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review 2018-04-21 19:17
I Was Anastasia
I Was Anastasia - Ariel Lawhon

I Was Anastasia

 

Ariel Lawhon, 2018

 

 

In 1918, after being overthrown and imprisoned by the Bolshevicks, the Tsar and his family were taken into a basement in Ekaterinburg and murdered. This included the Tsar, his wife, his son, his four daughters, and four members of their staff. No one survived... or did they? Rumors spread that the youngest daughter, Anastasia, survived the attack. In 1920, a woman is pulled from a canal in Berlin. Covered in scars, she at first refuses to identify herself, but eventually claims to be Anastasia herself. This is the story of both Anastasia as a child and of the woman known as Anna Anderson, and about the mystery that surrounded them.

 

I'm going to try and do this review without any major spoilers.

 

First of all, I want to talk about the structure of the book, which is really the only thing I had an issue with, although I'm not sure how I would have done it differently. The chapters alternate, with one telling the story of Anastasia from the point where the Bolshevicks begin their rebellion and overthrow of the imperial family, through to the point of the execution. The other chapters are told from the point of view of Anna Anderson, starting in 1970 when the courts are ruling about whether or not they believe her claim, and work backward from there to 1918. This is the point where I had some trouble. I want to say that I think it was probably the right way to tell this book, allowing for the two stories to meet in the middle, but I sometimes found it hard to follow. A chapter would introduce a character and I would know I had heard the name before, but couldn't always remember the details. I think my problem might have stemmed more from the fact that I didn't read this book straight through - the last 100 pages or so I read in a much shorter span of time and had no trouble keeping characters straight. So I definitely recommend just reading this one through and not taking your time with it. In general I'm not always a huge fan of weird timelines like this, but while I didn't necessarily love reading it this way, it definitely made the most sense for the book. I don't think it would have worked otherwise. 

 

Second, the plot. Now, anyone who knows any Anastasia Romanov history knows that the woman named Anna Anderson is a real person and really did claim to be Anastasia, but that it was later proved that she was not Anastasia - Anastasia unfortunately died with the rest of her family in 1918. This is not a spoiler. This is actual historical fact. What I didn't know going into this book - and what I won't reveal in this review - is how the author was going to use these facts. Was she presenting the book as an actual true account, or was she using these real people and writing a fictional account: "What if Anna Anderson really was Anastasia?" I didn't know. Which made the book interesting (and which is why I'm not revealing it here.) All I will say is that when the two stories reach their conclusion in 1918, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. 

 

Overall, I'm not quite sure how to rate this book. I found the plot to be enjoyable as a whole. I much preferred the Anastasia chapters to the Anna chapters, however. I thought that, at times, the Anna story dragged a bit - it covered a large number of years, but not a whole lot happened. They weren't bad, and they were well written, I just found that overall I found Anna's timeline more interesting and kept wanting to get back to it. I did find the book as a whole to be well-written and well-researched, though, and overall I liked it, even though there were a few chapters that dragged and despite my initial problems with following the reverse timeline. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Anastasia story or who enjoys historical fiction.

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review 2018-03-28 18:06
I Was Anastasia - Ariel Lawhon

This story was pretty much written backwards with Anastasia's early life thrown in as you read along.

I was mesmerized by this story. A lost princess, one who was originally thought dead. One that caused quite a bit of controversy over her life. It was amazing to me, how complete strangers would take her in just because they thought she was Anastasia even when the royal palace confirmed that she wasn't.

Her story sounded so real, I wanted to believe it. The author gives you a little background at the beginning and leaves it to the reader to decide whether to believe this woman claiming to be "Anastasia". I want to believe it, because I want something good to come out of the suffering her family felt. However, logic makes you wonder.

This was an absolutely excellent read that I could not put down!

Thanks to Doubleday Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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review 2018-03-01 15:30
Eh...
Black Panther: Soul Of A Machine (2017) #1 Kindle & comiXology - Fabian Nicieza,Ariel Olivetti,Andrea DiVito

It's not that I dislike this character, or plot.   It's just that it didn't grab me as much as I'd hoped, even with the virtual reality aspect.   Then again, this is twelve pages, and an eight part series, so I don't understand why they couldn't have done four books at twice the length.   I didn't download the rest of the series at the time - even though it was free - and I just did today as I was reminded that, hey, it existed as a freebie.   

 

 

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review 2018-02-25 17:55
OK, no rules, but maybe some guardrails?
The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir - Ariel Levy

 

Ariel Levy has not had an easy time of it when she writes this book. My heart went out to her, and I respected her ability to form a sentence, let alone write a book after the horrible loss she endured.

 

It's hard to review these things. She does a remarkable job of explaining the loss of her child. It's truly moving. I wish she had stuck to just that event and the relationships formed around that child and the loss. It's so much more important than many of the other things that fill up this book. While her career might be of interest, it doesn't fit here, and it's why I never felt allowed to fully connect with the author or her pain.

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review 2018-01-23 02:25
Black Panther Soul of a Machine Series 1-8
Black Panther: Soul Of A Machine (2017) #3 - Ariel Olivetti,J.A. Giles,Chuck Brown

This is an 8 short issue series via Kindle, where it is free.  Each issue is about 8-10 pages, so the whole series is about 80 pages.  It is still free for kindle.  The artist depends on the issue, but overall the art is good; no issue has bad artwork.

 

                The central plot is an attempt by Machineswift to take over the world via a tech conference and Wakanda.  While Black Panther plays a crucial role in a few of the early issues as well as the concluding issues, the focus is on what is basically an international geek squad – which includes Wakandans, but also various others so it is a true global incentive.

 

                The emphasis is on battling with intelligence – it isn’t Hulk Smash, but coming up with a solution to a problem.  This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a bit of a battle, there is, but the geeks are the true heroes.

 

                Furthermore, the series makes excellent use of Shuri, who, quite I find to be the more interesting of the siblings.  There are plenty of women as well as men, both genders shown to be fighters and scientists.

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