I absolutely loved this book. It had everything in it~ fairy tales/folklore, paranormal aspects, a hot guy, a hilarious kick ass heroine, annoying but loving best friend, a witch, NO insta love and a whole slew of problems. My kind of book.
I just loved the whole plot of the book. Its basically about Anne freeing Anastasia Romanov from the witch Baba Yaga's hut. When Anastasia's family was being assassinated, some magical brotherhood (this is where Ethan comes in) calls and compels the Russia folklore witch Baba Yaga, to save Anastasia and keep her in her hut until some girl (Anne) comes to save her. I can't say more without giving away too many things...sorry
I really liked way the book was written because the POV's switched around. One POV was Ethan's, another one was Anne's, another one was Anastasia's in the present time and yet another one was Anastasia's letters to her family telling of how the situation she was in came to be. Its all very interesting really and it gives another, although totally not possible, spin on the theories that say Anastasia survived the assassinations.
Now on to the characters.
Anne is simply hilarious. She keeps having recurring dreams that she is Anastasia her entire life (which tells Ethan she is the "chosen one"). She sees Baba Yaga's hut in her dreams and re-lives the assassination of the Romanov's over and over. A few weird things happen before Ethan talks to her and she basically thinks she's going crazy. However once Ethan informs her, she comes to terms with what she must do. I like Anne because she smart. She doesn't buy what Ethan is telling her right off the bat. She forces him to explain what's going on and many times she still doesn't believe him. And when she does she has the normal reaction that I wish a lot of heroines in paranormal books have~ she panics. And I love the way Ethan's so called hotness doesn't affect her one bit. She even asks him many times when he's trying to explain "Who the Hell are you?" She isn't all like "Ok your hot, so whatever you say I'm going to agree with, say ok and do it, then we can make out later and fall instantly in love." Instead Anne has common sense and realizes that although Ethan is good looking and she may begin to like him, that now was really not the time to be thinking about that. She needed to focus on saving Anastasia. At times she felt down right uncomfortable around him. Anne is also determined which I like because no matter how dangerous or life threatening the mission is she wants to complete it and help Anastasia. The few times Ethan told her she should walk away she refused. And she did it because she's genuinely good and wants to help Anastasia- she didn't do it to get the guy. Also her sarcasm and jokes made me laugh and made her a likable character as well.
I also liked Ethan. He is described as good looking with these piecing bright blue eyes. Ethan is about a hundred years old. He was the one who was told to say the spell that would call Baba Yaga to get Anastasia. So he was there watching the assassination. Ethan is immortal until Anastasia gets saved. Once she is saved he becomes mortal. He is kind of a wizard or witch I guess who uses spells and has magical powers. Anne also has these powers and he eventually shows her how to use them. Ethan wants to save Anastasia because he cares about her well being as well. Everything that the brotherhood's leader, Vicktor, told him was a lie and no he wants to right what he did....which was trapping Anastasia with Baba Yaga. Ethan genuinely cares for Anne and doesn't want to see her get hurt. Of course he gets feelings for her too but he doesn't let that deter him from his mission. Ethan is also sarcastic at some points which was funny. He is really a good guy. And I just have to include this part of a scene which I found to be totally hot-
"She may be yours for now" I say as I push myself up in one fluid moton. "But" I add as he fires again and a bullet lodges itself in my left shoulder, "I think you've forgotten that I've outlived almost everyone. Including you".
His eyes widen as I stride over to him. He shoots again. I jolt as the bullet burns its way into the right side of my chest, but I keep moving. Then I rip the gun from his grasp and pocket it"
Like I said~ hot
The other characters are good as well. Baba Yaga is supposed to be a mean witch but she wasn't so bad in this book. Tess, Anne's best friend, is hilarious and over the top. Some of the things that came out of her mouth had me rolling on the floor. Vicktor is an ass and he's selfish. He is an important character and very involved in the story but I can't say anything else because it will ruin the book.
I also loved the non insta-love romance. At this stage, Anne and Ethan are just beginning to care for each other. They only kiss once in the book which I liked because it shows that the romance was not the focus of the book or the focus between the characters. They acknowledged they had feelings for each other (no to each other but to themselves) but they realized that there were more important things on their plates. In the end, Anne even says that shes not sure what Ethan and herself mean to each other. Which is how it is supposed to be with a 16 year old girl and 18 year old boy. It makes the romance part at least more realistic.
I cannot wait to continue the series and see where the rest of the books lead.
This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews