Friday, December 3, 2010

Angel on the Square

Angel on the SquareAngel on the Square by Gloria Whelan

AR Reading Level: 5.6
On the library stacks: Children's/Young Adult Fiction
Series: Book 1 of 4 (Russian Saga)
Recommended for: Grades 6+

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I see this book all the time when I am in B&N or Borders on the table of "Required School Reading" but I've never known anyone who has actually read it. The cover looked appropriately wintery so I decided to give it a try. I got a lot more than I bargained for since this is a novel of the last Tsar's family in Russia during WW1 and the Revolution, as seen through the eyes of a teenage girl at court.

Katya Ivanova has grown up in the aristocracy of St. Petersburg. When Katya is 12-years old, her mother is chosen to the the lady-in-waiting for Empress Alexandra and Katya herself will be a playmate for the royal children. But Katya's cousin Misha has educated her to the changing mood in Russian society. The country is struggling and the Tsar turns a blind eye, especially when World War I begins.

This is a riches to rags story, that ultimately ends with the execution of the Romanov family. It's certainly a bleak period in history. It's a tough subject to tackle, especially for younger children. I felt the writing was clunky at times, particularly when it was heavy on the history and not so much on the story.

I can see why this is a book used in schools as there is certainly a lot to talk about and the history is accurately portrayed. But ultimately I guess I wish that it had been written for an older audience who would understand more of the nuances, such as why Rasputin was so controversial or why the Bolsheviks were so feared.

Also reviewed by: Through the Looking Glass Book ~ Your link here?

Book 49 of 50 for the RYOB Challenge, Book 48 of 50 for the YA Reading Challenge
Source: I have no idea how this book came into my possession, so I guess I'll say I purchased it!


bermudaonion said...

I've always been fascinated by the Romanovs, so this actually sounds like a book I might like.

Melissa said...

So, have you seen the new challenge that's been going around where bloggers swap lists? What do you think: you want to swap?