Queen of Tomorrow by Sherry D. Ficklin
Series: Stolen Empire #2
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing on July 14th 2015
Genre(s): Historical Romance (YA)
Sophie—now Catherine, Grand Duchess of Russia—had a tough first year at Imperial Court. Married at sixteen to Grand Duke Peter, heir to the throne, and settled in their own palace, things are finally looking up. As a new day dawns, she thinks only of securing her future, and the future of their country, during one of the greatest political upheavals of her time. Fighting desperately against forces trying to depose the Empress Elizabeth and put the young Prince Ivan on her throne, Sophie soon finds herself in the middle of a war brewing between her beloved Prussia, and her new empire. But even as she navigates the fragile political landscape, she quickly realizes that she has only begun to discover the tangled web of deceit and infidelity woven over the lavish court of Oranienbaum Palace.
When a strange and delicate alliance forms between the young couple, she glimpses a future of happiness, only to see it lost in a moment at the hands of those who still seek to end her life—and prevent her reign. Out of favor with the empress and running out of options, Sophie will have to sacrifice her own innocence on the altar of Russia if she is to save the nation, and herself. To survive, she will have to do the unthinkable, betray those closest to her and become something greater and more dangerous than she ever imagined she could be… a queen.
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
This is the second book in the Stolen Empire series, which is YA reimagining of Catherine the Great’s early life/rise to power (just a reminder she did not die while trying to have a sex with a horse, she had a stroke).
I really enjoyed the first book and I was excited to get into the rest of the series. Queen of Tomorrow starts about a year after Sophia (now Catherine) arrived in Russia. She is now married to the heir to the Russian throne, Peter, a mentally unstable brat that flaunts his mistress, Elizavetta, in Catherine’s face.
Living away from the Empress’s main court at the Oranienbaum Palace, Catherine has learned to navigate Peter’s erratic behavior and the people respect her far more than they do him. She does what she can to help the serfs while keeping the lords happy and she maintains careful peace at her court, (her husband thinks trying to shoot apples off the servants’ heads is a form of entertainment, she’s definitely good at her job). She found comfort in Sergei when she can and continues to try and forget Alexander.
This delicate balance changes when the Empress decides to end her alliance with Prussia, which is the whole reason Peter and Catherine married in the first place. She knows Peter would love to replace her and put Elizavetta in her place. They rush to the court in hopes that they will change the Empress’s mind. Once at court, Catherine struggles to find her place against Peter, his mistress, and the Empress.
I loved this book so much I read the whole thing on my phone while my kindle was charging. Catherine is everything I love in a female character. She’s strong, smart and clever. She grows as a character and when she falls, she picks herself up more determined than before. Some pretty awful things happen to her (rape/abuse) and she uses that as motivation.
All the characters are written well, they all have distinct personalities and characteristics. Peter is clearly a freaking sociopath. The Empress, you want to hate her because she does some despicable things but you can understand there is a reasoning for her actions.
A lot happens in such a short book but it doesn’t feel overwhelming, I think it flows pretty naturally. I loved the descriptions of the palace, and the gowns, and the balls. Everything was described so perfectly (also, how the frick did people function in those dresses? I have a hard time managing pants for a full day.)
But again, Catherine, was an amazing character; she has one of my new favorite lines “don’t wound anything you don’t intend to kill.” HOW GREAT IS THAT LINE?!
I highly encourage you to check out this series, especially if you are a fan of tv shows like Reign.