Holy shit, this cover, are you trying to kill me with your beauty?!?
I need this. Now. PREORDERING.
Actual rating 4.5 stars. Review to come.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1st Dec
Ok, actual rating 4.75 stars.... Oh who am I kidding? 5 STARS! (funnily enough I just typoed that and wrote tsars... people who've read the book will get it). Five big fat yellow stars.
This is the next level of Claudia Gray's writing. This is it, she's stepped it up, raised the bar. Anything she writes from now on I'm going to be pre-ordering and practically tearing from her typewriter (I was like this anyway, but after A Thousand Pieces of You, even more so). I am now going to attempt to break down my ramblings into small conscise sections (watch how quickly this idea deteriorates). The Cover
I know I've prattled on about the cover to anyone who will listen. But seriously, after reading the book, I am even more impressed at the designer of it. The cover is stunning, glorious, eye-catching and everything you want in a book cover. But it's also more
than that. The two cities mirrored in each other and the splash of watercolour behind it relates directly to the story!
I really shouldn't be this amazed at the concept, but after having to design my own covers, I know what it's like trying to keep relevance to the book whilst also making it as beautiful as possible. I applaud the cover designer 1000x over for achieving this masterpiece.Characters
Theo, Marguerite and Paul are our main three. Then we have smaller, minor characters that I don't think I could list so I won't try. Marguerite got a little annoying in place, but it tied in with how her character was portrayed so I won't remove any points from that. Theo was always slightly suspicious and Paul was always steadfast and stoic. I can't really say too much about them without giving away the story, as it is very character based.Plot
I was well onboard with the plot until the end, where it got a tad confusing but that could've been due to finishing my NaNo just before beginning to read the last third of the book. It was sufficiently eerie at the end of the book, characters behaved just the way I wanted them to. Marguerite had certainly grown throughout the book, as evidenced by two defining actions at the end ditching Theo and leaving their submarine via the escape pod. Seriously, would've taken guts for her to turn her back on someone who looked exactly like her friend. Also not ending up with Paul in the end, coz she was still hung up on Lieutenant Markov, but agreeing to give Paul a chance. It wasn't the fairytale ending I was getting ready to hate, but I also liked Paul too much that I wouldn't have liked it if Marguerite had told him flat out no. I sense the author knew this and plotted accordingly.
I could say a lot more, but I'm going to leave it with saying that I cannot wait for the second in this series. Highly recommend to all readers.
And one last thing:
This is probably my main gripe with the book. The way Marguerite really screwed over her other self in Russia. Getting with the guy the other her had been in love with, sleeping with him and risking pregnancy (also probably leaving her without any memory of doing the deed, which just sucks, to be honest) and then witnessing his death and mourning in her stead. She literally took everything Russian Marguerite had been dreaming of and then dumped her back in the middle of this horrible situation, where she was about to be married off to the Prince of Wales. Just sayin', if they found out the Grand Duchess wasn't a virgin, it could create a shitton of strife. But our Marguerite was like... well... your Paul's dead. Off to chase mine now! Hope you're not preggers, jk lol, not kidding. Bye!
Is it possible to screw yourself over? Well apparently it is. This has seriously been bothering me since finishing the book.
Also I kind've would've liked to see some more of that Russia after Marguerite left. I know it was virtually impossible, as the book's written in first person, but I got really attached to the characters, the setting and the politics of that dimension. I was actually pretty sad when she jumped out of it.
Well, time to start waiting for the next book.