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Anastasia Forever (Dreaming Anastasia Series #3)

Anastasia Forever (Dreaming Anastasia Series #3)

by Joy Preble

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Praise for Haunted:

"Spooky, sassy, sinister, and sexy!"—Cynthia Leitich Smith, New York Times bestselling author

Is it possible to change the past?


No one ever knew what happened to her except her half–brother,


Praise for Haunted:

"Spooky, sassy, sinister, and sexy!"—Cynthia Leitich Smith, New York Times bestselling author

Is it possible to change the past?


No one ever knew what happened to her except her half–brother, Viktor—and he'll do anything to keep it that way.


She just wants a normal boyfriend, a normal family–no visions of the past, no evil mermaids, no Brotherhood trying to kill her. But Anne is not normal...and she's capable of a lot more than she thinks.


He's been eighteen for nearly a century, and finding Anne is the best thing that's ever happened to him. But the magic in his blood is turning darker, forcing him to wonder whether he's the most dangerous threat of all...

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Bittersweet, beautiful, and absolutely breathtaking." - Saundra Mitchell

"If you enjoy a little magic and mystery and Russian Folk tales in your reading then I highly recommend you check out this series." - Sarah's Books and Life

VOYA - Diane Colson
Anne is back in Chicago, enjoying the sun at Wrigley Field with her (maybe) date, Ethan, when once again the earth begins a tumultuous bend that pushes the pair back in time, back again to the palace of the Romanovs. This is the third volume of the Dreaming Anastasia series, so Anne's reaction to all this is primarily fury that her date has been interrupted. Readers of the series will be pleased to see that Anne's spunk has not been dampened through her adventures with the witch Baba Yaga or through the evil machinations of her own ancestor, Viktor. She is still hanging out with her loyal sidekick, Tess, who keeps Anne sane with realistic assessments of the whole owned-by-a-witch/sucked-back-in-time conundrum. ("There is no palace here, Anne. Do you see a palace? . . . And oh yeah, I threw up a little on my new white shirt" [p. 58].) Anne's mystic connection with the Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov is overshadowed here by increased traffic in time and space travel, as well as stories revealed when one character enters the mind of another. For a reader who has not read the first two volumes, catching up on the backstory can be more than daunting. Although Preble manages the contrary story elements well (historical fiction, Russian folklore, contemporary teen life,) it is even harder to jump in and sort it out in volume three. References to earlier events—for example, "reminded me of that horrible day when . . ."—serve as teasers for interested readers to circle back and start at volume one. This book is definitely recommended to complete the series. Reviewer: Diane Colson
VOYA - Katherine Flinn
Anastasia Forever is a well-written book with a good mix of teenage drama and fantasy; however, as it is the third book in a series, it is hard to keep track of what is going on. Unlike many series, this was not written so that it could be a stand-alone book. People who have read the other two books in the series will enjoy this book. Reviewer: Katherine Flinn, Teen Reviewer
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Anne and Ethan are now dating but happily ever after will have to wait. Anne's magical powers have increased, yet controlling them is a challenge. Ethan begins to feel that his own powers might have a frightening darkness in them. The mixture of Romanov family history, Russian folklore, and modern-day American teen angst makes an intriguing combination. Anastasia's unrest is tragic and pitiable. Legendary Baba Yaga is nuanced and richly drawn. Tess, Anne's hip, sassy BFF, while a willing participant in Anne's time travels, is a solid connection to the 21st century. Scene for scene, Preble packs a punch. Vivid settings and thrilling action sequences are captivating. The frigid air in wintertime Russia and the nauseating confusion of unexpected time travel are palpable. Romantic scenes are tender and engaging. What is lacking is overall cohesion. The story is told from the alternating viewpoints of Anne, Ethan, and Tsar Nicholas's son Viktor. Even though each chapter is labeled accordingly, their voices (and those of the secondary characters) sound alike, so it is hard to keep the narratives straight. In addition, frequent location and era changes add to the confusion. Oblique references to the first two novels do little to get readers up to speed, so this title does not stand alone. Consider purchasing where the first two books are popular.—Jennifer Prince, Buncombe County Public Library, NC
Kirkus Reviews
The trilogy that began with Dreaming Anastasia (2009) comes to an exciting, if cluttered, conclusion. Magic and time travel back to Czarist Russia dominate the narrative as Anne and her century-old yet still age-18 heartthrob Ethan try to outwit their nemesis Viktor, who somehow has become immortal again. This series conclusion will make little sense to those who have not read the first two books, as everything depends upon knowledge of previous events. The time-travel segments stand out as the most interesting in the story, especially the trip to the Alexander Palace and the meeting with 10-year-old Princess Anastasia. Anne's parents become involved when her rusalka (Russian mermaid) grandmother shows up in the backyard sprinkler. Baba Yaga flies through the skies in a giant mortar and pestle, dispensing danger and advice. Ethan and Anne (mostly) share the narration, but readers will need to pay attention to which one is speaking, as their voices come across as nearly identical. They're a fairly standard-issue romantic pair, despite their exotic abilities. Viktor and Baba Yaga are more distinct and much more entertaining, as is Anne's friend Tess, who provides some comic relief. Although the various plot threads eventually tie themselves neatly together, they resemble a Gordian knot before that happens. Satisfying, but start with the first book. (Paranormal suspense. 12 & up)

Product Details

Publication date:
Dreaming Anastasia Series , #3
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


After a certain number of lifetimes, one becomes capable of much if only out of sheer repetition. Like a magician's sleight of hand, I learned to trick the world into seeing things the way I wanted.

Only later did I come to realize that there was more to my story than what showed on the surface. Magic has a price. Anything of value always does. It was one I was willing to pay. But even I did not understand the true cost.

When I was a boy, my mother told me the tale of Koschei the Deathless. My mother's eyes grew bright and her skin went pink as though the telling was of great importance. Later I would know why, but even then I understood I needed this story. Marina-for she let me call her by her name; it was only just the two of us after all-always knew.

I was Tsar Nicholas's son-not that my father ever acknowledged me. But Marina made sure I understood that it was both my truth and my destiny. It forced us all to places we might not otherwise have gone: my mother to Baba Yaga's forest, my father to a blind refusal to see what needed to be seen, and me...well, that is quite another tale.

"Stories within stories," Baba Yaga loves to say. "Secrets within secrets." How clever she thinks she is, this witch who has toyed with me since my mother first went to the forest to seek her. But she was not clever enough to stop me. Not clever enough to know the power of her words.

Koschei was a man who couldn't die. Or rather, who couldn't be killed. He had hidden his soul-as the tales go-inside the eye of a needle, tucked inside an egg that sat inside a duck, inside of a hare, locked in a solid iron box, and buried under a tree on some island that blinked and vanished as it saw fit.

As I grew older, I heard other versions. Sometimes the chest was made of gold. Sometimes the island was in a different ocean. Sometimes Koschei could be weakened. But always, always he lived. As long as his soul was hidden away, as long as he had made it impossible to find, he lived.

This was the seed my mother's story planted in me. That if I could not be my father's son, could not have the legacy of a tsar, immortality would have to suffice. I would cheat death and gain the knowledge and the power that came with living over and over.

I only knew this: I was willing to sacrifice my half sister for what I desired. My sweet Anastasia, who believed in me so deeply that, like our father, she blinded herself to what I really was. This is, I think, my only regret. That even as I found delight in the ease with which I was able to manipulate her to my cause, a piece of me ached at the destruction of this beautiful girl. Was I a monster? I prefer to see myself as a pragmatist. Still it pains me-the look on her face that day we came back from the forest. The day I lost my immortality and Anastasia chose to return to the fate that I believe would have been hers anyway. Although by then truth was a fluid thing for me; when I told her I was sorry, I was not lying.

I asked Baba Yaga to take me because there was no other way to survive. No other way to gain access to all that I was about to lose: the magic, the spells, the secrets that reside underneath. I could not be other than what I have become.

Still, even the witch was unsure of my motives. I took pleasure in that for it proved my strength. I had found a way to compel the mighty Baba Yaga. The Bone Mother. The Death Crone. She was mad with it, unable to do anything but snap up a Romanov.

For a long time now-at least as time goes in Baba Yaga's hut-I have belonged to the witch. She has owned my body and often my spirit, but not always my mind. And in those moments when she grew distracted or bored or mournful for her Anastasia and curious about Anne, I watched and learned and plotted. Always I knew there was a way. One day I understood what it was.

The witch had transformed my physical self by then-honed me down to bone in her own image. But as long as I breathed, as long as I could think and had strength enough to crawl, it was enough.

Koschei, I thought, as I brought the witch her sweet tea. Koschei, I repeated over and over in my mind as I huddled in the bed that was once Anastasia's. As I pulled the ragged comforter over the sticks that were my legs. Koschei, I said as the witch's black cat, her koshka, flicked its tongue at my fingers, harsh like sandpaper against skin as transparent as tissue. I bled onto the floor, deep red drops much thicker than anything else about me.

Here is what I hoped for that also came true: my great-great-granddaughter's heart betrayed her. Anne opened the door just enough. She let me free. She made her promises. And watched in shock as I rose from the dead.


Oh, the sweetness of the horror on their faces as Baba Yaga's horseman galloped off with me. I surprised them all: my captor, my descendant, my protégé. Even sweet Lily who falsely believed she would have her revenge. She swims still, cursed as a rusalka. I am free.

The story goes like this: no one leaves Baba Yaga's forest the same as he entered. And that is true for me. I have left much behind. But transformation is good for the soul. If I cannot be what I hoped, then I will be something else. Better to prevail than to bemoan my losses. My will is intact, my life eternal once more. This time I will be more vigilant.

Secrets within secrets. But I won't tell. They'll have to kill me. Except that's the point. They can't.

Meet the Author

Joy Preble grew up in Chicago where— possibly because she was raised by an accountant and a bookkeeper—she dreamed of being a back up singer, but instead earned an English degree from Northwestern. Eventually, she began to write books so she could get paid for making up stuff. She now lives in Texas with her family, including a basset/boxer mix rescue dog named Lyla— who never met a shoe she didn't want to eat. Visit Joy at joypreble.com

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