Book Review: The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons [SPOILER FREE]

“[He] knew that before he had light instead of darkness, he had to deserve light instead of darkness. The time for him had obviously not come. He still had to earn his stars.”

Title: The Bronze Horseman (The Bronze Horseman #1)

6323104Author: Paullina Simons

Release Date: April 2001

Pages: 811

GoodReads Rating: 4.35

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

My Review: This historical fiction novel was one of the most horrible (in a good way) and vivd that I have read. Taking place at the outbreak of the German-Russian war, during world War II, in 1941, The Bronze Horseman charts the siege of Leningrad and beyond. I’ve always been super interested in Russian history, but I’d never read from a Russian point of view before and it gave such a unique perspective on the events of World War II.

There is no doubt that the focus of this novel lies on the romance between seventeen year old Tatiana,  and Red Army officer Alexander, which I definitely didn’t have a problem with. I think that by choosing to focus on their relationship it gave the backdrop of war a try lasting impression in the fact that no matter what else is going on you can’t help but be affected by it. And when I say relationship, I mean a not-appropriate for the young ones type of relationship. It’s a long time coming, but it does come.

However, my one problem lay with the relationship between Tatiana and her sister Dasha. As a sister myself, I know about the bond that it creates, but even if you argue that these two weren’t that close the dynamic was just completely off and because of that I was just waiting for a certain (blatantly inevitable) thing to happen. And it did. I just think hat it was a lost opportunity to really explore the love that the sisters had for each other. There was also a tiny problem with how young Tatiana seemed at the beginning of the book, but I can understand that this does work to show just how much character development she goes through.

There were a lot of ‘this seems like a bad idea’ moments but I kind of liked that, because it reminded you just how invested you were in the lives of these two characters. There were so many moments where I ended up taking to myself, yelling, squealing and holding my breath.

Ultimately, The Bronze Horseman is a book about showing strength in that face of not only adversity but death. it is a book about going through the worst that life can throw at you and coming out the other side, different, and unable to return to the before, but alive all the same. It’s about being beaten, broken and still getting up the next morning, never fixed, but alive.

Have you read The Bronze Horseman, and what did you think? What is your favourite novel set during war time?

Thanks for reading,

Victoria.

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