Cover Image: Daughters of a Dead Empire

Daughters of a Dead Empire

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

DNF. Couldn't get into this book, this book just wasn't for me, sadly. Thank you for approving me and I'm sorry I didn't enjoy the book.
Was this review helpful?
I did enjoy this. I thought it was well-researched, I saw what O'Neill was doing with both the Whites and the Reds and demonstrating how a revolution, even while well-intentioned, can deviate from its original goals. I even liked the complexities of Evgenia and Anna. I just...sort of wish it hadn't been Anastasia? I feel like the same story could be told without it being her.
Was this review helpful?
Let me start off by saying I love the story of Anastasia. This was a fun take on it with the friendship between Anna and Evgenia. It does a good job of discussing the intricacies of a revolution and the impact on society. I thought it was slow in the middle. They also didn't really go anywhere. The microcosm of society was neat but I would have liked to see more of Russia.
Was this review helpful?
I finished this book in a day. Granted, it was the audiobook reading along with the eARC I was generously gifted, but still. DAUGHTERS OF A DEAD EMPIRE is an alternative history where Anastasia survives the execution of her family and is on the run in the Russian wilds during the Bolshevik Revolution, her only help being a staunch communist supporter who hates everything her family stood for. For a piece of historical fiction, this book was paced pretty well. The plot moved quickly and had my heart racing more than once. I loved seeing how Anna and Evgenia grow both as individuals and the way their friendship evolves as Anna tries to escape those pursuing her. Their relationship was one of those female friendships that dominated the page and made me not lament the lack of romance in the story (it's there, but it isn't the main thing). I thought that O'Neil did a wonderful job catching the brutality, hope and failures of the Bolsheviks and Imperial Russia in having these two girls on the journey she did. In terms of world-building, O'Neil brings to life early the  twentieth century Russian countryside and how the civil war between the White Army and the Red Army impacted ordinary people. We have a compelling story here, that is for sure, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one, at times being unable to put it down.
Was this review helpful?
Very solidly a 2.5 stars. O’Neil clearly did her research, and the Russian civil war aspect was really well done. But this book was so slow. Glacially slow. Driving home at rush hour while really needing to pee slow. It was punctuated by one or two exciting bits, which just highlighted how slow the rest of the book is. I did like that the book did not shy away from how bad the Bolsheviks were, while also not making excuses for the injustices of inherited wealth and power. As ever, it seems the only winner in Russia is the winter.
Was this review helpful?
I love how so many things happened in the book. I could not keep myself from the book because it was so good
Was this review helpful?
I'm a sucker for Anastasia retellings/adaptations - the story and history of the Romanov's is fascinating. I really enjoyed this book and was so completely invested. I'm not typically a historical fiction person, and while I do wish there had been romance - I really loved Anna and Evgenia's friendship. Despite the odds and ideologies being stacked against them, they persevered. This book was touching while also being high impact with even higher stakes. I was pleasantly surprise by this book, and it might be one of my favorite reads of 2022
Was this review helpful?
I think most people have heard of Anastasia Romanov, but to be honest, I don’t really know a lot about her actual history. Daughters of a Dead Empire takes place in 1918 Russia, where once again, Anastasia survives the assassination against her family. She meets a girl named Evgenia, who agrees to help her find safety for a diamond that would go to great lengths in helping her family.

Their journey together is not always easy, and they often find themselves in very real danger, since Anastasia is still being hunted. Evgenia doesn’t know Anastasia is the Tsar’s daughter – as she’s very pro-communism and probably wouldn’t have helped Anastasia if she knew. However, I liked that they two slowly begin to understand each other’s point of views and see the world through different eyes. I also liked that I got to learn a bit more about this time period and Anastasia, though obviously the main story is fiction.
Was this review helpful?
Daughters of a Dead Empire is a wonderful alternative history young adult book. I wish I had stories like this to read when I was a teen. It was refreshing to read a young adult book that wasn't focused on romance, but friendship.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you Netgalley and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, Roaring Brook Press for providing me a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review. All the views and opinions in expressed in this review are purely my own and not affiliated with any brand. 

I am a sucker for Anastasia retelling and this one did not disappoint! Carolyn Tara O'Neil wrote an excellent story that gives you two different perspectives of that time frame. This was a very well written story that I would recommend to a friend.
Was this review helpful?
This is a beautiful story with such a stunning voice. I loved the plot and the clearly well thought out background and storyline. The cover caught my attention from the first moment I saw it. The detail is pure art. This would def have been a purchase for the library.
Was this review helpful?
A long time fascination with the Romanov family makes this a satisfying and interesting read! Enjoyable by those who enjoy history and those who are just here for a good adventure story.
Was this review helpful?
I was excited to start this book, as most of the historical fiction I've come across/read is centered more on Western history, and while I've read some books based on Russian folklore, I've read very little actually focused on historical events. However, something about this book didn't quite overall hook me or connect with me, though there are still quite a few things I enjoyed about this story.

My favorite thing about this book has to be that it centers the friendship between Anna and Evgenia, and how it follows the ups and downs of their relationship as they struggle with the big topics they fundamentally disagree on. It means that throughout this entire book, Anna and Evgenia are forced to struggle with and think about both each other's beliefs and their own, and how in the end they both do want the same thing, but believe in different sides of the country getting them there. I also just really enjoyed in general that this remains the focus of the story throughout, and no romance suddenly appears to distract from this main aspect. It's refreshing to see and also works really well in this book, as it gives readers a way to see both sides of the war and also how the two might be able to reconcile with each other, if only they took a moment to see the humanity on the other side.

