Series: Bolshoi Saga #3
Author: Elizabeth Kiem
Publisher: Soho Teen
Published Date:August 22nd, 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, YA
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The year is 1958, and sixteen-year-old Svetlana is stuck in a Moscow orphanage designated for the unwanted children of Stalin’s enemies. Ballet is her obsession and salvation, her only hope at shedding a tainted family past. Sveta’s dream is to make a new life as a dancer.
Her dream comes true: she’s invited to join The Bolshoi Ballet, whose power as a symbol of Soviet prowess is unmatched—except perhaps by the dreaded KGB secret police. Sveta is stunned when officers show up at her door. Inexplicably, they know about a fainting spell she once had: a trance she slipped into. Something like a vision.
Some very powerful people believe Sveta is capable of serving the regime as much more than a dancer. They want to enlist her against the West as a psychic spy. She must explore this other talent if she is to erase the sins of her family, if she is to dance on the world stage for the Motherland—if she is to survive.
"Three woman robbed of their fathers, hobbled by their mothers, left on their own. Three injured dancers- prisoners, pawns, and devoted acolytes of the Bolshoi Ballet."
When I first heard about this book and what it was about (History, and Spies) I knew I had to get my hands-on it and review it as soon as possible!
MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS IF YOU'RE READING IT IN AS A SAGA.
Rather you're reading this as a stand-alone or as the final one in the sage. I'm sure you will love reading about what started this journey and how Marina and then Lana were shaped because of Svetlana's choices.
Orphan Agent Prima Pawn is separated into four different parts just like the first two books in the saga Dancer Daughter Traitor Spy being the first and Hider Seeker Secret Keeper being the second book. Each part is a different stage in Svetlana's life all the way from being a child to an adult who is making very tough choices, in order to protect the ones she loves.
It starts off right where the second one ended with Lana meeting Svetlana and starting to learn what happened all those years ago. Told in memories that Svetlana has, we get to see what happened, as well as when we come back to present day, how Lana is handling/processing everything.
We see Svetlana deal with the stigma of being an Orphan (because of her parents becoming enemies of the people), and how she was able to overcome that with Ballet. Then, we see her mom come back into her life and put her in touch with a KGB person who thinks that the 'visions' Svetlana has can help the USSR gain information they need. Meaning Svetlana has to make tough choices when it comes to managing her Ballet career and working for the KGB. We see her find love and real happiness with Viktor and starting a family. And of course we have Georgi (Gosha) throughout the book as well. I really loved getting to see how exactly he was connected to the family, and why he was so loyal to them even after such a long time, and so many losses.
I absolutely loved this book! The history in it is very well researched, and the author did an amazing job of making it seemed like it really could have happened. The Russian language and traditions throughout were well explained, but not overdone. Learning about how Svetlana was able to know the secrets she did and what caused them and how she worked for the KGB was fascinating to me. Getting to see characters from the first one and how they all came to be together was really nice as well.
It was a wonderful conclusion to a three generation saga and I'm honestly going to miss these characters. (Can we get a companion Georgi novel?)
Thank you to Soho Teen for sending me a solicited physical copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!