Sometimes, I feel like I need a brain transplant, because I literally cannot see why so many people love rubbish books. I don’t know who recommended this to me, but that’s probably a good thing, because otherwise they’d be getting an earful. This book did not deliver on so many counts.
Firstly, the plot is daft. There are so many plot holes I could have driven a tank through them. For starters, there’s the stupid conflict with the main character being secretly American. Then there’s silly little things like a “mild case of TB” and Russians quoting Churchill in 1941. The rest of the narrative is like a landmine waiting to explode with everything from jarring sex scenes to poncey poetry references. And then there’s all the reasons the love interests aren’t together, which make literally no sense- bringing me onto point two…
The romance was trite and ridiculous. Far from being the heart-wrenching love story I was promised, it was basically about a couple of cheating jerks. For some reason, the author thinks a girl being in love with her sister’s boyfriend is romantic. And to add insult to injury, they spend half the time arguing about their perverse relationship. They always go something like this:
“Why are you still dating my sister?”
“Because you told me to- but I’ll stop seeing her immediately and tell her the truth right now.”
“No- you have to keep seeing her because I’m a selfless martyr and a loyal sister.”
I swear none of these arguments make any sense. Why is it better to have the guy you love carry on seeing your sister, instead of fessing up from the start? Why not just dump the sister and then date her? It wouldn’t have been such a big deal because they’d hardly been dating long. But no, that would have been too easy. Instead, they go behind her back for ages, until the sister conveniently dies and the whole conflict becomes irrelevant anyway. (This leads me back to point one- the plotting is terrible!)
In spite of this, Simons is desperate to convince us that Tatiana and Alexander are wonderful people (because obviously screwing over your sister and cheating on your girlfriend make you great people).
This brings me onto point three: the characters are abysmal. And not just because they’re badly drawn; they’re all unsympathetic arseholes as well. First off, Tatiana is a useless martyr. There are so many ludicrous inconsistencies with her character. We’re actually supposed to believe that she can jump off a moving train, but she’s too weak to stand up to her family and the perverts that are stalking her (both of them!). Then on top of that, we’re supposed to believe that she’s super intelligent and can learn a new language in a matter of months from an old phrasebook (cos she’s just that smart) but she can’t figure out how to buy some groceries. And don’t even get me started on how we’re supposed to respect her for giving away food in the middle of a siege. In this instance, I completely understand why her family’s pissed at her. She’s a complete moron.
Then there’s Alexander- who’s something of a plank of wood with feelings. Oh, and he’s something of a pervert. He basically just treats her like a little girl and we’re supposed to find that romantic.
In some warped attempt to justify their actions, the rest of the characters are a variety evil caricatures. Obviously, all of them are contrived to make her seem sympathetic. Because she needs an eclectic cast of abusers to be a proper Cinderella. So naturally, most of the other characters are drunkards, thieving spongers and low lives to make it seem like being a cheat is ok.
I swear this book has a really warped view of morality. I guess I’m really gonna need that brain transplant.
Rating: 1/5 bananas