Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Gathering Storm (The Katerina Trilogy Vol. 1) by Robin Bridges

From the publisher:
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 know.  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 used 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 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:
OK, I, like so many who have reviewed this novel about a 16 year old necromancer living in Imperial Russia, have to rely heavily on the publisher's blurb for a succinct description of what this book is about.


I found The Gathering Storm to be very confusing in some places, but they were important places as far as the story goes.  First, this version of tsarist Russia is divided into two courts - the light and the dark - and apparently a member of the light court can't marry someone from the dark court.  So when future blood drinker Prince Danilo of the dark court shows and interest in Katerina, her mother is ecstatic.  Unknown to mom, Danilo needs her necromancer blood to become a full fledged vampire on his 18th birthday.  But George Alexandrovich of the light court is also interested in Katerina.  Both know her secret, but the tsar's son can read her mind as well.

George Alexandrovish brings me to the subject of names.  There are so many confusingly similar Russian names in this novel and I kept getting everyone mixed-up.  Confusion of characters sometimes led to confusion about the action - which court was so-and-so connected to and why is this important for that court?  I would have liked a list of who's who for the dark and the light courts, partly because Russian names are unfamiliar and confusing to American readers and so many names are mentioned throughout the novel.

Did I enjoy The Gathering Storm?  You bet I did, despite my confusion complaints.  I found Katerina to be a delightfully unreliable narrator, George Alexandrovish very sexy and Danilo just scoundrelly enough to be very seductive (and I envisioned his sister Elena looking very Kim Kardashianish for some reason.)  By the end of this first volume of The Katerina Trilogy, I did have a better understanding of the two court and who belonged to which, though it was disconcerting while reading.  And I had most of the people worked out, and luckily, some of them didn't make it to the end of the story, making things simpler, as least for the moment.

On the whole, therefore, I found The Gathering Storm to be loaded with action, conspiracies and intrigue all swathed in a wonderful paranormal wrapping and wonderful descriptions of balls and ball gowns. And I can't wait to read the second volume, The Unfailing Light, available on October 9, 2012.

All in all, I would give The Gathering Storm 3 1/2 stars.

This book is recommended for readers age 13+
This book was obtained from the publisher.

This is book 1 of my Spooktacular Paranormal Reading Challenge hosted by Marie at Ramblings of a Daydreamer


  1. I like the tsarist Russia twist, but I can see why this might have been confusing -- dark court, light court, and keeping track of all of the different royals and whose side they're on. But it does sound like it's worth a read! Great review.

    1. Thanks, Nickie, I also like the tsarist Russia twist, and it really had the feel of that time period. It is definitely worth reading if you like paranormal novels.

  2. I love that you really enjoyed this book despite the confusion you exerienced. I think the plot sounds fascinating and I have made myself a note that if I pick it up to read- that I should first come back and reread your review to help me remember what to pay attention to while I read! Awesome review!

    1. Thanks, Jess, I did enjoy this book, all in all. I thought that the writing was really good and the atomsphere Bridges creates actually reminded me of Anna Karenina, a book I loved but know I will never reread. I hope that if you do read it, you enjoy it.

  3. This sounds confusing but worth reading none the less. I'm glad I've found your new blog - it's lovely! I'm your newest follower.

  4. Welcome and thank you, Barbara. This blog has a little different focus than The Children's War, as you can see - more contemporary books for all ages.


Imagination Designs