Ficklin did an amazing job weaving her story. The characters have such a wide range of personalities, and she has a way of making you love a character and hate them at the same time. She also toys with her readers emotions like an expert, forcing me to fall for a character and then twisting the plot to make me suddenly wish them dead.
The story starts out fantastically, going from a steamy prologue into a fight scene. It should be noted that this story contains amazing descriptions, allowing the reader to visualize the story perfectly.
I immediately liked Sophie. She's pretty darn amazing. Kicking butt, taking names, and wearing a dress while doing it, what's not to love? However, this is where we lost a star, and my only problem with the book, which has nothing to do with Ficklin's writing or the story at all, but rather myself and my own personal preference. At times, mainly in the middle of the book, Sophie became very reliant on the males around her. -yes there is a slight...(what would you even call it) love triangle?- I am not a fan of damsels in distress. HOWEVER, this is my preference, and I understand that in the time frame of this book, that is how most girls were required to be. I can appreciate this, and if I had half a star icon, it would be a 4.5 out of 5 star review.
The males we get introduced to you will either love or hate. In my case, Peter should die. I loathe him, and have since the beginning. Sergei, well..he's too flipping amazing and I want a miniature of him to keep in my pocket at all times. Then there is Alexander, who, lets be honest, could gift me dirt and I would probably swoon. There are other males, but these are the three we get most interaction with.
The females, well, like the males, you will love or hate, and then Ficklin will wretch you in two and turn the emotions. I hated the mother from beginning to end. I understand that her view was the general view of that time, but I think my hate became locked in when she told Sophie to be quiet like a true German. Rina...is a doll, that's all there is to it. Her sister, who I cannot be bothered to look up, is...around the same level of loathing as Peter. (I rarely admit to openly hating characters. Usually they fit their role so well I still love them, but I just could not love these two.) Finally...the empress. All there is to say about her is WHY FICKLIN, WHY?!
Over all, the story is wonderful. I loved it and am looking forward to the second book. I loved the characters and actually want to see more of them all in the next book - please continue to torture me Ficklin, rip my heart out some more, because this book was amazing.
Just a note: I am switching to Blogspot and under a new name, This Life is Fiction. Follows would be loved, as I will not always remember to post things here.