Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Review: The Gathering Storm (Katerina Alexandrovna #1) by Robin Bridges

Title: The Gathering Storm
Author: Robin Bridges
Series: Book One in the Katerina Alexandrovna Series
Published By: Delacorte Young Readers (Jan. 10, 2012)
Genre: YA Paranormal/Historical
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
 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 Review:
I have always been fascinated with certain parts of history and the Russian Empire has always been a huge part of that.
I mean who wouldn't be fascinated with the legends of sorcerers and magic and evil? Not to mention the battles and everything associated with Russia's struggles in the late 1800's and early 1900's? 
Almost everyone I know can say that have heard of Anastasia and the infamous Rasputin. 
So when I saw this book and looked at all the combined topics of some of my favorite things to read, this was immediately put on my must read list.

I mean really, witches? Check.
Ghosts? Check.
Princesses, Kings, Tzars, Dukes, Dutchesses, Princes? Check.
Vampires and Werewolves? Check.
Wait (cue sound of record being drug across the needle).
Did you say witches, ghosts, royalty and vampires and werewolves too?
Can you see my eyes already lit up at the possibilities?
So you see, being a lover of history and reading about the paranormal and having them all in one nice little bundle of a book, well it was a no brainier.  Truly, I didn't even have to think about whether or not I would be reading this book, I just knew I would be.

Thankfully it lived up to my expectations. 

First of, even though I already somewhat said it, I loved the setting of this novel. 1888 St. Petersburg Russia. So wonderful. I love all the imagery involved in describing what could only have been a winter wonderland. I loved imagining all the balls and gowns and just the life of a royal during that time. It was beautiful.

I also loved the spin on this book. The fact that the citizens (especially the royalty) knew about the magic. They knew they were decended from the fae. And not just the fae but the light and the dark fae and that both belonged in the royal court.
Even though this is a time when witchcraft and the use of it is frowned upon and people are still being persecuted for it, it is still very much a part of life there.

I really liked Katerina and she struggles to with necromancy. It was fun reading about something a little different even in the world of paranormal. 
I like that this book had a slow start, that it describe a lot of Russia's history and background of the families first. That it didn't just jump into the action and leave you whirling wondering what was going on.

Truly by the end of the story it seemed there were many paths that the sequel could follow. Many things still left unsaid and undone (but in a good way!).

This was beautifully executed and I really grew to feel like I knew the characters and their personalities by the time the story was done.

I couldn't help but like Katerina and her whole family and want the best for them.

I am really looking forward to see what Bridges does with this series when the next one comes out. There are so many paths this story could take and still be fabulous.


  1. I was still on the wall about this one, but I think your review has convinced me to check it out. Thanks for the great review!

  2. If you like historical reads I think you will really like this one. :)

  3. Yours is the first real positive review I have seen on this one. Most people are dogging the Russian History lesson. I agree with you I love learning about different cultures. I am glad you liked it Ali.

  4. I was a bit disappointed in the paranormal portion, but the setting is beautiful. I will definitely try the next in the trilogy. Great review.
    -FABR Steph@FiveAlarmBookReviews

  5. I agree Steph that the paranormal was a little lacking, I am hoping there will be a little more in the second one. :)