― Susanna Kearsley, The Firebird
Series: Book 2 in the Slains Series
Publication Date: 2013
2. I love the cross between present and past. As with The Winter Sea, there was as much going on in the present day as there was in the past. Towards the end of the novel, the past overtakes the book as things heat up in Russia. Generally, I’m pretty picky on what time periods I like to read historical fiction from, and Russia has never really been fascinating to me, but Susanna Kearsley did an amazing job of drawing me into the past world and making me want to learn more. (She did the same thing with Irish history in The Winter Sea.)
3. I loved these characters so much. There is so much life and fire in Anna, and despite all of her hardships, I never had a doubt that this intelligent, awesome girl would find her way. Nicola and Rob’s love story is intriguing. Even the whole psychic powers thing was done well enough that I didn’t mind it in there. The characters really drove the book on this one.
This novel intrigued me, made me want to learn more about Empress Catherine of Russia, and moved me to tears at some points (happy tears, I promise).
“There are times,” he said to Anna, “when our victories have a cost that we did not foresee, when winning brings us loss.”
“She nodded, looking down at the small wooden bird, a plain thing carved by a great man who’d always taken pleasure in creating things with his own hands. She’s telling me, I think, that I should seek to be none other than myself, and so fly always like the bird that I was born to be.”
“The strongest soldier cannot balance long upon the blade that does divide his honor and his heart, and whatever way he falls, the cut will kill him.”