective historical fiction or any novel, for that matter. If you are a fan of periodic dramas like Reign, you won't really want to miss out on this one.

Cupid's Verdict:
 photo 4cupidsa_zps3b2346ee.png
4 Cupids

A copy was provided by the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.
Quotes are taken from an uncorrected ARC and may change in the final copy.

17 comments:

  1. EXACTLY my thoughts lovely Sarah! I thought Sophie was such a great character easy to connect to and at some point even impressive (like at the end heeeh.) Also, yes, I agree that the writing was quite beautiful. Impressive. And of course the cover incredible! I did an interview with the author if you want to read it, her answers are really fun hahah. Gorgeous review (as always!)

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  2. I love this type of thing: combining fiction and facts, alternate history, the whole nine yards. I learned a lot about Catherine the Great in school (us Euro folks usually do) and I'm curious to see how she was portrayed here.
    Wonderful review, brownie eater! This is going on my tbr list.

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  3. Beautiful review :D I also requested this book from Netgalley, but I haven't gotten myself into reading it yet. For some strange reason, the ebook the publisher gave me looked like it was formatted wrong :/ oh well.

    I'm so glad you enjoyed this book! I think I should read it now and find out too x love how you write!

    Jillian @ Jillian's Books

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  4. I actually don't know much about Catherine the Great so I think this one sounds interesting. I'll have to check it out when it becomes available :)

    Lol, I love historical fiction for the same reason as you: to learn more history but in a fun way. I always end up doing more research later on too if I really enjoyed the novel.

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  5. I'm all for historical stories and while I have read many featuring British monarchs I don't think I have read any about Russians rulers. I need to fix that and Queen of Someday seems to have that fine mix of fiction and some realistic things which I love. Also I have heard so much about Catherine the Great and I want to know more. I'm so happy you liked this one and great quotes. Great review, Sarah :)

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  6. From your review it seems like this book has a lot going for it. I mean, who doesn't love a well written story, with great dialogue, and a swoon-worthy romance? *crickets* Exactly! And, any novel that leaves you wanting more is a surefire winner IMO. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  7. I think you and Kure will get along very, very well ;) If I'm not mistaken she likes reading about Catherine as well, but she's basically a historical nut, especially when it comes to queens, princes, and princesses. Hopefully I get a taste for historical stories, but they don't really interest me that much. This one will be the first I'll write once I get to that though!

    Faye at The Social Potato

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  8. I love your review. Really, it's fantastic. I'm not much of a historical fiction buff(though weirdly, I love studying history), much less ones that include real historical characters. Reality mingles in too much for my tastes. :/ But I think I might give this one a try, even if the blurb does kinda sound very banal. I mean, I wish they'd get a bit original. It's like, the pubs have given up on them, write down just whatever generic bullshit.

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  9. Such a lovely review, Sarah. I think I would definitely want to try this one out. I find myself enjoying a lot of historical fiction novels. And I'm glad you did the research. That means I won't need to do it myself right? Haha! I like books that show me a bit of the past in such interesting ways. And I'm glad that this has a good female protagonist.

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  10. How have I not heard of this one before Sarah? The cover is stunning and I'm a HUGE fan of historical fiction, especially historical fiction set it countries I'm not as familiar with like Russia. I pretty much only know the Disney version of Anastasia's story, which really isn't saying much, so I'm really looking forward to learning more about Imperial Russia. Thanks so much for putting it on my radar:)

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  11. I've had my eye on this one, partly for the gorgeous cover and partly for the historical setting! I love it when an author can weave both elements of historical figures and settings without overwhelming the reader. I'm so glad you enjoyed Queen of Someday, and now I'm even more excited to check this one out myself. Thanks Sarah :)

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  12. I haven't seen this one, but it sounds terrific. I adore good historical fiction, and I am interested in this period as I know so little about it. I too go and do the research after I finish a book like this and I always appreciate when an author keeps it real.

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  13. Clean Teen publishing? Is that just a name, or is that implying that all their books are age appropriate? Wonder what the story is behind their name, the cover's a bit raunchy, but still beautiful. I'm not generally a fan of historical's unless they have an oppressive rule (then it feels a little like old school dystopian). This one sounds awesome though. I have to stop visiting, you're costing me a fortune in books :D Brilliant review <3

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  14. Wow, it sounds like this time period with Catherine the Great and stuff would be really interesting! Especially since it helps us understand the historical figures a bit better. So glad you found a great book that you enjoyed lovely!

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  15. Hiyah, Sarah! I am so sorry for skimming through your review. I also got this ARC for review. Yay, so glad to see that you gave this one a 4 star rating. Highly encouraging after seeing some mixed reviews on Goodreads. This would be my first historical read after 4-5 years I think.

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  16. YAY YAY YAY. I have this on my plate to review as well and I love that you and Lola liked it. Makes me more excited! <3

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  17. YAY!! I'm SO GLAD you liked this one :) I loved how Ficklin managed to craft such beautiful writing and mix in true facts. I loved seeing the change in Sophie from the innocent girl to the fierce ruler. We could see her slowly changing throughout the book. And it's all so heartbreaking!! And her poor love life... Oh poor girl. I was really pleasantly surprised by this book and I'm glad you liked it too!!

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

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