06 June, 2017


Title: The Bronze Horseman
Author: Paullina Simons
Series: The Bronze Horseman #1
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance, War
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release: 2009
Source: Audiobook
Pages: 810

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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 and 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 lovers are swept up in the brutal tides that will change the world and their lives forever.

EXPECTATIONS: I had this book on my TBR for a really long time, saw it on booktube channel of one booktuber I used to really like but it has been awhile since I realized it's either that person is just promoting books or our tastes are as different as fire and water. But whatever, the cover is pretty and it was about war so I still picked up the audiobook. Now mind if I knew it was 810 pages long I would not have done it but yeah...what's done is done.

THE WORLD: Russia during WWII. Basically we are in Leningrad just before its famous blockade and the book continues on during the blockade and if I remember correctly after it. Yes it is that long. If you are not familiar German Army was fighting Russia and they had few fronts open, they planned to take Leningrad but because of cold winter and limited resources Leningrad Blockade went on for a few years till Germans finally retreated. As you can imagine during the blockade Leningrad was continuously bombed and there was a serious lack of food, medical supplies and really everything. Most Russians evacuated before the blockade happened but some who were either too stupid or too arrogant believed in Russia and its victory and so stayed and pretty much died in Leningrad. I am not talking here simple deaths, there was no food there. It was a horrible winter and there was also nothing to burn for warmth. Dead bodies were lying on the streets because there was nobody to remove them, people killed each other for a drop of food...plus Germans were bombing it all the time. I don't want to put pictures here as it is very shocking but I do highly advise you to google 'Leningrad Blockade'. Now this is what really happened. This book is a historical fiction so as it is not an alternative historical fiction one expects this horrible settings to be present. And yes, we do have bodies on the streets, constant bombing, burning of books for warmth and lack of food. Families and families die in the book too. But at the same time war is used as a romantic setting and this shocked me so much. I am not saying nobody should write romantical historical fiction but authors should be forbidden to shape everything to their liking. I have read books previously about Leningrad blockade and believe me when I say Paullina Simons did a horrible job in this book. You simply do not romanticise starvation, death of family members and war. It's same as romanticising rape and we all know that is just twisted shit. So yeah, the setting of this book was sugar coated at times and romanticised at others. 

CHARACTERS: Tatiana and Alexander are two main character and the only ones worth talking about. But before we get into that let me just say that I have noticed in literature that russian families are always portrayed as cold and arrogant. The main character is always that biggest victim who everybody in family uses and abuses. This weird thing was also present in this book and in this case it was Tatiana who was constantly abused by her family. They would literally eat her food portions just to satisfy their own hunger. Or make her go out in the cold to bring supplies while they justs at by the fire and complained. As for Tatiana's personality she was a very naive teenager but at the same time extremely good. She never complained, always did what was told and even went to the front to get her brother. I think the fact that she was only 17 kinda made her stupid naiveness alright even towards the end. Tho it is shocking to me a little bit how she never understood she was abused all the time by everybody. But let's talk about self righteous mister right Alexander. Oh how I hate him. You know somebody like him deserve death penalty. First of all he is 22 years old and after he sees Tatiana he claims he loves her. However at the same time while he is telling Tatiana he loves her he is fucking her sister and even gets engaged. Tatiana has to leave their apartment so her sister could have sex with Alexander in their bed because Tatiana shares her bed with her sister. And Alexander still claims he loves Tatiana! And later when they get out of Russia he just uses her for sex! Now I know some of you might say oh they are married it's okay but really, the sex scenes in this book...how was Alexander not the one who talked Tatiana into any of it? And oral sex scene...I am out of words here. I don't know, there was only 5 years difference between them but Alexander was way more a man than Tatiana was, she was still such a child so I am sorry but I do see Alexander as a pedophile in a way. Abusive relationships are not okay!!!

ROMANCE: Okay so I already mentioned above how this whole romance works in this book. Alexander says he loves Tatiana while having sex and proposing to her sister and of course poor naive Tatiana believes him and in her eyes he is just protecting her sister from being heart broken. Yeah right. 

GOOD: I like historical fiction books that take place during WWII and there were some elements that were taken from real history which is always a plus. 

BAD: Abusive relationship. Romanticising war. Unrealistic happy endings. Weird portraying of Russians. 

OVERALL: I cannot really believe I finished this book. But there is no way in the world I would ever go anywhere near it or anything written by Paullina Simons again. Ever. 

What do you think about THE BRONZE HORSEMAN?