If I were to make a list of books that I was greatly disappointed by before I even finished half of it, this would be high on the list. Granted, the main reason why it took so long for me to finish was because I took out an ebook copy from the library to read during my vacation, during which I had hardly any free time for reading.
That aside however I doubt I would've finished reading the book in a few days, mainly because it dragged on and on and on and without anything to keep the interest fueled.
If most of the Russian nobles behaved liked Natalya did at the time of the Russian Revolution then I daresay they deserve what they got. She was such a ridiculously flat character despite the attempt to make her try to see both sides of the story and her attempt to mediate between the Red and White position, but the whole thing was just groan, groan, groan. As soon as Leo appeared in the story it was predictable what his role was, how his relationship with Natalya would turn, and how Natalya and her friend (who was so unmemorable I can't recall her name) would end up finding the differences between them and part ways. I didn't care much for her romance with Alexei - again, it felt flat and forced. I found it hard to believe they actually loved each other that much, despite the constant reminder every few pages that kept telling me so.
It was a predictable and disappointing book, in short, where the only character that I enjoyed was Leo, and even then it was only certain aspects of his personality that I admired. Otherwise this didn't live up to the expectations I harbored after reading the very promising summary. I found it easy to skip several paragraphs at a time and still keep up with the plot.
The only reason why I give it a 2, despite feeling that this is more of a 1-star, is because this book still somehow managed to convey the atmosphere of Imperial Russia, which is one of my favourite time periods to study, especially after the very in-depth look we took into Russia in the 20th century in my history course this year. My love for the historical aspect is the only reason why I give this book a 2-star rating.
This wasn't the beautifully crafted, clever book with a gripping plot line, a romance worth saving, and a clever heroine. It was bland, predictable and, at times, the whole story about the egg felt a tad too ridiculous even that it makes one want to pull Rasputin back from his grave to give him a lecture on irresponsible magic casting.