Monday, January 9, 2012

Review: The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release date: January 10, 2012
Number of Pages: 400
Where I got this book: Netgalley eARC
My rating: 3.5/5
Summary 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?"

First, a big thank you to Delacorte and Netgalley for the chance to read and review this book!
If you love paranormal, this book has it all: vampires, witches, zombies, and necromancers. If you like historical fiction, it's got you covered there too - 19th century royal Russia. Katerina is an interesting character. She desperately wants to attend medical school and become a doctor, though this is almost unheard of in her country and period of time. Her father completely supports her, but her mother is only concerned with marrying her off to royalty. She comes to realize that she has the ability to raise the dead, which is considered the darkest of all magical powers. She tries to keep this a secret, but the knowledge falls into the wrong hands and she becomes highly sought after by evil people for her abilities. She comes to find out that evil forces are all around her, and within those that she would least suspect. She has to make a decision - join the dark side and keep her family safe, or fight for what she believes in.
The plot of this story was very interesting, and I was intrigued by the setting and time period. It was definitely different from other paranormals that I've read. I thought that Katerina's character was well developed and very likeable. Bridges' writing style was great - the plot was very fluid, and the writing wasn't too "flowery" but descriptive and easy to read.
You'll notice I only rated it 3.5/5, so I need to explain why. This book had a LOT going on in it - I think, a little TOO much, actually. There were all these different paranormal beings involved, and a bunch of different families, all with different royal just got really confusing. I kept coming across names that seemed to be integral to the story and thinking "ok, who was that again?" and having to page back. There were just too many people involved. Also, all those long Russian names...and they are used a LOT, made me spend a lot of time stumbling over pronunciations. This may not be a big deal for some readers...but it made it harder for me to enjoy.
I also felt like Katerina's "romance" with George came out of nowhere. I don't want to give anything away here, so I'm not going to give specifics. I just felt like it was very unrealistic. I'm curious to see how their relationship plays out in the next book.
Overall, this series has a lot of potential. It is interesting, and there is a lot of excitement (but not enough romance, in my opinion). I can see this trilogy becoming very popular, and I think it would make an excellent movie! I would recommend this to fans of historical fiction/paranormal.

This review can also be found on Goodreads and Netgalley.


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