Book Review: The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

The golden skies, the translucent twilight, the white nights, all hold the promise of youth, of love, of eternal renewal. The war has not yet touched this city of fallen grandeur, or the lives of two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha Metanova, who share a single room in a cramped apartment with their brother and parents. Their world is turned upside down when Hitler’s armies attack Russia and begin their unstoppable blitz to Leningrad.

Yet there is light in the darkness. Tatiana meets Alexander, a brave young officer in the Red Army. Strong and self-confident, yet guarding a mysterious and troubled past, he is drawn to Tatiana—and she to him. Starvation, desperation, and fear soon grip their city during the terrible winter of the merciless German siege. Tatiana and Alexander’s impossible love threatens to tear the Metanova family apart and expose the dangerous secret Alexander so carefully protects—a secret as devastating as the war itself—as the lovers are swept up in the brutal tides that will change the world and their lives forever.

Rating:

F

*WARNING: RAGE RANT*

Jesus fucking rollerblading Christ.

No. Fuck no. I can’t do it anymore. You wanna read a historical love story with imperfect main characters? Go read Karleen Koen’s Dark Angels.

You wanna read a story about how fucked up Stalin and the Soviet Union were pre, during and post WWII? Go read The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956.

You wanna read an in-depth history of the European campaigns of WWII? Go read The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945.

You wanna read a book about two of the most self-centered assholes in the history of literature? READ THIS BOOK.

We meet our female lead, Tatiana, the day the Nazi’s invade Russia. Her family freaks the fuck out, like everyone else in the country does, and they immediately spring into action, sending their only son to “safety”, other family members to get money out of the banks and their idiot youngest daughter, Tatiana, to go get food to stockpile. Does she understand the severity of the situation? NO. She fucking reads for a little while after everyone leaves because she never gets alone time.

Okay, so that might be understandable because the girl is sixteen and has no idea what the reality of war is like (<- this is what I told myself to keep from getting pissed). Then when she finally does go to get food she starts to notice that there are lines everywhere and places are sold out of the things she barely remembers that they need.

IMAGINE FUCKING THAT.

Of course she starts to frantically run around the city in fucking high heels and a pretty dress because it was Sunday and she wanted to look nice. How dafuq you gonna carry that much food in ill-fitting heels, Tania? You think about that? No, no you fucking didn’t. You were too preoccupied with looking pretty, you vapid little nitwit.

So, running around, running around. “I have to catch this bus to get to the next grocery store in time but OH, IS THAT ICE CREAM?” No. No you are NOT going to stop and eat fucking ice cream right now (<-this is my disbelief talking). But oh yes, yes she fucking is. Because she is a self-centered asshole.

It’s while sitting on a bench and eating her ice cream, her beautiful long blonde hair flowing around her in the summer breeze, that she meets the second most self-centered asshole in the history of literature, Alexander Belov. Guess what? He’s hot. He also saves her day by letting her into the officer’s section of the grocery store so she can buy supplies to her heart’s content. Then he and a buddy carry them all home for her because she can’t because she’s in fucking heels and has blisters.

IMAGINE FUCKING THAT.

And so begins the basis of their entire relationship. It can be summed up in one quote:

“She needs me so much to take care of her… And I desperately need to take care of her.”

That’s it. That’s the entirety of this “love” story. It’s nothing but Tatiana being a fucking TSTL little Mary Sue and Alex playing the fucking white knight to her damsel in distress.

I know what you’re thinking.

Welp, sorry to break the news but

So Alex and Dimi, his rat of a friend, help Tania bring the supplies home and lo and behold what do we discover? That the handsome soldier our female lead has been lusting after is actually DATING HER SISTER.

Meet Dasha, the only decent person in the first two hundred pages of this book (that’s as far as I got). Because Dasha is a good person she gets completely fucked over. Wanna know how??? Her boyfriend and sister proceed to fall in love behind her back.

Does Alex realize what’s happening and do the right thing by breaking up with her? Hell no, he’s a self-centered asshole, remember? He’s also a fucking sadist because he parades his relationship with Dasha in front of Tatiana, who he secretly sees every fucking day.

Does Tatiana tell her sister what’s going on? Hell no, she’s a self-centered asshole, remember? She’s also a fucking masochist because she continues to see Alex even with him dating her sister and acting like a monumental douche.

So that’s it. Self-centered asshole sadist with a hero complex meets self-centered asshole masochist with princess syndrome. They fall in love and their theme song is FUCK EVERYONE ELSE. They’ll probably dance to it at the wedding, wide smiles on their asshole faces as they fucking tango across the graves of those they sacrificed on the altar of their love.


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