Review: Queen of Someday
by P.E. Mari 7:00 am 0 comments
Date of Publication: October 7 2014
Source: NetGalley- thanks!
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?
Queen of Someday has one of the most enticing covers of the year, and I was eager to read the story of a girl who could become queen.
From the very first turn of phrase, Queen of Someday's writing stands out as elegant and regal. The characters and descriptions are written in beautiful, proper English, in an almost poetic style. The tone of the writing matches the story perfectly, and it sets the lush atmosphere of Russian court.
I must confess that before starting Queen of Someday, I didn't know it was historical fiction. It explores a time I am familiar with, but a region and royalty I am not. I can't comment to how true to history the story is, and the author's note made it seem like there were some intentional differences. Either way, I enjoyed reading about the luxuries of court life.
Without a doubt, the strongest part of Queen of Someday is Sophie. Sophie is young and quite practical. She is fully capable of defending herself, and she is able to rule over others quite easily, even if she doesn't notice her talents. There is still some vulnerability when it comes to Sophie. She lacks experience and makes some poor decisions. She is rash and it ends up costing her. What I adored was the evolution of Sophie's character. She begins well intentioned, yet naive, and she is forced to make hard decisions and deal with the consequences of them. She ends up maturing and changes noticeably, yet somehow remaining true to the Sophie that recently left Prussia. Her characterization is subtle and phenomenal, as she becomes a heroine I can truly root for. I'm extremely interested in reading more about Sophie as she realizes the power she has and learns how to wield it.
There were some weaknesses to Queen of Someday as well. Sophie's relationships get serious very quickly, and it's hard to be as invested in the relationship as Sophie. It's also hard to understand why Sophie does what she does because I didn't understand why she liked or trusted a particular character that much. There was a major plotline that I wasn't on board with because I wasn't won over. If it had developed at a slower pace, I would have been more sympathetic. In some sense, I do see Sophie's relationship as a little realistic only because Sophie is so young and doesn't have experience. I'm not sure if the detachment with characters other than Sophie is what the author intended, because the storylines does end up defining Sophie. So, although the relationships may not make sense to the reader, that might the point. I just wish I had more of an emotional connection.
However, I have to keep in mind that this is a historical, which means that the author is in a way limited by what they can write because it must make sense historically. In a historical, this type of plotline is quite common. The only reason it's a concern of mine is that Queen of Someday doesn't read like a historical. It doesn't have the listing of facts and the journal entries that typically accompany historical fiction. Queen of Someday is a character driven novel, and it's fascinating to see how the author managed to humanize a historical figure so convincingly.
Queen of Someday is a book that will appeal to many because it is an accessible story with many relatable aspects. I didn't have an emotional connection to anyone other than Sophie, but I did enjoy the story all the same, especially the ending. It's a cliché but the ending did leave me hungry for more, and I want to know more about Sophie, a girl who is set to become queen.