Book Review: Queen of Someday & Queen of Tomorrow (Stolen Empire Series) by Sherry D. Ficklin

Posted July 22, 2015 by @Angelized_1st in 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, Books, Entertainment, Reading Challenges / 1 Comment

Book Review: Queen of Someday & Queen of Tomorrow (Stolen Empire Series) by Sherry D. FicklinQueen of Someday Series: Stolen Empire,
Published by Clean Teen Publishing on October 7th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Historical, General, Love & Romance
Pages: 262
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
ISBN: 9781940534909
Reading Challenges: 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Before she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophie will have to survive her social-climbing mother's quest to put her on the throne of Russia - at any cost.

Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family - ;and herself - Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.

Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she's willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be. In a battle for the soul of a nation, will love or destiny reign supreme?

Queen of Someday is a unique take on the life of young Catherine the Great. The true story of Catherine the Great is one fraught with betrayal, intrigue, and romance. We absolutely fell head over heals for Queen of Someday and would have begged the author for the chance to publish it, had she not already been excited about submitting it to us. Fans of Reign - the new hit TV show on The CW that follows the young life of Mary Queen of Scotts - will love Queen of Someday.

The Good…:

Author Sherry D. Ficklin brings Catherine the Great to life in her Stolen Empire series. The first book, Queen of Someday, focuses on a young Sophie struggles with political intrigue and possible ruination if she’s deemed unfit to marry Grand Duke Peter. A mercurial young man, Peter is a difficult guy to get to know, yet Sophie years to solidify her family’s position with an advantageous marriage. Of course things never go as planned. There are other young, beautiful women vying for his hand, and it isn’t before long that Sophie succumbs to the devastating realization that her life is not her own. Dodging assassins, rivals, and a young man who proves to be a distraction Sophie doesn’t need, Sophie must learn how to survive in the Imperial court.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ficklin does an excellent job of bringing the Russian Imperial court to life. Her detailed descriptions of the clothing, feasts, and lavish surroundings that Sophie inhabits made it easier to travel back through time. Plus, it helped that the prologue had some romantic action that hooked me from the very first page. Readers read as Sophie changes from a young woman determined to do her duty, to a strong, young woman destined to become queen. As the book begins there are two young men, in addition to Peter, that are offered up as possible love interests, and that kept me on the lookout for which one would be the mystery man from the prologue.

The secondary characters were also well-developed, and kept me guessing as well. Sophie was obviously in a situation where no one can be trusted, and it was interesting to see who the young princess put her trust in, and who would betray her. This aspect upped the stakes of the story, and allowed me to feel the danger Sophie’s actions could put her in if she made the wrong decision.

The Bad…:

While the Empress Elizabeth, Sophie’s mother, Rina, Alexander, Peter, and Sergei were very well-developed, I wish some of the other important secondary characters were as well. Elisavetta and Mikhail weren’t as well-developed as I’d like, and both seem as if they’re going to be extremely important in future books. Another character that could have been more developed was the Empress’s adviser, Bestuzhev. I would have like to see more scenes of him interacting with Sophie. I think that would have made his actions in the book carry more weight than they did, and allowed me to care about him as a character.

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Queen of Someday & Queen of Tomorrow (Stolen Empire Series) by Sherry D. FicklinQueen of Tomorrow by Sherry D. Ficklin
Series: Stolen Empire,
Published by Smashwords Edition on July 1st 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Historical, General, Love & Romance
Pages: 278
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
ISBN: 9781634220712
Reading Challenges: 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks
Goodreads
five-stars

Sophie—now Catherine, Grand Duchess of Russia—had a tough first year at Imperial Court. Married at sixteen to Grand Duke Peter, heir to the throne, and settled in their own palace, things start to look up. As a new day dawns, Catherine thinks only of securing her future, and the future of their country, during one of the greatest political upheavals of her time. Fighting desperately against forces that try to depose the Empress Elizabeth and put the young Prince Ivan on her throne, Catherine soon finds herself in the middle of a war brewing between her beloved Prussia and her new empire. While navigating the fragile political landscape, she quickly realizes that she has only begun to discover the tangled web of deceit and infidelity woven over the lavish court of Oranienbaum Palace.

When a strange and delicate alliance forms between the young couple, Catherine glimpses a future of happiness, only to see it vanish at the hands of those who still seek to end her life—and prevent her reign. Out of favor with the empress and running out of options, Catherine must sacrifice her own innocence on the altar of Russia if she is to save the nation and herself. To survive, she will have to do the unthinkable, betray those closest to her and become something greater and more dangerous than she ever imagined she could be… a queen.

The Good…:

The Queen of Tomorrow picks up not too long after the events in the first book. Catherine and Peter are now living in their own palace. Peter spends all of his free time with either Mikhail or Elisavetta, and mostly treats Catherine with contempt. But not always. Peter is smart enough to realize that Catherine is loved by the people and his lords, and that she’s his best ally against the Empress. One of the aspects about the first book I wish would be improved in this book was that Elizavetta and Mikhail would be more developed. Ficklin did do this, and these two characters brought much too the story. We learn why Mikhail was always standoffish towards Catherine, while Elizavetta continues to be completely horrid.

One thing about this story I noticed was that it didn’t have the naive Sophie we first met in Queen of Someday. Instead we get Catherine, Empress in the making. She’s no longer the starry-eyed girl who thinks she knows how the game is played, but a woman who has lost a lot. Catherine’s story gets a lot darker in this book, as she sadly learns that she still has more to lose.

Do I Recommend?

I’m so invested in this series, that it’s crazy! Ficklin paints such a vivid picture of Russian life during this time period. In Queen of Tomorrow, readers get a look at what life is like outside of the palace for the serfs that tend the fields. Plague is running rampant through the countryside, and was is imminent. Some of the scenes in Queen of Tomorrow are quite brutal as Catherine’s life with Peter takes a dark turn. Though there are sex scenes in both books, they’re not vivid, though because of the violence I’d recommend this series not be read by readers younger than high school age.

Rating Report
Plot
five-stars
Characters
five-stars
Writing
five-stars
Pacing
four-half-stars
Overall: 4.9

About Sherry D. Ficklin

Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. A former military brat, she loves to travel and meet new people. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.

@Angelized_1st

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