The Patriots (★★★☆☆)

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Sana Krasikov   *   Spiegel & Grau   *   January 24, 2017   *   560 Pages

Advanced Reader Copy provided by publisher through Net Galley and Amazon Vine.

The Patriots is a sweeping, multi-generational saga that focuses mainly on two characters. First, American-born Florence Fein travels to Russia in the 1930s. Despite her good (and almost unbelievably naive) intentions, she gets herself in a whole lot of trouble while living there. She’s accused of serious betrayals, and though she goes to great lengths to save herself, in the end, she is separated from her son and sent away to a labor camp. The second main character is Florence’s Russian-born son, Julian, who lives in the U.S. but decides to travel back to Russia in 2008 in order to better understand his mother’s troubled past.

Let me start off by saying that plenty of people are going to love this book. If you are really into historical fiction, this is your jam. For me, however, reading this book was torture. It took me three days to get through the first 25 pages. At the 100-page mark, I was still bored stiff–and there were 450 pages left to go…

The weird thing is that I actually liked Florence, and even Julian, most of the time. The story is technically full of adventure. Love, betrayal, torture, murder, family conflict, and more are thrown into the mix. But, dear Lord, the storytelling is so dull. The pace is slow, slow, slow. Things do pick up at the end, but getting there is such a painful slog.

I’m giving the book three stars because the premise is interesting and the characters are somewhat engaging. But, ugh, I’m so glad to be done with this one.

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