Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book Review: The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges

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 thoughts:

My first impression of The Gathering Storm was a little overwhelming, because there are a lot of names and titles to keep straight. Most of the characters are at different times addressed by their double first name, their nickname, their last name and their title, and this was a little confusing at first. But don't worry, you'll get into it!

I absolutely loved the St. Petersburg setting! The snow and icy winds contrast perfectly to the warm ballrooms, and the descriptions made me feel like I was really there. I am impressed by how accurate all the details seemed (I am no expert on Russian history, but everything was very believable), and I let myself get carried away by all the gallant gentlemen, the sparkling diamonds, the colorful balls and the paranormal aspects that lie beneath it all.

Katerina was a great lead character. She was so strong, always trying to protect everyone around her, yet also questioning herself and her power. She does make some stupid decisions, but only the kind that any teenage girl would have made in her situation. I loved her determination, and felt myself cheering for her to find a way out of the mess she was in. I also liked her relationships with George Alexandrovich and Prince Danilo, two very, very different young men. Let's just say that they both of them have their own secrets, and their own reasons for wanting Katerina.

The Gathering Storm is a very promising debut from Robin Bridges, and a wonderful start to a new series. I am excited to see what comes next!

It matches well with the story, even if the girl on the cover looks nothing like what I imagined Katerina to look like. 

My rating of this book:

Want to know more?
Add The Gathering Storm to your Goodreads wish list
Visit Robin Bridges' website
Follow Robin on Twitter

Full disclosure:
ARC received from NetGalley

This book can be purchased from a number of local retailers and online book stores like Amazon and The Book Depository (I'm not an affiliate of either). The latter store has free shipping to about 100 countries.


  1. Another Arc on netgalley I missed! I love the setting of St Petersburg. It sounds awesome. I would struggle with all the names though.

  2. Russia, raising the dead, the good old days, yes it does sound good :)
    And I also missed this on NG

  3. The word RUSSIA is what first captivated me with this because ... well, it's Russia :D So it makes me so happy that Robin delivered the setting perfectly! And Katerina soulds like a flawed, yet likable character - the type I very much relate to. I cannot wait to get my hands on this, sounds so good!

  4. I,m SO interested in this one! I love the way you describe the setting. Being in Canada I could really put myself in that story! Wonderful review!

    Xpresso Reads

  5. Great review! I requested this on Netgalley and luckily got accepted. I'll be reading this soon. :)

    Sarah @ Smitten over Books

  6. I feel weird commenting on a review that is more than 3 years old, but I saw it and thought that I might as well comment. I absolutely loved this book! I have always been interested in Russia, so this was great! I loved the differences between the relationships of Katarina and Danilo and Katarina and George!

    Lizzie @


Thank you for sharing your thoughts =)