Sunday, November 27, 2011

Review: "The Gathering Storm" by Robin Bridges

From Goodreads:  St. Petersburg, Russia, 1888. As she attends a whirl of glittering balls, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret: she can raise the dead. No one knows. Not her family. Not the girls at her finishing school. Not the tsar or anyone in her aristocratic circle. Katerina considers her talent a curse, not a gift. But when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue.

An evil presence is growing within Europe's royal bloodlines—and those aligned with the darkness threaten to topple the tsar. Suddenly Katerina's strength as a necromancer attracts attention from unwelcome sources . . . including two young men—George Alexandrovich, the tsar's standoffish middle son, who needs Katerina's help to safeguard Russia, even if he's repelled by her secret, and the dashing Prince Danilo, heir to the throne of Montenegro, to whom Katerina feels inexplicably drawn.

The time has come for Katerina to embrace her power, but which side will she choose—and to whom will she give her heart?

My Thoughts:  I received this book from NetGalley (Random House Children's Books) in exchange for a fair review.  I am fascinated by tsarist Russia so when I saw a book that combined paranormal aspects with late Imperial Russia, I knew I had to read it.  The Gathering Storm combines historical figures with vampires, zombies and necromancers in a battle to protect Tsar Alexander III and Russia from the forces of evil.  Katerina is a great character; a strong girl with her own mind who wants to study medicine in a country where it is forbidden.  She is definitely a character that a young girl could look up to despite the fact that she is able to raise the dead.  I also loved the character that Ms. Bridges created out of Grand Duke Georgi Alexandrovich; he is tough but caring.  He is not a common figure in books about the Romanovs mainly because he died young.  I am curious as to how Ms. Bridges will address this in future books but I am sure it will tie into some great battle between good and evil.  I also think it will be interesting to see how Ms. Bridges will continue the story of Princess Alix (Empress Alexandra) in future books because she alludes to the fact that there is something not right about here.  At times the story bordered on silly but overall, the it was entertaining and fun, definitely a great mix between historical fiction and paranormal genres.  4 stars.

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