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Queen of Someday (Stolen Empire) Paperback – October 7, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Upon her arrival at the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst immediately begins her quest for the hand of Grand Duke Peter, heir to the Russian throne. Marrying the prince will secure her family's lands and titles and save her from an unwanted marriage to her uncle. Surrounded on all sides with potential enemies, lovers, and political allies, Sophie struggles to reconcile her duties with her desires. This historical fiction tale provides a compelling, if fanciful look at the early years of Catherine the Great. A brief author's note outlines the liberties taken with the story. An entertaining, racy read that will spark an interest in the history of Catherine the Great, about whom not much has been written for this age group previously.—Sara Saxton, Wasilla Public Library, AK
Author Lila Felix rated it 5 out of 5 stars
Serena Chase, Special for USA TODAY
In this tension-filled series starter, the author draws the idea of a love triangle much wider, turning Sophia's desperation and sense of duty into an ambition to survive and thrive in Russia -- on her terms and no one else's.
If you like books with royal court drama, backstabbing politics, romance, and sexual tension, this novel will transport you into history -- or at least Ficklin's rather compelling version of it *winks* -- and leave you eagerly awaiting the sequel.
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Anyway, I can't describe this book any better than by saying that it was a huge, towering pile of a mess. Let me explain in a few words (or in lots).
First off, there's no plot. None. Null. Zilch, zero. The whole book is about how Sophie feels about certain people at the court. The whole freakin' book. Sometimes there're a couple of balls here and there, true, like a short horse riding outing, or some archery, but anything that would vaguely resemble to actual events is described only vaguely and in a nutshell. And when there is a conflict, it's predictable and so trity I want to scream.
Secondly, the writing. I might even be able to overlook how much telling the book contained, was it done good at least. Seriously, why does everything have to be gentle, soft, or honest? Those three words seemed to pop up over and over again, often at places they didn't even fit. Let alone, the spelling errors on nearly very page or so, albeit that's more of an editing problem than a writing one.
The characters. I could have very well liked Sophie. She was fierce and clever, wise even, at the beginning of the book. But as the book progressed, I didn't get to know her better at all. As I've already mentioned, there wasn't much action of any kind for the most part. And when something happened it related closely to people, only to people, and we only found out what she was thinking about them. But between those times, we don't get any insight to Sophie's thinking. Her thoughts. Her preferences. Anything. That made her distant after a while.
Another one of my peeves was the Empress, but that is a bit of a spoiler so I'll put out the tag. Better be safe than sorry and all that jazz.
Last, but not the least, there are just no words how disappointed I am right now. I just don't know how I even went through with the book and didn't put it down halfway through.
I have been very lucky to enjoy the books I have been reading lately, but this book is awesome. It is so well written that if I could, I would take sick days, burrow in my covers and read til I couldn't any longer. This book is that good!!! No joke. I am so sad I have other books to read and cannot stop to read the second one, but it has moved up the list of books I want to read, very fast.
It is based loosely on the formative years of Queen Elizabeth and what it takes to become a truly tyrannical queen. I can see how the princess, queen to be, could easily transform from a sweet, innocent girl to a merciless queen in Book One.
Sophie is instantly a great character because she is strong, smart and not afraid to take on the world to save those she loves. She is pushed into a life she is not sure she wants, but must go after to help her family. She is beautiful and skillful with weapons. She is also very kind so she makes friends fast, yet she also creates animosity because she is liked so fast. Kindness can be a weakness too. Sophie learns real fast to keep her secrets to herself. Unfortunately for her, she falls head over heels in love.
The prince is a man who she knew growing up as a child, so going to possibly marry him, may be easier than she thinks. He is however, a king, so he is spoiled and uses women to his liking.
Sophie has so many wonderful experiences at court from learning Russian to private "woman" lessons where she learns to use her wiles to seduce and conquer. She builds a trustworthy circle of friends, but this can become precarious as court is deadly because the queen will do anything to know everything that is happening.
I cannot believe how good this book was. I could see it happening while I read it and then continued to read the information left by Sherry Ficklin. Just way cool. So excited to read the second book in the series!!
Break my heart, this romance is lovely, twisted, and an all-out ball. (And by ball, I mean a big fancy dance in a ballroom.) I had a feeling I was going to love this story, especially after reading the author’s pre-word. It was hilarious, and her humor definitely worked its way into the novel as well. Sophie is bright, determined, and also in a terrible position for anyone, let alone anyone her age, but she handles it in a way that is believable, entertaining, and as gracefully as a girl in a gown with a knife can be. The one-liners are priceless too. I was outlining a quote every other page (and squealing with delight). If you love romance—and you’re not bothered by historical inaccuracies—you will love this book. It’s a guilty pleasure, a royal delight, and I definitely didn’t know what would happen next (or with who ::insert wink::). On a side note, it was refreshing to see a book where a girl uses her sexuality as a weapon. It’s not very often you see something like that. It’s normally a knife or her brain, and while Sophie does use her knife and her brain (awesome), it is refreshing to see a young girl’s sexuality explored in a way that isn’t patronizing, despite the time of the novel. A bold move that worked out VERY well. I was glad to see it. Queen of Someday is a very quick read, but is sure to stay with you for a long time.
Recommended to: Readers of historical romance (who don’t mind historical inaccuracies, which is something the author addresses herself twice.), anyone looking for a guilty pleasure romance, and fans of The Selection Series.
Favorite Quote: “When waging a war of the heart, you must only fight if you are absolutely sure you can win.”