Authors: Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Released: June 19th, 2019
Warnings: Graphic deaths
I received a copy of The Last Tsar’s Dragons through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The Last Tsar’s Dragons was a joint project between Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple. And being a massive fan of Yolen – and dragons – I knew right away that I wanted to check this novel out.
Set in a time when the Russian monarchy was still in control – but not for long – this novel envisions a world in which the royalty of the land had access to dragons. And all that they would have done with them.
The Last Tsar’s Dragons is a retelling of the Russian Revolution in many ways, but with one major and obvious change; dragons. This fantastical telling is exactly that; fantasy being infused into the real world.
“So the dragons took off, galloping out the door, filling the barn behind them with gold dust that left the dragon boys coughing madly.”
Warnings: So anytime you hear about dragons being used to control a population, you should probably expect to hear some graphic depictions of death and burning. That happens here in The Last Tsar’s Dragons.
If you’re a fan of fantasy and of reading about the Romanovs, then you’re going to absolutely adore The Last Tsar’s Dragons. It’s a fantasy version of the revolution and their forced hiding. And you can quite naturally guess what was added to these pages to make it a fantasy telling.
This was honestly an extremely interesting read. I’m not a historical expect (and I would love to hear an expert’s opinion on this book), but I was fascinated by what I read here. Jane Yolen and Adem Stemple had such a way of writing this tale. It felt organic and rich with history and lore, even taking into account all of the alternations that had to be made.
I do want to stress one point (which I think I’ve made an okay point of doing already, but better safe than sorry): there honestly is really only one major change in this retelling. In many ways, this is still the Russia of history, as are the characters that fill the pages. Dragons have been added to the plot, but the story itself hasn’t been completely altered. Some people may love that, but others may not. It really depends on what you’re looking for. And what you’re expecting, I think.
I’m a huge fan of seeing authors working together on projects like these. So I honestly can’t help but hope that we’ll see more novels from this duo. Or any other new pairing, I’m not picky. I just want to see Jane Yolen work with more authors. Her work would lend well to it.