Thursday, April 5, 2012

Book Review: The Gathering Storm

The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
  • Reading level: Ages 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (January 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385740220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385740227

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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?

Lush and opulent, romantic and sinister, “The Gathering Storm”, the first book in Robin Bridges’ Katerina Trilogy, reimagines the lives of Russia’s nobility in a fabulously intoxicating and page-turning fantasy.

From the very first page I was hooked with the story. But first I’d liked to talk about the cover. The cover is nice, it’s just that the girl on it doesn’t look like a YA heroine at all (I presumed this is Katerina). I honestly liked the 2nd book’s cover than this one.

On to the book. At first I thought this is a historical book, but after reading, I think this is more of a paranormal novel set in a historical setting. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the Russian Empire with the fusion of superstitious beliefs; faeries in the royal court, witches casting spells, vampires, rituals and more.

Ms. Bridges really researched this book well, some of the characters are real historical people. I also loved her description about Russian balls, clothes, jewelries, culture, folklore and traditions. I was easily transported in a world where history meets fantasy. It was a mixture I hadn’t had a hard time loving and submerging myself into.

I liked the plot, though not entirely unique, but as far as I’m concerned, this is the first book I read with teens on a historical setting, plus the paranormal theme . Also, there are a lot of things going on the book, there’s no boring moment > which explains why I didn’t put the book down until the very last page..:D

I really liked Katerina too and I presumed her dreams of becoming a doctor someday was based on the current job and passion of Ms. Bridges, a pediatric nurse. In a time, when girls are expected to only marry and produce heirs, listening to Katiya’s voice which longs to pursue her dreams is fascinating. I sometimes got annoyed with her decisions especially when she thinks she could handle it all by herself, stubborn and brave, a deadly combination.:)… Though the reason was to protect her family, country and the boy she loves, she just got on my nerve sometimes. But it just made her a real character.

I also loved all the characters. Each of them served his purpose well. It’s just that some of them are not that developed to their fullest. It’s not messy, it’s more like there are a lot of information to digest. Count Chermensky’s death would have been tragic, I just wished that through Katiya’s narrative, she’d made us see too, how the Count protected her up to the last minute.

The author had been busy presenting us the plot too, there’s little on the love story development. And by the way, it might look like a love triangle’s brewing based on the description above, but there isn’t anything like that (I think)- I and Katerina hate one of them. I didn’t quite feel the romantic side of this book, not until the later part. I would have liked *spoiler (well, not really since you don’t know who)* the proposal part, but it was quite bland, like someone says Marry Me without dating first. It was a little bit rushed in that part. I like the animosity between them at first, it would have develop into a great love story. Well, maybe there’s more to see in the romantic side of this book at the sequel since there’s a promise of the development of the chemistry/love between the protagonists.

Even though I don’t feel quite antagonistic about Russian names. The author drops a lot of long Russian names here, I had a hard time figuring who’s who, though that didn’t deter me from enjoying the book. Good thing too, the author gives us an explanation about the Russian names at the very first page.

I do like to learn more of these superstitious beliefs, it seems there’s a lot of these in this book. The author missed to really explain what are veshtizas, House of Bessaraba, The Dekebristi, Vladiki- I think it would be better, to have a Character Guide, or a prequel about Russia’s supposed to be past situation.

All in all, this had been an enjoying and wonderful read. For the few hours that I’ve read the book, I was in Katerina’s world. Can’t wait to read more of Katerina’s adventure and especially how her love story flows. I will be looking for the next book, “The Unfailing Light”.

Would highly recommend this to anyone especially to fans of YA historical and paranormal.

View all my reviews


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, too. I definitely loved the Russian feel to it and I feel liked I have this special connection with Katerina because I want to be a doctor someday as well. :) Glad to see another Pinoy blogger. :D

  2. Never heard of the book but the Russian thing seems interesting!


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