4 out of 4 stars
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Forgotten Titles by Emma Wong is an entertaining and adventurous book of historical fiction and has some science-fiction characteristics. Ignaty Grinevitsky had small beginnings. Born to parents who owned property in Eastern Poland and lived a simple farm life, he knew what it was to start small. His life as one of the chief writers for an underground student newspaper at his university changed things for him. The balance between the poverty of peasant life and the aristocracy of Russia caused many young people to question how things should be. Who had the right to a title, and if that title is that of Tsar, then does he have the right to decide who lives better or worse? As like-minded thinkers and possible revolutionaries, Ignaty has to determine these questions and more. To find out the answers, you must step into the history of Russia in 1881 and allow this book to lead you through time.
The cover of this novel is perfect. I love how it captures the excitement, adventure, revolution, and especially the fear of one of the eras in this novel. Emma Wong is a talented writer and a promising historical novelist.
What I liked best about this novel is the way I stepped into the year 1881 in Russia. The descriptions were vivid, and I pictured each scene easily. I could feel the unsettled aspect of the political setting during that era and how it affected every walk of life within the confines of Russian society.
The character development in this work was solid. I enjoyed the many-faceted characters from different classes. The values and views that they injected into this story added variety and flavor to the color of its literary tapestry. The in-depth discussions about right and wrong in this book help readers adjust to the concepts of balance in life. I liked that part of the narrative. Much of the book's plotline is written around seeing the big picture. This viewpoint helps readers evaluate life on this planet as a whole rather than as separate classes of humans.
The religious quality of this book will cause readers to re-evaluate how they spiritually perceive the world. The figment of Asa's imagination in the story will bring deeper meanings to history and allow for the importance and implications of rights and wrongs to come home for the reader regarding the book's title.
As far as negatives for this work, I did have a slight problem with how the second part of the book began. After beginning the book in 1881, a particular place in history, I felt that the second half should have started with a set time as well. The chapter subtitle that references the future was too vague for me, and I immediately questioned where I was. I knew I was in Chicago in the advanced future because technology mentions such as air conditioning indicated a jump in time. The reader should not constantly be asking, "When am I?" That element could have been a bit more clearly defined to help the reader stay firm in the perception of how the story is drawing one along the path to the end.
This book is exceptionally well edited. I found no typographical errors in it. I noticed a few things about the formatting that could use a little help. The Table of Contents read like a book outline in chronological order rather than subtitles that keep a reader guessing. To some readers, this may help keep the different time elements of the story separate and straightforward, but considering the mysterious component of the book, this was too obvious. I also found that the different colors of text used in the chapter headings interrupted the reading flow.
I cannot recommend this book to a young audience as severe profanity appears on occasion. It will appeal most to students of history and those who love adventure and a fast-moving plot. I appreciated the attention to detail that this writer included. I loved how each setting felt, and I enjoyed traveling through each event with the characters while watching how they coped with the hand they were dealt in life. The spiritual thread of the plot in this novel wraps religious context into past and present and adds to the story without causing it to become a religious book. This feature makes it appropriate for readers who are religious or non-religious.
Without further ado, I rate this book with 4 out of 4 stars. I didn't feel that the formatting adjustments were enough to detract from its rating. I recommend this book to mature readers who enjoy historical novels with a mysterious twist.
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