I love me some good historical fiction. Throw in some good paranormal elements and you've got me hooked. This book had both! WOO!
I was attracted initially by the premise of magic in Imperial Russia. History is my content area for my Elementary Ed certification, and Russia in particular. So I know the era. I know the legends and I know the superstitions. I love it when a book gets it right. This one got it right. It was a glittering whirlwind of social functions, romance, and imperial intrigue, just like Russia in the late 1800s. The Russians were very superstitious and believed in the occult and magic. I really liked that Bridges incorporated these things into her book.
I loved Katerina and Daryia and I loved that they were strong female characters. I loved that Katerina was determined to enter medical school no matter what. I loved that she didn't swoon over the hot guys (and in fact, had conflict with them) and kept her head in difficult situations (for the most part...one can only do so much against magic).
I really loved the story. I was so caught up in it that I read the book in 1 day and wished I had the time for another read-through. The book had to go to its next home after I finished, but no worries...I'm totally getting a copy for myself.
I loved the flow of the story. It didn't have any of the plot jumpiness that drives me insane. It was seamless, fast-paced, and awesome. The supernatural elements didn't feel forced-they just fit in nicely because the Imperial Russians really did believe in that stuff. It really felt like reading a really fantastically written history book. Weird, I know.
My only complaint?
I have to wait for the next book in the series. I don't want to wait. I want it NOW! And then the next one after that too.
I really, really liked this one...it gets a 'Pick Me' rating for awesomeness!