Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Book Review - Dreaming Anastasia: A Novel of Love, Magic, and the Power of Dreams

Dreaming Anastasia: A Novel of Love, Magic, and the Power of Dreams
by Joy Preble

The Past
Anastasia Romanov was a daughter of the last Tsar of Russia. History tells us that the entire Romanov family was brutally massacred. But, in a strange and magical series of events, Anastasia is alive. Held captive by the evil witch Baba Yaga in an unknown hut that's in an unknown forest, she is trapped in a timeless prison where she doesn't age and cannot escape. She knows that somewhere in the future, a girl will be found that holds the key to her freedom.

The Present
Anne is a teenager living in Chicago. She goes to school, takes ballet lessons, and likes to hang out with her best friend - pretty normal stuff. But, when she begins having strange dreams of a girl whose family is murdered, things suddenly don't seem so normal any more. The dreams are so real and she feels a true bond to the girl. Then a mysterious (and really good-looking) guy named Ethan shows up out of nowhere. He and Anne seem to be drawn to each other but she doesn't know why. It soon becomes clear that Anne, Ethan, and Anastasia are all somehow connected.

The Past and The Present
Ethan is 18 with piercing blue eyes...his real name is Etanovich and he lived in Russia during the time of Anastasia Romanov and her family. Long ago in Russia, Ethan belonged to a secret brotherhood. As a member of this brotherhood, he took part in a magical plan that was meant to ultimately save Anastasia. He was granted immortality so that he could search through time to find the one girl that will be able to help him free Anastasia. When he meets Anne, he knows that he has finally found his partner. Now Ethan must find a way to convince her of her destiny. As Ethan and Anne begin to work together, it quickly becomes clear that they are in great danger and that things may not be going as planned.

My Thoughts
I loved this story! It has all my favorite elements - historical fiction, the young adult genre, and magical/paranormal components. The chapters are told in the alternating voices of Anastasia, Anne, and Ethan. I thought this was a wonderful way to let the story unfold. It really lets you get into the heads of each character and feel like you know more about them. I immediately fell in love with Ethan; he is this beautiful young man who wants to do the right thing. He's an old soul who just happens to be young and hot. The story moves along at a nice pace, much of which keeps you on the edge of your seat. There's lots of action and mystery. I truly never felt like there was a dull moment in the entire book. I love when a story isn't predictable and keeps you guessing on what is going to happen next. The magical folk-tale aspect of the story was so clever and different. I'm a big fan of historical fiction and I really enjoyed the tie-in of the evil witch, Baba Yaga, with the Russian Romanov family. I did not want this book to end, but I will say that I was totally happy with the way it ended. The author wrote a fantastic tale that had me totally hooked from page one and kept me mesmerized until the very last page. Loved it!

Note: Be sure and look for Haunted, the sequel to Dreaming Anastasia.