Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2023) Featured Review of Daughters of a Dead Empire by Carolyn Tara O’Neil

Daughters of a Dead Empire by Carolyn Tara O’Neil
Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: February 22, 2022
ISBN: 9781250755544

Anastasia Romanov is the sole survivor of the slaughter of Russia’s royal family at the hands of the Bolshevik Red Army. Anastasia knows she must get to safety before the Red Army realizes she is not among the dead and tracks her down to finish the job. Anastasia enlists the reluctant help of a teen Bolshevik villager named Evgenia and, in spite of their differences, the two form an uneasy alliance as the Red Army closes in.

Anastasia Romanov’s story has inspired countless legends and stories over the years and, even though she most certainly did not survive the execution of her family, Daughters of a Dead Empire offers an intriguing glimpse at what might have been. Told from alternating perspectives, readers will come to understand the tensions among the Russian people at the height of the Bolshevik revolution. Both Anastasia and Evgenia are sympathetic characters who learn to appreciate each other’s perspective as the extremes of each side’s actions prove detrimental to all parties involved.

Fans of fast-paced historical fiction from Ruta Sepetys and Elizabeth Wein will find much to love here.

Courtney Waters

Other Nominated Titles:

  • Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf
  • The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin by Kip Wilson

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.