Beat Strong My “Mortal Heart”

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Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

Three weeks ago I had PRK done on my eyes. Tired of wearing glasses, I was willing to take the chance at blindness to not have to wear glasses or contacts anymore. My surgery went lovely, but I was confined to my house to allow my eyes to heal. However, this did not stop me from trolling on Edelweiss to see what the newest ARCs were. On Wednesday I literally screamed when I saw that Edelweiss had the Mortal Heart available. THE THIRD BOOK IN HIS FAIR ASSASSINS WAS AVAILABLE. Calm my beating heart!!! I immediately put my request into Edelweiss and sent a message to my library’s teen librarian, notifying her of its arc existence. Screaming like school girls on Facebook, we both anticipated approval. I was approved within 24 hours, and I downloaded that book faster than a gaggle of girls running to meet One Direction. Then, I did not nothing with it. My eyes were killing me and all I wanted was sleep.

Fast forward two weeks later and the teen librarian is about to kill me. She was not approved. Apparently, I was in the last group to be approved, as the publisher has decided to promote the book and hype up its release date. Lackadaisical in my reading, I barely made a dent in this mammoth of a book.  Realizing that my life was in jeopardy if I didn’t finish this book, I put my butt in a seat and started reading it. I was determined to finish the book before April 1st. Forget homework (something that I would later regret)!

Annith has been at convent since her infant days. Trained in the dark arts of Mortain, Annith has watched as all her friends, including Ismae and Sybella, be sent out to serve Death and his will. Annith, now the oldest at the convent, awaits when she will receive her first assignment. But alas, the convent has other plans for her. Livid, Annith takes her own fate into her hands and leaves the convent. She soon encounters an adventure that makes her question everything she has learned.

What I loved about this series was how LaFevers gave each character their own distinct voice and personality. Annith’s character, although one of the best trained at the convent, is very naïve. Unlike Ismae and Sybella who came from brutal and traumatic pasts, Annith has only known the convent. Her approach to the outside world is very different. Her actions and her reasoning shows a sheltered woman.

The only misgiving I had, but not really, was that I was able to guess the outcome of specific events and the identity behind certain people. This did not discourage me from finishing the book. I question if other readers will foretell these events.

Finally, I love how LaFevers interweaves a deeper meaning into the story. The biggest one I saw was that you don’t have to follow an organization’s teaching and instructions to serve a higher being. This theme seems to be a threaded among all three books. There are also multiple themes that would make this series great for book clubs.

Mortal Heart is a satisfactory conclusion to the His Fair Assassin’s Trilogy. It hurts my heart that I cannot anticipate another book in such an original series, but I applaud her for knowing when to wrap-up a series. Bravo!

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“If I am killed by one of your stock…your family will be killed!”

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been utterly fascinated by the Romanov family. I blame it all on the movie, Anastasia. My poor parents tired of hearing me sing “Dancing Bears and Painted Wings (the 1997 version of Let it Go)” took me to our local public library so that I could learn more about the Romanovs. I soon read Anastasia’s Album: The Last Tsar’s Youngest Daughter Tells Her Own Story and any other literature that told me about the Romanovs. Almost ten years later my interest in the Romanovs has been recaptured by Candace Fleming’s The Romanov Family: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of the Imperial Russia.

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It has been almost 100 years since the Romanov family was executed by the Bolsheviks. However, Fleming has done something truly magical; she has brought the Romanovs back to life through words. Superbly researched, ­The Romanov Family presents readers with an enlightening informational read that is not laden with tedious prose and overwhelming facts. The book furthers enriches it readers experiences by making them feel a range of emotions. I easily felt contempt, happiness, and sorrow throughout the entire book.

Fleming also allowed the personalities of the Romanov family to flourish through her writings. She made me label Tsarina Alexandra a helicopter mom, and Alexi a spoiled brat who probably needed a good spanking (if it would not have killed him). I also saw Tsar Nicholas II as man who only desired to be a family man instead of a ruler of an entire nation. I also felt utter contempt for how Alexandra and Nicholas ignored the needs of their people, and then a profound sorrow when Nicholas finally received his wish of a simple life for his family only for it to be ended by the Bolsheviks.

I do not give many nonfiction books five stars, but Candace Fleming’s The Romanov Family most definitely deserves five stars. I foresee it winning or receiving honorary awards.

 

Recommendation

18404173 The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra by Helen Rappaport

For those wanting a bit more detail about the Romanovs pick-up Helen Rappaport’s The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra. Do not be fooled by the title as the book includes an immense amount of information about the entire Romanov Family. It just leans more heavily towards the Romanov girls’ stories. There are times that the book does seem to get bogged down by detail, but Rappaport paints the Romanov family as an odd family who had strange ways.