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The Empress Chronicles by Suzy Vitello
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The Empress Chronicles

by Suzy Vitello

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I hope there will be a sequel to this, because the connection between the two girls built up very slowly, until we finally see why the diary was so important, and then ends.

The premise of the book was fascinating. Two girls connected through time by a diary, their story interwoven. It’s what first drew me to this book when I saw it on Netgalley. The fact that she based it on history made it even more interesting. Suzy Vitello took an historical figure Empress Elizabeth of Bavaria and Emperor Franz Joseph, and introduces a sci-fi/fantasy twist to it, something I love.

Sissi was an interesting character, full of life and beauty. Her childhood was interesting, somewhat bohemian (though, as in the Glossary says, it was not as well documented). Her growth from the nursery to womanhood is interesting, mostly because she finds her “true love” during that turning point. Seeing her story develop was interesting.

What was more interesting than that however, was Liz’s story. I found myself feeling sorry for everything that she had been and was going through, I just wanted to know more. I found myself more connected to Liz than to Sissi (Elizabeth), though that might have been because I found Sissi more immature than Liz. Probably unfair of me, but there it is. I couldn’t put the book down, and wanted to find out what would happen next with Liz and Sissi.

Vitello’s writing was gripping-I even made notes at parts that gave me “chills”. My only complaint, as I mentioned earlier, is that the build up was slow, so that I was wondering when we were getting to the part where the “two heroines will meet, and it is through their interwoven story that Liz will discover she has the power to rewrite history…” This was almost a constant thought throughout the book. Aside from that, though, this was a great find. Pretty please tell me there will be a second book! ( )
  kelsey.hintzman | Feb 10, 2015 |
I would like to thank NetGalley & Diversion Books for granting me a copy of this e-ARC to read in exchange for an honest review. Though I received this e-book for free that in no way impacts my review.

Goodreads Blurb:
"In this dazzling novel from the author of THE MOMENT BEFORE, one courageous girl seeks keys to the past to unlock the future…

When city girl Liz is banished to a rural goat farm on the outskirts of Portland, the 15-year-old feels her life spiraling out of control. She can’t connect to her father or his young girlfriend, and past trauma adds to her sense of upheaval. The only person who seems to keep her sane is a troubled boy who is fighting his own demons. But all of this changes in one historical instant.

One-hundred fifty years earlier, Elisabeth of Bavaria has troubles of her own. Her childhood is coming to a crashing end, and her destiny is written in the form of a soothsaying locket that has the ability to predict true love. But evil is afoot in the form of a wicked enchantress who connives to wield the power of the locket for her own destructive ends.

When Liz finds a time-worn diary, and within it a locket, she discovers the secrets and desires of the young Bavarian princess who will one day grow up to be the legendary Empress of Austria.

It is in the pages of the diary that these two heroines will meet, and it is through their interwoven story that Liz will discover she has the power to rewrite history—including her own...

Readers of books like Rachel Harris’s MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY will love THE EMPRESS CHRONICLES."

What begins a bit slowly and awkwardly develops into a charming and intriguing story. The characters are interesting and realistic, and the arc of the story smooths out and paces itself after the slightly rough beginning. This story will leave you eager for the next installment in the saga detailing the mystically intertwined lives of two young women from completely different eras. Liz, a mentally ill girl from today, and Sisi, the soon to be Empress of Austria, from 150 years ago.

The story is laid out so that each girl has her own chapter, and their individual stories are parceled out ping ponging between the two. As easy as it is to see the differences, it is also surprisingly easy to spot unexpected similarities. One would hope that women's lives would change for the better over the course of 150 years, but many unpleasantries are still as present today as they were during Sisi's lifetime.

The character of Liz was a bit difficult for me to care for in the beginning, but as time went by and the focus began slipping away from her OCD more and more often, I found a person that I was drawn to. The more she focused on Sisi's story, the more invested I became in both their lives. I am most interested to see how their conjoined futures will play out in this tale.

And I find the concept of a sorceress, Lola Montes, and how she's portrayed, to be eminently fascinating. Watching as Sisi's attitude toward her changes also is enlightening, particularly during a final scene with her governess. I have to wonder if that scene can be taken at face value, or if there isn't something more going on. Something nefarious perhaps? Then we have Liz's therapist, who would have been considered a sorceress or witch during Sisi's time. Is it chance that of all the therapists Liz might have she ends up with Dr. Greta, who is seemingly responsible for lighting Liz's spark of interest in Sisi? And with Dr. Greta's familial history with Sisi's governess and her relations, there are simply too many paths to chose from for where that story goes.

This is certainly one saga which I shall eagerly be awaiting the next volume, with high hopes that it will be in my hands soon. I am emotionally caught up in the lives of Sisi and Liz, and anxious to see if what Liz suspects will end up being true. So many questions remain to be answered, and so much time until the next book will be released! ( )
  Isisunit | Oct 4, 2014 |
This was a very interesting book. The story flowed nicely, keeping my attention the entire time. It was also helpful that the author gave information about what OCD is and the causes as well as a glossary for the historical parts of the book.
  A.R.Lynn | Sep 8, 2014 |
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