Title: The Katerina Trilogy Vol. 1: The Gathering Storm
Author: Robin Bridges
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal/Historical Fiction
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Imprint: Delacorte BFYR
Release Date: January 10, 2012
**Debut Author Challenge Book**
**Debut Author Challenge Book**
The year is 1888. The place is
. While Katerina Alexandrovna, the Duchess of Oldenburg, attends the winter season’s balls, operas and ballets, she must try to hide the deepest, darkest secret any person could have: her ability to raise the dead. It is a secret she hides from her family, her friends at the Smolny boarding school and especially the tsar and the aristocratic circles to which her family belongs. But when Katerina is forced to use her special gift to protect a member of the Imperial family, she finds herself drawn into a world of intrigue she is not able to escape. St. Petersburg, Russia
Evil surrounds all those within the royal bloodlines of
Europe. Lines are being drawn—light and dark are choosing sides. Katerina finds herself being drawn to two different men—the tsar’s middle son, George Alexandrovich and Danilo, the prince of . But which one will she, or should she, trust? Katerina must embrace her powers and choose—light or dark? Montenegro
The Gathering Storm has something for everyone. It mixes historical fiction, Russian fairy tales, paranormalcy, romance and suspense all in one book. I hate to use the words “new twist on the same old thing” because I think that statement can be overused, but that is exactly what this book is. We get witches, vampires, the undead and werewolves all in one book. First and foremost, this book is a paranormal story though, so it is important to keep that in mind if you don’t care for the paranormal genre. I enjoyed the various paranormal creatures and Bridges take on those creatures a great deal. Bridges debut novel is extremely well-written, entertaining and fascinating.
Katerina Alexandrovna is a very strong female lead character. Even though she is growing up in
in 1888, she doesn’t conform to what one would expect of a young lady during that time. Katerina (or Katiya as her family calls her) is strong-minded, willful, independent and smart. She wants to be a doctor, something practically unheard of in Russia at that time. She is very protective of her family, in particular her overdramatic mother. And she must learn to rein in her powers, if she isn’t attempting to outright hide them. Katerina isn’t wishy-washy, whiny or overly sensitive. She accepts what is happening to her, but she is willing to take risks to set things right. Bridges creates a character every girl can look up to. Russia
While reading The Gathering Storm, I did find it a bit difficult to keep track of the various houses and families, the light court and the dark court, and the numerous ties everyone seems to have to each other. Sometimes it got a bit confusing. Also, Bridges uses quite a few Russian words in the book, but learning the meanings of those words was actually kind of interesting. Fortunately neither of these things distracted me too much from the story. I found the book to be a very enjoyable read. It was definitely worth muddling through the various families and houses and deciphering Russian to read this book.
This book is appropriate for both tweens and teens. Because of the chaste time Katerina is living in, there are not a lot of heavy sexual themes and the paranormal creatures and actions are not too overwhelming or scary. I really enjoyed The Gathering Storm and I am looking forward to the next book in the trilogy.
My grade for The Katerina Trilogy Vol. 1: The Gathering Storm: