Queen of Always (The Stolen Empire #3) by Sherry Ficklin

  • Print Length: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing (September 15, 2015)
  • Publication Date: September 15, 2015

If her time at court has taught Catherine anything, it's that there is no room for weakness in Imperial Russia. With the Empress' health failing and rumors of a change in the line of succession, her place in the royal line is once more in jeopardy. 

Tormented by her sadistic husband and his venomous mistress, Catherine must once more walk the fine line between pleasure and politics—between scandal and survival. 
When her young son becomes the target of those rebelling against Peter's reign, Catherine will have to rise up to protect herself, her child, and her nation from his unstable and potentially catastrophic rule. This means putting herself at odds with the most dangerous man she's ever known, trusting those who once proved to be her enemies, and turning a nation against its sovereign. In the ultimate battle for the crown, new alliances will be forged, loyalties will be tested, and blood will be shed. 

Don't miss this breathtaking conclusion to the Stolen Empire series! 

Queen of Always is a YA historical fiction based on the life of young Catherine the Great. Fans of the hit TV show REIGN will devour this scandalous glimpse into the life of one of the most dynamic women in history.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Stakes are truly high in the enthralling conclusion to The Stolen Empire Series. Boundaries are no longer being tested, but are being run through with an all-consuming power, motivated by self-preservation, greed, and the desire for stability.

In Queen of Always, we find each character stretched beyond their limits. No longer do they have the luxury of redemption. All that is left, is to press further into the destruction and devastation of their own making, with only their hope and faith that someday, they can once again find their way back to their humanity.

To say that in their own way that the characters lost touch with their sanity would be a vast understatement. The Empress’ condition has remained the same, if not steadily declined, out of sheer spite towards Catherine, refusing to relinquish her power. Because of the miscalculated expiration of the Empress, Catherine is now left to endure Peter’s antics singularly. Since Peter’s desire for the thrown has gone unquenched, his tantrums have only begun to metastasize, infecting the whole of the court with his ill-conceived policies.

It quickly becomes apparent to Catherine that she can no longer devote her passions to simply ensuring her happiness with Serguei and Alexander. It has now fallen upon her to save herself, her lovers, her son, and the whole of Russia.

Sherry Ficklin has done an impeccable job concluding this series. In Queen of Tomorrow, we were taken on a journey in which the characters were presented with several options, yet chose the more difficult options more often than not. In Queen of Always, she cemented the decisions by showing that they had each backed themselves up against a wall of their own making, their only hope for survival being to simply bear the unbearable. In one way or another, the weight of such a life broke each one of them, yet Catherine was able to thrive in the one way that mattered. Even through her misdeeds, she left the crucible stronger than when she entered.

Ficklin’s ability to take historical events and wrap them into a captivating tale is remarkable. She took the lives of those we now find ourselves so removed from and made them relatable. Even though I am separated by centuries and nobility from Catherine, I feel that I have learned something from her, specifically in this portrayal. I matters not whether her character in this work is more fictional than accurate. What does matter is that she illustrates a strong woman, who when faced with the unthinkable, still perseveres.  

I give Queen of Always 5 out of 5 stars. I loved this series from the very start and am so sad to see it go. Queen of Always draws a breathtakingly haunting ending to a perfectly penned YA series.