This book also heavily focuses on the civil war, of course, and the tragedies that occur during it, and there are many moments where we see various characters drowning in grief. It's extremely tough to read (or listen to, in my case) at points, but the author does a superb job at writing this grief in a way that makes you truly feel it as well, even if you can't exactly relate to these levels of loss and pain. Additionally, there are many moments where the pair is being hunted down, and I honestly felt so terrified in those moments for them, my heart racing as they looked behind them as they ran. It was all very emotionally written, in a way that steals your attention and keeps it.

I think maybe my main issue is that this book overall felt quite long without much happening physically in terms of their journey. The main journey does happen mentally, for both Evgenia and Anna, as they both learn from each other and the suffering they go through, but sometimes the story seemed to almost slow or pause as these developments were occurring. There wasn't enough happening in their physical journey to match their character growth, and it almost felt like they were moving in circles while growing as people. There's something to be said about that, being stuck in a physical space while you wait for your mind to catch up, but it didn't feel intentional in that sense. It just didn't fully work for me in the end, largely due to how stagnant parts of the book felt because of it.

Overall, I did end up enjoying this, but not quite as much as I thought I would. I'm still interested in what this author writes next, and hope that the next one will work a bit better for me!
Was this review helpful?
First, I want to give this book points for being a YA novel with NO romance. That is such a rare thing to find these days. 

This novel is a retelling of the Anastasia story - in this version, Anastasia very much remembers who she is.  She is trying to flee to safety across a warring Russia whilst being pursued by the man who murdered her family. She meets Evgenia, a poor girl who is devoted to the Bolshevik cause. The two become unlikely friends, and both have to take a hard look at the cause they believed in and decide what they really want Russia to become.

What I loved about this book was the growing friendship between Anna and Evgenia. I enjoyed seeing their relationship grow. I really loved the character of Evgenia and how she learns and changes over the course of the story. Her arc was my favorite thing about this novel.

I also really liked how realistic this story felt - it wasn't the fairytale I expected it to be, which was refreshing. There was a lot of detail about the Romanov family and it really set the tone as a historical story rather than the typical fairytale version of Anastasia that I'm used to seeing. 

This story was full of action, though it seemed to move a bit slowly in the first half. But that's ok because the second half more than makes up for it.

What I loved most about this novel was that the author does a great job of letting Anastasia and Evgenia grapple with their beliefs and the causes they stand behind. Because we get both of their perspectives, we really see inside their minds and come to understand why they think the way they do. 

I really enjoyed this story and recommend it to anyone who wants to read about the Russian Revolution or read a realistic retelling of the Anastasia story.
Was this review helpful?
Daughters of a Dead Empire was such a pleasant surprise! I always enjoy a good Anastasia retelling, but can’t help but be skeptical at some of the books that have come out over the last few years. This story involved epic chases, jewels hidden in corsets, edge-of-your-seat fight seats, and a landscape full of political intrigue and power. 

The book also focused heavily on the friendship between Ana and Evgenia, which started out as tenuous but becoming so compelling. I was so happy to read a book with such strong female characters who really grow into themselves. 

My thanks to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Sign me up for any Anastasia Romanov retelling!! This retelling was well done. I really enjoyed the friendship between Anna and Evgenia. The book was such an adventure and a very enjoyable read altogether. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this in exchange for a review!
Was this review helpful?
I really liked this retelling of the classical Anastasia story! Even though Anna is the central character in this novel, I actually found that I bonded more with Evgenia, as she offered a perfect contrast to Anna's character. I liked that we got a character who represented the working class of Russia in this tale, as I often feel like this is missing in other retellings of the classical story. I thought that O'Neil did a great job putting a twist on the story of the Romanovs without overwhelming the readers with too much Russian history.
Was this review helpful?
Alternate Russian history and I am HERE for it!! Giving me very much scary but bad ass vibes. Anna is a bit too much to begin with but I became more and more fond of her as the story went on. I was intrigued as to what would happen next and, as always, this historical fiction sparked an interest to do some research on the real Russian Revolution.
Was this review helpful?
This was such a powerful, thought-provoking book! I've always been interested in Anastasia, and the myths surrounding her. So as soon as I saw this book on NetGalley, I knew I had to read it! And Daughters of a Dead Empire did not disappoint!

The characters felt so real that I instantly connected to them. I loved seeing their development and growth throughout the story. They were all unique in their own way, and I could understand what each was thinking. 

Even though this was historical fiction, and I generally knew how things were going to end, I still felt so invested in this book. I loved the integration of history and fiction. It made the story feel that much more real. 

My only complaint was that I felt the ending was a bit rushed. I would have liked a little more time spend tying up loose ends. There was some closure, but I was still left needing a bit more. 

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. It isn't a happy book--in fact I nearly cried on a few occasions. But it is so well-written and really made me think. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Roaring Brook Press for the chance to read Daughters of a Dead Empire in exchange for an honest review!
Was this review helpful?
Interesting take on true history - what if Anastasia Romanova escaped? Chapters switch POV between "Anna" and Evgenia, the peasant Bolshevik who helps her.  Fairly nuanced view of monarchy v communism, which is a very complex topic. Would probably spur readers to investigate further into this time period which is what great historical fiction does.  Really enjoyed it.
Was this review helpful?