Monday, August 26, 2013

[Review] The Bronze Horseman - Paullina Simons

Released: April 2001

The golden skies, the translucent twilight, the white nights, all hold the promise of youth, of love, of eternal renewal. The war has not yet touched this city of fallen grandeur, or the lives of two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha Metanova, who share a single room in a cramped apartment with their brother and parents. Their world is turned upside down when Hitler's armies attack Russia and begin their unstoppable blitz to Leningrad.

Yet there is light in the darkness. Tatiana meets Alexander, a brave young officer in the Red Army. Strong and self-confident, yet guarding a mysterious yet troubled past, he is drawn to Tatiana – and she to him. Starvation, desperation, and fear soon grip their city during the terrible winter of the merciless German siege. Tatiana and Alexander's impossible love threatens to tear the Metanova family apart and expose the dangerous secret Alexander so carefully protects – a secret as devastating as the war itself – as the lovrs are swept up in the brutal tides that will change the world and their lives forever.

"There are some battles, no matter how much you don't want to fight them, that you just have to fight. That are worth giving your life for."
The Bronze Horseman is a bewitching novel that is unbelievably magnificently written. An intense, heart-wrenching novel that focuses on the impact of war on children, families and people in general. It shows how the war pressures the youth to mature and grow much faster, creating selfish and desensitized 'adults'. It focuses on how, at the state of desperation, suffering and misery, people prove apply the phrase "every man for himself" into their lives.

I decided to read this book because one of the book blogs I follow gave this a 10++, its own category of stars even! Though, I was blown away by how powerful and amazingly written this book was, I was also disappointed by how too prolonged it was.

Let me start on the characters. I abso-freaking-lutely loved loved LOVED Tatiana. She was the female protagonist, who is not only unselfish, strong, and independent, she was also intelligent, sharp and amusing. She's stubborn beyond doubt. But I loved how she could stand up to Alexander. She doesn't just follow whatever he says like an obedient puppy. If she thinks what he's saying is wrong or if she has a different opinion, she argues with him, which totally drives Alexander over the edge. Towards the end of the first part, she came off more as a pushover to her family, and even in the second part, when she lived with the ladies. That drove Alexander insane too.

The way they met was pretty cute.
When Tatiana looked up from her ice cream, she saw a soldier staring at her from across the street.
Tatiana normally would have glanced past him down the street and moved on, except that this soldier was standing across the street and staring at her with an expression Tatiana had never seen before. 
Tatiana was a reckless character initially. She was merely a child but the war happened. She had to become the responsible one in the family, staying strong and supplying her family with food and help. It shows how much she's grown from the first chapter towards the middle of the book.
I grew up, Dasha, thought Tatiana. Somewhere between Lake Ilmen and the start of war, the child had grown.
But she was also kind of a comical relief in the book, since it was mostly very bleak. When she talks, sometimes she doesn't filter her words, which is hilarious!
Dasha: "Because of you I'm going to die an old maid."
Tatiana: "Soon, I hope. So i can marry and have my husband sleep next to me." 
Then there's Alexander. Wise old, Alexander. He is always right. Even Tatiana thinks so.

Ask yourself these three questions, Tatiana Metanova, 
I honestly could go on and on about Alexander but that would take much too long. But I could really see how much Alexander truly loved Tania as he was always truthful with her, and he'd always put up a brave front for her. Out of all of them, he always put her first.
Tatiana: "You're a man. Go on with Dasha. She is right for you. She is a woman and I'm–"
Alexander: "Blind!"
Tatiana: "Oh, Alexander, what do you want from me…"
Alexander: "[whispers] Everything!" 
SWEET JESUS RIGHT. Alexander is fiercely protective of her. But I'll let you read the book so you'll know how protective he really is. I want a man like Alexander because he's noble, understanding and absolutely amazing.

Now, onto Tatiana and Alexander

The first half of the book was so freaking depressing since them being together was impossible. Tatiana wanted to avoid the heartbreak and tearing her family apart, so she and Alexander had to hide and suppress their feelings from everyone else. Jesus, man, like seriously, the first half was filled with sexual tension! It's like a ticking time-bomb.

And when the bomb finally exploded? HOLY SHIT!!! The hot sex finally appeared and you can imagine Alexander, a built, strong soldier. Dayummm. He unleashed the sex monster within Tania.
Tatiana: "Why did we spend two days fighting when we could have been doing this?"
Alexander: "That wasn't fighting, Tatiana. That was foreplay."
Don't be too loud in the woods, he told her, lifting her onto himself and kissing her.
Afterward Alexander said, "that's like asking you to shed your freckles for a day, isn't it?"
And shit, Alexander just melted my panties right off me.
I was thinking," Alexander said, kneeling by her, "that i'd like to undress you, spread ice cream all over your body and lick it off you."
Dropping the spoon, Tatiana said hoarsely, "Sounds like a waste of perfectly good ice cream."
Though she didn't think so when he was done with her.

Honestly, this book was so long that I could go ON AND ON that I'll end up spoiling the whole thing. So I won't. BUT A WORD OF CAUTION: IT IS A CLIFFHANGER!!! I don't know if I'm going to read the second book but maybe I will. I just have plenty in my to-reads right now.

Minor Faults:
  • A bit too long
  • Tatiana became quite a pushover that it frustrated me. Although, she was still stubborn and tough.



About The Author:

Paullina Simons was born and raised in Leningrad and immigrated to the United States with her family in the 1970s. Growing up in Russia, Paullina dreamt of someday becoming a writer. Her dream was put on hold as she learned English and overcame the shock of new culture. After graduating from university and after various jobs including working as a financial journalist and as translator, Paullian wrote her first novel.

Check her out in these sites:

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