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I Belong

Review: Anastasia Forever by Joy Preble

Anastasia Forever (#3) by Joy PrebleTitle: Anastasia Forever

Author: Joy Preble

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Dreaming Anastasia (Book 3)

Publication Date: August 1, 2012

Format: Paperback, 304 Pages

ISBN-10: 1402268750 (Sourcebooks)

ISBN-13: 978-1402268755 (Sourcebooks)

Reviewed by: Sheila


Is it possible to change the past?


No one ever knew what happened to her except her half-brother, Viktor–and he’ll do anything to keep it that way.


She just wants a normal boyfriend, a normal family-no visions of the past, no evil mermaids, no Brotherhood trying to kill her. But Anne is not normal…and she’s capable of a lot more than she thinks.


He’s been eighteen for nearly a century, and finding Anne is the best thing that’s ever happened to him. But the magic in his blood is turning darker, forcing him to wonder whether he’s the most dangerous threat of all…

Quick & Dirty: Anne’s power comes with great responsibility and it’s time for her to accept it.

Opening SentenceAfter a certain number of lifetimes, one becomes capable of much if only out of sheer repetition.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Up until now, Anne Michaelson has had a hard time adjusting to all this “magic stuff.”  For a girl that would rather be making out with her boyfriend, time and time again she finds herself in the middle of events beyond her comprehension and control.  This installment sees Anne starting to put the pieces together that has been handed to her in the last two books.  She takes the initiative and starts being proactive, instead of reactive.  Now that Viktor is loose again, Anne and her friends must find a way to stop him, permanently, before he destroys them all.  Secrets uncovered and truths revealed, Anastasia Forever leaves us with a hunger for a brighter future than a fear of the unknown.

Each book in this series shines a light on a new Russian folktale.  This one highlights the story of Koschei the Deathless and the lengths he goes to secure immortality.  The “stories within stories” theme that reappears time and time again gives the character’s hints on how to deal with their current situations and in this case; Viktor and his recovered vitality.

Anne’s reluctance to get involved with all things magic has come to an end.  Even though she made a deal with Baba Yaga, she still tried to hide her head in the sand.  Her character has been acting selfless in regards to doing whatever it takes to save her friends, but it also shows her selfishness as well.  Only when she stands up and takes responsibility for her actions and the magic she now wields, can Anne truly understand how she has been treating everyone.

The losses that each of the females in her family, her mother and her grandmother (the rusalka), have suffered have had a profound effect on all.  Anne’s fear of losing anyone else makes her react rashly, without thought to her own safety.  Each lady’s response to loss within this story feels like a lesson for Anne.  Can she accept the consequences of her actions, even if it means the life of a loved one?  What is she willing to sacrifice to stop Viktor?

All of the hints and stories that Anne and Ethan have learned so far are brought together in a rather unique manner; they time travel to see the events for themselves.  Anne’s new ability to travel back and forth through time definitely gives them an advantage, especially since it seems that Viktor has learned how to do the same thing.  The key to defeating him lays within the past, and hopefully Anne can figure it all out before it’s too late.  I really like how this time traveling also helps Ethan and Anne’s relationship come into sharper focus.  It is like a severe form of couple’s therapy, where they both get to see each other’s deepest secrets.  After something that crazy, will they be able to move forward together or not?

This magical tale woven between the past, present, and future is as complex as it is gratifying.  I am grateful that some of the different aspects of this story come to fruition.  Love blossoms in unexpected places and deeply hidden emotions are dealt with.  Though Anne’s story is far from over, I look forward to a better future for her to live in.

Notable Scene:

“You taste like peanuts,” he says into my ear.  The feel of his mouth makes my stomach tighten and sends tingles to every part of my body.  God, I love baseball.

Ethan kisses me again, and I forget about the peanuts.  His lips graze lightly against mine and the feathery feel of his mouth on mine sets off sparklers low in my belly.

When the world begins to dip and shift and bend, at first I think it’s his kissing.  Damn, I think.  This is one spectacular kiss.

“Anne,” Ethan says.  It takes me a few seconds to register the alarm in his voice.  Has something happened to the peanuts?  Has he had some kind of mystical premonition that the Cubs are actually going to pull this out and win?

The plastic sack tips off his lap.  Peanuts tumble out, bouncing on the concrete and falling under the seats of the hot-dog-eating kids in front of us. The sound of the ballpark stretch out as if in slow motion-like how a siren wail changes as the ambulance streaks by.  Everything contracts.  Like paper cranes, I think suddenly. Our world is folding like we’re pieces of origami art.

“Hold on.”  Ethan grips my shoulders, and I feel the hard pressure of the chair arm against my belly as he clutches at me.  The world tilts again. Wind roars in my ears.

“Ethan.”  The word draws itself out for long seconds, then seems to catch on the wind and disappear.  My stomach dips.  Nausea rises in my throat.  So much for baseball.  You suck, baseball.  Just like the Cubs.

Dreaming Anastasia Series:

1. Dreaming Anastasia

2. Haunted

3. Anastasia Forever

FTC Advisory: Sourcebooks graciously provided me with a copy of Anastasia Forever.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys. 

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