Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Curse of the Romanovs

by Staton Rabin

Back when I reviewed Betsy and the Emperor, I actually got a comment from the author, Staton Rabin! I was so honored and awestruck that I promised to check out her latest book when I got back to the States. Actually, it was a bit more than fanboy enthusiasm. Both my kids have shown interest in the Romanov dynasty, so I thought this might be a book that they would enjoy. Well, now that I'm settled and got my new library card, I fulfilled my promise. I have to admit, sadly, that I was a bit disappointed. The Curse of the Romanovs is a fantasy tale of Alexi Romanov, the young heir to the Russian throne in 1916. He suffers from hemophilia, a disease which inhibits the clotting of one's blood. His life has been one of caution and anxiety, and his survival to the age of 12 can be credited to the mystical powers* of Grigory Rasputin. Father Rasputin has not only given Alexi the gift of healing, but has also given him the secret of following his blood line to view future generations. Then one day, when Alexi's life is threatened, he uses that ability to actually travel into the 21st Century, where he receives the help of a distant cousin. Now, unlike my daughters, I'm not into Russian history or the Romanov family. But I am a time travel geek. For me, the time travel aspect was where the story fell flat. Events worked out too quickly and conveniently regarding Alexi. Now, granted, it was only part of a well written tale, but sometimes that's all it takes to spoil the magic of a tale. So should you read the book? Well, I couldn't recommend it as a time travel tale. But as a bit of historical fiction, it had great characters and setting, as well as a big chunk of historical and medical information in the back. I certainly don't feel like I wasted my time giving it a read.
*Whether they and Rasputin are miraculous or diabolical has been hotly debated.

Alas, 'tis but waiting room material.
LibraryThing link

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