Title: Empress of the Night: A Novel of Catherine the Great
Author: Eva Stachniak
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Catherine the Great, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A novel about the last days of Russia's most notorious queens, I really enjoyed Empress of the Night--it was absolutely lovely!
This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Catherine the Great, nearing death, reflects on her life and the extent of her rule, leading the reader down a twisted path of memories, secrets, power, and lies that gone on for years. She recounts how she has plotted, planned, and schemed to get where she is--all she has sacrificed. Sometimes brutal, cold, and calculating and at other times tender and dare I say vulnerable--readers are treated to a fictionalized account of the formidable monarch's later life.
What I liked:
-I liked Catherine--she was really a great main character, vulnerable and tender at times and completely brutal in others--she was really human to me
-The lush, opulent, frightening world of Imperial Russia, spanning to even the Romanovs
-The pacing of the novel was good, though I was a bit thrown by the fact that there were no chapters or any real break in the narration
-The characters that surrounded Catherine, particularly her large family and numerous lovers throughout her lifetime
What could've been better:
-At times, even with a helpful character guide at the beginning of the novel, I kept getting people mixed up and it was hard to follow
-Sometimes it was difficult to differentiate from memory in Catherine's mind to what was happening in the present
-Catherine confused me sometimes--it seemed in her younger years she was really preoccupied by having a lover, and it kind of threw off the story a little bit for me, though I know these were supposed to be her golden years
-The ending kind of threw me off a little bit
-Paul and Peter--especially Paul
Overall, I really enjoyed Empress of the Night! It was a lovely journey through Imperial Russia that had me utterly enthralled. Next on deck: Westward to Strange by Ray Litt!