Series: Bolshoi Saga #1
Author: Elizabeth Kiem
Publisher: Soho Teen
Published Date: August 13th 2013
Genre: YA, Spy, Mystery, Dance, Russia
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★.5
Marya is a ballet dancer born of privilege; her mother, Sveta, is the most popular ballet dancer in the Soviet Union and its glamorous face to the West.
When Sveta disappears, Marya and her father suspect their own lives are in danger and arrange a harrowing defection. Marya is certain that her father is doomed to be murdered at their new home in Brighton Beach, where his closest friends are unapologetic criminals . . . she’s “seen” him die.
Soon she’s drawn into web of intrigue that ultimately reveals the truth about her gift of foresight, her mother's disappearance, and a boy she cannot bring herself to trust.
"She knows something she should not. Something damaging. Something compromising. I don't know how. I didn't.. I mean I don't know how. You know that she has a sort of sixth sense."
Russia in the 80s was a dangerous place for everyone, there was the constant fear of losing your place or possibly saying something that someone else thought was bad. Marya's mother Sveta was a world known Russian Ballerina, because of that she was given special treatment most of the time, but it also means that the whole family was watched more closely by the government.
"my mother has been given certain freedoms—as an artistic trophy, a cultural emissary. She no longer performs, but she is still a diva. And she’s something of an insurance policy. She’s loyal."
Marya is also a top Ballerina one that will eventually most likely take her mother's place in the public eye. This is a spot that Marya wants, but is also unsure of it seems. She's unsure of it because both her and Sveta have these types of black outs or visions where they can see either the past (Sveta) or the future (Marya). Russian Ballet in the 80s was also changing more and more people were leaving for America in secret, leaving the rest of them being closely watched.
One night after practice Marya has a vision into the future that leaves her confused and upset. On top of that Sveta isn't there to pick her up. Once home her dad knows something, but won't tell her and things start to go downhill. Uncle Georgi who works in the black market and is known to cause more trouble than he is worth, actually proves to be useful in this situation saves their lives.
Once they've made it to America things are very different. They must start over without using their real names or previous careers.
"It won't end like this. This will end differently. I know how exactly, but it will end. And when it does, we can talk about the past and the future. But right now is just this present."
Marya (Marina now) really tries to make it work in her new world. She goes to school and makes friends, Lindsay who is, way to obsessed with mobsters. She misses ballet to much and she takes a risk with the help of her other new friend Ben's who is, also from Russia. With her father's approval and a new mission (to spy on the other Russians in the ballet) that could help them really improve their lives in America, Marina starts ballet again. After awhile, one thing leads to another and before you even realize it's happening things have gotten very complicated and dangerous. Between the Russian Mafia, Government Men (possibly Russian or maybe American.), and Marina's new friends she doesn't know who to really trust or tell her secrets to.
"I was wrong all along. I'd thought that this whole tragedy was caused by something bigger than me.. But it's not.Overall I really liked this story. The Russian parts at first were a little confusing, but after awhile I started to understand it a little bit. Knowing nothing about Ballet, and very little about Russia in general especially during the Cold War. I found it all very interesting, and once they got to America. Learning about how Russians were able to start over in America and the new dangers they faced were exciting and interesting.
It's smaller than any of that...
It's men following order like dogs chase their tales."
While Marina did have to deal with a lot, she did it as good as she could and she handled it all better than I thought she would. She knew the risks she was taking, but did it because she thought it needed to be done. Her father was and with an Uncle who is known to cause trouble, she was basically alone for the most part when it came to learning how to juggle her ballet life and the role she plays there and her new school.
I can't wait to read the second book and she what happens next!