First Lessons

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 18 Apr 2018

Member Reviews

Aliya is happy, she is In her fifth year studying to be a surgeon and on her way home to see her parents and fiancé. In First Lessons: A Medieval Tale, tragedy strikes when her car is involved in a horrific accident.

The last thing she remembers is feeling her neck break. When she wakes up however things are very different. She’s no longer in her own body, she’s now in the body of a large blonde woman who has just miscarried after falling down the stairs.

She isn’t just any woman either, she is now Countess Lilian Earton with an absentee husband and a strong fixation on pink. Not only is she in somebody else’s body but she’s in some other world. This is not the Russia she knows, This isn’t even Earth. It seems to be some other world, medieval in development.

Immediately she sets out to bring this new world into a higher level of comfort and education. She starts making plans to create “new” inventions to make her life easier and to help her people.

Unique And Intriguing

This is a unique time travel novel. Mostly you see people on purposely traveling back-and-forth in time or accidentally traveling back-and-forth in time but in their own person, their own body. This is the first novel I’ve ever read where they’ve accidentally had their soul transported into somebody else’s body.

At first, the level of detail and information was a little overwhelming. But I felt that this was appropriate and really set the tone. I think the traveler too would have been similarly overwhelmed.

I like how the author brought together many storylines and wove them together like an intricate tapestry. I look forward with great anticipation to the next book in the series.

Reviewed for LnkToMi iRead in response to a complimentary copy of the book provided by the publisher in hopes of an honest review.
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I couldn't get pass the first page, the writing is just telling you rather than showing you and the entire first page is an info dump.
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I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review. To be honest, i was not at all impressed by this story. I wanted to like it, i tryed hard and kept on reading even tought the story did not captivate me. But I had to abandon after a bit more than a hundred pages. I think i just did not like the main character.
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I am so sorry to say that I DNF this book, after 36 % I just put it away and did’t come back. 
What I didn’t like about book were characters and their strange behavior and reactions. 

I kind of liked Lily’s POV, but the others were too unrealistic. And I was curious about the possible romance in the book, but I guess I will never know what happened. 

Unfortunately, one interesting character is not a good reason enough to keep reading a book
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I couldn‘t get past chapter one because of the writing style of this novel. The idea sounded really interesting and I wanted to like it, but the writing just didn‘t do it for me.
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Have you ever wondered what you would do if you suddenly would be transported to a place in the past while you had all your modern knowledge? 


In this Russian fantasy novel medical student Aliya dies in a carcrash and then somehow wakes up in another body in another world that is very much like our Middle Ages. 

This Russian novel is a bit different. At first I thought it was a story meant for highschool students but nevertheless was so attracted by the synopsis I volunteered to review. The thing is that although the heroine is a medical student I think the targeted readers might be found in 18+. Not that the story is steamy: it is not! No because of the serious way the whole situation is handled.


In most timetravel stories people just blend in. If there is the fact that they know more than the people surrounding them then it is in that they know the future. It is not so much that they would share advanced technology. Here there is no knowledge of the future: it is a different world not the past. But Aliya now countess Lilian has a wide share of knowledge how to make things and how to cure people and she sets off to monetise that and improve her village. It made me wonder what I would do and I realised my knowledge is not suitable at all in a situation like that (I am a lawyer).

So what to say about this novel?

The writer is very apt in worldbuilding. The world described sounds real. Countess Lilian lives in a would with many similarities to medieval Europe. You recognise the Vikings, the Jews and the Arabs, but the church is just different. Laws are different. And similar. 

Sometimes the writing style seems a bit different to me but that might be because it is a Russian novel that is translated. Things like that can somehow show different cultures of writing styles. It is not annoying.

The book really has potential to be great but seems to break off just when the stage is set for action. I would advice to publish it together with part 2 (I expect there is one). I think it will be received better that way. Lots of the better fantasy stories are heavy tomes that has the reader reading for days on end so there is no need to cut the story into different volumes. Now we end up with a clever exercise how to keep yourself afloat in the Middle Ages and we see storm brewing on the horizon but the thunderclaps have not been heard yet. All the action has yet to come.

It could be done like this if this part would be for free but when you want to charge a fee I think customers might grumble because it feels like you are reading a good book and suddenly someone grabs it and takes it away.

PS: I really liked the fact that the heroine is a heavy set lady who kicks ass (I am no feather either)
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I am very happy right now. Historical fiction is, believe it or not, one of my favorite genres, even though now I don't read it nearly as much as I do science-fiction or fantasy. However, it was the genre that got me into reading, and so when I saw a book that was a mix between fantasy and historical fiction I knew that I had to read it. And I am so, so happy that I did.
Aliya is a medical school graduate with her whole life in front of her when she is involved in a car accident with a truck. When she wakes up, however, she realizes that she is no longer in the world that she knows--or even in her own body. She has been transported to the Middle Ages, in the body of a Countess named Lilian, who has just had an agonizing and unsuccessful birth. Aliya must use all of her knowledge, strength, and skill to navigate this new world, and blaze her own trail in a time where women were expected to do exactly the opposite.
Let me just start out by saying that I LOVE the Middle Ages. It is one of my favorite time periods to read about, because for some reason everything is more interesting when there are swords involved. Potter did a great job of making you feel like you were actually in the Middle Ages, with all of the disgusting diseases (ew), poor hygiene (double ew), and just the general feel of the time period. I was very happy to see the setting portrayed as well as it was, and it drew me into the story from the very beginning.
I really did like Aliya. It is hard with a story like this to not fall into the "Special Snowflake" model just because she does have so much more knowledge than everybody else--but she also has less too. Yes, she knows more about medical tools and procedures, but she has no idea about the customs of the times. Her knowledge was balanced out with her ignorance, which helped take the edge off of the "Special Snowflake" feeling. She was such a strong and independent character, but she also wasn't afraid to admit it when she was hopelessly lost and ask for help. She was definitely not a damsel in distress, which made me super happy. 
And can we just have a moment of appreciation for the supporting characters here? I loved every single one of them, because they all had their own personality traits and characteristics, not all of them liked Aliya (which is a plus in my opinion, when everybody loves the main character it rubs me the wrong way), and they just made the story feel more well-rounded and fleshed out. Plus, it was super interesting to hear about their exploits and their backstories. I'm a sucker for a good backstory.
My only main complaint was the feeling that Aliya was a little too perfect with all of her knowledge, but again this is completely understandable simply due to the nature of the book. She's from a futuristic period, she is going to know more about technology and advancements. This was more of a nagging feeling than anything else, I loved this book, and even read it when I was on the exercise bike because it helped pass the time so quickly! I can't wait for the rest of the series to come out... I want to know what happens!
5/5 Stars
Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book through NetGalley. This has in no way affected my view of, opinion on, or review of the book.
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