Going into Queen of Someday by Sherry D. Ficklin I had absolutely no idea what I was expecting. I’ve had my eyes on it before, and now that the final book in the series is coming out I thought I’d take the opportunity to read and review them. Especially since the first book is now available for free as an e-book.
The series follow Catherine the Great as she ascends the throne of the Russian Empire. Being a Princess of Russia and a very poor princess at that, Sophie’s mother has arranged a potential marriage for her with Duke Peter III, nephew to the Empress of Russia and future King of said kingdom. But the line of suitors for the spoiled heir is long, and although she is first in line, she still has her work cut out for her. Her family’s future now lies in Sophie’s hands and whether she is able to win Peter’s heart.
Going in blind was fun! I had no idea this was a retelling of Catherine the Great’s journey and rise to power. I expected a YA Fantasy with a theme of royalty. And that was it. It’s not quite what I got.
Queen of Someday Review
What I got was a YA Historical Romance. Don’t get me wrong. I was pleasantly surprised. I do enjoy historical retellings and history inspired fiction, especially royal, but I was under the impression this was fantasy. And it was not. Nevertheless, it was enjoyable.
Ficklin makes a point in the beginning of Queen of Someday that the book is not always historically correct and deviates from the historical accounts of Sophie’s life at Russian court, but it felt very thoroughly research! Naturally I went down the rabbit hole and found that a lot of the story and the characters were accurate, which made it all the more fun. But I’m certain that there was plenty of creative licence going on.
Another incredible feature that I need to praise Ficklin for were the additional videos at the end of certain chapters. I read an e-book copy of Queen of Someday where there was often a link at the end of a chapter to a video where Ficklin would recap the chapter historically and explain her way of thinking when adapting the history into her novel. This was such a treat and I have never seen this before.
How was Queen of Someday though?
It was short. I never get a good idea of the length of e-books, but Queen of Someday felt noticeably shorter than your average YA Fantasy book. I quite liked this though. It was short and sweet, quick to the plot and not beating about the bush. Having said that, there was ample opportunity to flesh out the story, the life at court and the characters. It had such potential and could’ve given so much more than it did.
There were so many characters. Most of them with Russian names, which although beautiful (there is something about the sound of Russian names that I adore) I struggled to keep track of them all and I was not really given enough time to get to know them. I never knew if they were just mentioned in passing or if they would later matter.
Did I mention that Queen of Someday was a historical romance. Yup, there was plenty of it. Perhaps even too much. Now, this is debatable, because Catherine the Great is known for having had many lovers. But the original teenage romance that brought excitement and recklessness with it into Sophie’s life felt, with lack of other word, forced. I didn’t need it.
It didn’t put Sophie in the best light and it felt unnecessary and immature. And I’m almost certain that this relationship was not recorded by history, but rather the Ficklin’s fantasy.
The later romance, which is introduced at the end of Queen of Someday (and is historically accurate) is much more mature and what I would’ve wanted from the start. The slow, yet obvious, burn of it was much more appealing to me.
Now, my opinion of this can be totally thrown out of the window if the initial romantic relationship actually happened. But that’s the fun with historical romance. There is always a lot to play with, but in the end it comes down to what did happened. Who knows?
So did I like Queen of Someday?
Yeah, I did. But unfortunately it was nothing above the ordinary. To begin with it wasn’t really fantasy which is what we’re really here for, right? But I enjoyed the story, even if it was a bit uneventful. The subject was incredibly interesting and I did really enjoy reading about the teen life of Catherine the Great.
The writing felt, quite honestly, not up to notch. There were quite a few errors, which I don’t want to stumble across when I read a published book and this bothers me. But I did enjoy the bonus videos with some more insight, even if they made me cringe (a lot).
For a free e-book it was fine. I’ve read some incredible e-books where the first book was free, and I’ve simply had to buy the following book (and I’m not a fan of spending money on e-books).
But could I have done without it? Yes. You don’t miss out on much, unless you’re a huge fan of historical fantasy. There is so much out there that is, frankly, better. Having said that, it’s short (and I’m a slow reader) so it’s not a huge commitment if you want to check it out.
Will I read the rest of the series? Well, the final book is out now which is why I considered binge reading the series. But I’m not sure I can commit to five more books when there is so much else to read. The ending was good, and did make me want to read on so I might give Queen of Tomorrow a chance so see if The Lost Empire series does pick up as we go along. But before then I will have to read something else to ponder about it.