*eARC kindly provided by Clean Teen Publishing via NetGalley*
I wanted this one because of that cover. Like, no joke. It's the main reason I requested it on NetGalley even when I'd heard nothing about this book. That cover is seriously so gorgeous, and I was hoping the book would live up to its beauty. But, sadly, this was so disappointing and I don't care about the sequel.
Rating: 2 Stars!
Why couldn't this have been longer? Why couldn't everything slow down? Why couldn't the characters and their relationships actually be developed properly? I know that the first book in a series typically introduces us to the world, and the characters, and the setting. But there has to be something more, something that makes me want to continue the series. There has to be an actual plot and character development. But I didn't really see either of those things.
I liked the main character, Sophie. I thought she was tough without appearing reckless, vulnerable and strong, and very intelligent. I liked the way she told the story, but I was hoping she'd be more involved in what was happening to her and her future. She doesn't want to marry Peter; she doesn't want to be in Russia. She's only doing this because her mother is relentless and her family needs money. But she's also only fifteen years old, which is probably my least favorite quality about her. It gives her a great excuse for some of the things she does. But to me, the way she talked and how she handled what was happening, made her feel older and more mature. I just wish she'd had some character development. It didn't really show until the end, when she made a brave move to ensure her future was safe. And I loved that! However, it took her so long to get there.
And the insta-love ruined the romance for me. This had the potential to be an amazing love story, complete with the insecurity and hesitancy of first love and the sense of desperation and urgency to be together even though it's impossible. It could have been wonderful. And oh, how I wish it had been. There were so many beautifully spoken quotes that I just wanted to highlight ten times over, but all they did was make me roll my eyes. I get that Sophie is fifteen and has never been in love. She's never even been around a bunch of handsome fellas (and she develops crushes on all of them). But there just has to be development, conversations that go deeper than what propriety would allow in that time, and maybe even a bit of danger with the sneaking around thing. I never felt the emotions between them; it was all just too fast. I wanted them to slow down; I wanted them to have an epic love story (star-crossed lovers and all). Sadly, though, the too-quick love ruined it all.
The secondary characters weren't as fleshed out as they could have been, and none of them really helped Sophie progress. There was her mother, bitter and resentful. There was Peter, controlling and possessive and a monster underneath that charming exterior. There was the empress, who was hiding a deadly side beneath the smiles and jewels. There was Sergei, the only one who made Sophie feel safe and not so alone. But none of their relationships with Sophie, maybe aside from Sergei's, were very developed.
The plot was another disappointing aspect of the story. Nothing happened and yet too much happened! I felt like there was no real plot, just random scenes and conversations thrown together to bring us to an ending that felt way too quick. Maybe that was the author's intent, given that this is a series and there is much more to tell. But I wish it would have slowed down. The plot had so much potential, and I felt cheated by the synopsis. It alludes to dangerous politics and murderous people. Yet this didn't have mysterious and suspenseful undertones. It was all very easy to figure out and didn't leave me with a sense that there was something bigger at play (which is what I felt with the synopsis). And I wish it'd been as richly detailed as I like my historical fiction. Speaking of historical, this felt very modern and not at all like the time period it was supposed to be set in.
The only thing I liked about it, really? It was like the quickest read in book history. I did want to see where the story-line headed but was not a fan of that ending. Queen of Someday had the potential to be amazing. But, sadly, it let me down.