Thursday, November 19, 2015

#Thursday Review - Loved It - Queen of Tomorrow by Sherry D. Ficklin (Young Adult, Historical)

Series: Stolen Empire # 2
Format: E-Galley, 280 pages
Release Date: July 14, 2015
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Sophie—now Catherine, Grand Duchess of Russia—had a tough first year at Imperial Court. Married at sixteen to Grand Duke Peter, heir to the throne, and settled in their own palace, things are finally looking up. As a new day dawns, she thinks only of securing her future, and the future of their country, during one of the greatest political upheavals of her time. Fighting desperately against forces trying to depose the Empress Elizabeth and put the young Prince Ivan on her throne, Sophie soon finds herself in the middle of a war brewing between her beloved Prussia, and her new empire. But even as she navigates the fragile political landscape, she quickly realizes that she has only begun to discover the tangled web of deceit and infidelity woven over the lavish court of Oranienbaum Palace.

When a strange and delicate alliance forms between the young couple, she glimpses a future of happiness, only to see it lost in a moment at the hands of those who still seek to end her life—and prevent her reign. Out of favor with the empress and running out of options, Sophie will have to sacrifice her own innocence on the altar of Russia if she is to save the nation, and herself. To survive, she will have to do the unthinkable, betray those closest to her and become something greater and more dangerous than she ever imagined she could be… a queen.

Queen of Tomorrow is the second installment in the Stolen Empire trilogy by author Sherry D. Ficklin. Queen of Tomorrow is a loosely based YA historical fiction about the rise of Russian Empress Catherine II. Catherine was the longest serving female ruler in Russian history (July 9, 1762-November 17, 1796). A fact that sometimes gets downplayed by the way she loved, the way she lived, the number of men she took to her bed, and the way she came to power on the back of a coup that overthrew her first husband. 

It has been a fairly busy year since Sophie Friederike Auguste became Duchess Catherine and married her childhood friend Peter III, who is now the Grand Duke and a slimy toad who has no compassion for Catherine, or their sham of a marriage. Peter has refused to lay with Catherine in order to have a heir, hoping that she will be declared barren by the Empress and then he can move on to his current mistress, Elizavetta. 

One should not hesitate to call Catherine out on her own instances of infidelity or hearts desire or wanting to actually be happy. Then again, when your own husband is a scoundrel, you do what needs to be done. What needs to be done, is that Catherine finally becomes pregnant by her hearts desire which is supposed to secure Empress Elizabeth's throne and the Romanov line. Too bad someone else had plans for Catherine. 

Catherine is a likable character because she doesn't act like a spoiled teen aged brat. She remains focused, she rises to every single challenge, including a really harsh scene that had me screaming. She's forced to play a real life game of Chess with Empress who doesn't exactly play nice. She has the will power of 10 girls her age. As she comes to understand that it is her heart, and her appeal, and her love for the Russian people, that will finally gain her the title she needs in order to live; Empress of Russia. 

Ficklin gets the era she is writing about. Oh sure, she takes her own freelances with certain characters, and situations, but the idea behind the Oranienbaum and Winter Palaces and their descriptions are realistic. Ficklin has taken Catherine's story, and added her own mix of court intrigue, betrayal, romance, suspense, and situations that I wouldn't exactly jump up and down for joy over. But, alas, this was the era that women were expected to submit fully and entirely to their husbands. Catherine's allies in this series have actually expanded from the first book.

I am definitely eager to read Queen of Always once I can get my grabby hands on it. I am eager to see how Ficklin resolves the issues she's laid out for readers. I am eager to see Catherine rise even further and avoid any further destructive situations with her so called husband. And, I am eager to see if Ficklin follows along with history by having Catherine fall in love with one of the new characters introduced in this book.

**I received this book for free from (Publisher) via (NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

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