Rating: 3 out of 5 stars, Genre: Dystopian Fiction/ Young Adult, Pages: 559, Reading Level: Easy
“The epic saga of love and war continues- the heart-stopping sequel to Paullina Simons’s beloved international bestseller The Bronze Horseman.
Tatiana is eighteen years old, pregnant, and widowed when she escapes war-torn Leningrad to find a new life in America. But the ghosts of her past do not rest easily. She becomes consumed by the belief that her husband, Red Army officer Alexander Belov, is still alive and needs her desperately.
Meanwhile, oceans and continents away in the Soviet Union, Alexander barely escapes execution, and is forced to lead a battalion of soldiers considered expendable by the Soviet high command. Yet Alexander is determined to take his men through the ruins of Europe in one last desperate bid to escape Stalin’s death machine and somehow find his way to Tatiana once again.”
Not as good as The Bronze Horseman.
Tatiana and Alexander follows Tatiana to the United States and Alexander in the Soviet Union. The reader is also transported back in time to when he was young in the United States and then portrays a bit of his life in the Soviet Union before his parents were taken away. Finally, we do revisit Tatiana’s and Alexander’s relationship with additional scenes that take place during the time of The Bronze Horseman.
I have to say, I was much more interested in the period of time when Alexander was young. I wish there had been many more flashbacks of that period than the details of battles and Tatiana’s introspection. The way it is now, it feels like the book is about 100 to 150 pages too long. Some parts come across as repetitive and others as overly descriptive. The battle scenes kind of seem the same to me and I didn’t get into all the detail.
Speaking of the war- the most dramatic parts were completely ignored. Simons brings up the fact that Stalin made it a crime to surrender, punishable by death. But that’s it. There are no scenes, such as in Enemy at the Gates, where the commanding officers shoot at their own men who attempt to retreat. Simons comments on how sometimes there were not enough rifles for every soldier, so they team up and when the one with the rifle is killed, the one without, picks up the rifle and fights. However again, there is no scene. And there are many more examples of such missed opportunities. I think actual scenes would have been more dramatic and effective.
Even the prison camps would have been more interesting if there was more detail about the conditions, abuse, politics, etc., rather than just constant talking about escape.
I wish there had been more about Tatiana’s initial experiences in the United States and I wish she had ventured outside the hospital. The contrast between Leningrad and the United States, even in the hospital, was so drastic but those details were largely omitted. It was disappointing.
While I’m sure most would hope that Tatiana stays loyal to Alexander, it doesn’t make for good drama. The drama would have been better with a couple of hot steamy sex scenes with Edward. Something. Anything. Of course this does explain why we are given more scenes from the Bronze Horseman- because otherwise, there would be no sex. Plain and simple.
There was one part that was hilarious- When Alexander gets ‘the talk’ from his mother which includes sticks, horns, French pigs, the French crown and getting a girl up the stick. Hmmm… after reading that, I’m pretty sure I can do better.
There are some pretty good discussions that provide meaningful quotes:
I cannot speak for the communists. Majdanek showed us only man’s inhumanity to man- this is what man sometimes does with the free will God gave him. If God made all men good, it wouldn’t be called free will, would it? And finally it’s not science’s place to show us if there is a God behind the universe.
Finally, the book is obviously out of date, because there are no longer nine planets in our solar system. Sadly, Pluto was demoted to dwarf status. But it is King of Dwarves, so I guess it’s got that going for it.
I have to admit that I struggled and left a bit disappointed. Since this review is mostly a list of things I wish had been included, I can’t justify giving it a high rating just because the writing is good and I love the characters. At this point I am left with one excellent book, The Bronze Horseman, and one okay book, Tatiana and Alexander. So I will eventually get to the last in the series, it just will not be right away.
Reviewed by Christina
September 14, 2013