The Gathering Storm
Written by: Robin Bridges
Released: January 10, 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Summary: 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?
Well folks, I fear that it’s going to be a long set of reviews which have been long overdue and have expired e-books. This, I’m afraid, is one of them.
I read this novel way back at the end of January and I enjoyed it a lot but it wasn’t a book that I thought was amazing. There was a lot that happened in this novel and while it made for an exciting read, at times I just thought that it was a little too much and it made it a little hard to follow. I mean, there were vampires, witchcraft, zombies, ghosts, necromancy, ancient prophecies, secret organizations, and all on top of Russian tradition and the happenings of the upper class. All of this is weaved together amazingly well and paired with a rich cast of characters that makes the novel something special to read.
Katerina is a very strong female character with strong morals and a good sense of right and wrong. She is a bit naive, but she’s the type of girl who wants to just do what’s right. I loved reading her as the MC and witnessing everything that happens to her throughout the book. I loved reading about how much she loved her friends and family, and to what limits she would go to in order to protect them from the knowledge that she was a necromancer. As the story progresses you really see her come into her own and start to question what she’s told. She really starts to think for herself – something that most young ladies of that period had taught out of them. The fact that she also wants to be a woman doctor and go to medical school just made her all the more phenomenal to read. I loved how strongly she wanted to be a doctor even when she was told it was next to impossible.
George was enough to make a girl swoon. The epitome of a jerk, it turns out that he is one – but one with a heart of gold. Plus, he’s Russian royalty and described as very handsome.
Then there are the multitudes of other characters in this novel from the best friend, to the supernatural characters, to unsuspecting soldiers, and finally the large family. At times it was confusing to keep them all straight, but I tried the best I could.
The Final Verdict:
I enjoyed this novel, and I can’t wait for the sequel to find out what happens next. While it probably will never be one of my favourites, it will always be one of those books that I remember when thinking of Anastasia-type Russian novels (I was obsessed with those in elementary school). I’m going to give this a 7/10.