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by Joy Preble

Age Range: 12 - 18

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4022-6875-5
Publisher: Sourcebooks

The trilogy that began with Dreaming Anastasia (2009) comes to an exciting, if cluttered, conclusion.

Magic and time travel back to Czarist Russia dominate the narrative as Anne and her century-old yet still age-18 heartthrob Ethan try to outwit their nemesis Viktor, who somehow has become immortal again. This series conclusion will make little sense to those who have not read the first two books, as everything depends upon knowledge of previous events. The time-travel segments stand out as the most interesting in the story, especially the trip to the Alexander Palace and the meeting with 10-year-old Princess Anastasia. Anne’s parents become involved when her rusalka (Russian mermaid) grandmother shows up in the backyard sprinkler. Baba Yaga flies through the skies in a giant mortar and pestle, dispensing danger and advice. Ethan and Anne (mostly) share the narration, but readers will need to pay attention to which one is speaking, as their voices come across as nearly identical. They’re a fairly standard-issue romantic pair, despite their exotic abilities. Viktor and Baba Yaga are more distinct and much more entertaining, as is Anne’s friend Tess, who provides some comic relief. Although the various plot threads eventually tie themselves neatly together, they resemble a Gordian knot before that happens.

Satisfying, but start with the first book. (Paranormal suspense. 12 & up)