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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Alexi Petterov and the Curse of the Gypsy Prince by Paul S. Nowak is the first book in The Blue Rose Saga. Alexi's life has already been planned out, just as it was for his father and every generation before him. Every day has the same routine with chores on the farm and studies before bed. Then comes the day the whole village waits for every year: the day the gypsies arrive. When his father gives him permission to go, Alexi doesn't hesitate to see all there is. Then a mysterious gypsy captures his attention with stunning paintings of amazing places. Alexi receives an unexpected offer and is given a choice: stay in the life planned for him or accept an invitation to see the world. Stefan is the charming and mysterious stranger who offers Alexi the opportunity to see the world, which puts Alexi in the position of thinking about what he wants for his future. For the first time, he has an opportunity to see more than just his village, but his loyalty to his family makes him hesitate. He's always been a farmer's son which made up not only his destiny but his identity. Despite this, the love and loyalty he has for his family leave him conflicted between his family duty and an amazing chance to see places he could only dream of.
The story is quick and action-packed, a love story with sweet moments and magical places brought to life. Paul S. Nowak gives a unique commentary on the function of magic through perspective and wonder. Magic plays a key component in Alexi's journey as he discovers this world beyond everything he's ever imagined. Nowak strikes a balance between Alexi's life with his family where he spends his days working and daydreaming, and the carefree and exciting adventures waiting for him with Stefan. Alexi Petterov and the Curse of the Gypsy Prince at times is reminiscent of a romantic comedy, capturing the humor, carefree sweetness, and charming goofiness of a love story - then Nowak pulls you back into the action to remind you this is also a story of adventure, danger, growing up, self-discovery, curses, and magic.