Sunday, September 30, 2012

Review and Interview: Robin Bridges' The Unfailing Light

**book cover courtesy of Goodreads**

I was given the privilege of interviewing Robin Bridges for a blog hop in support of her new book, The Unfailing Light, book two of the Katerina Trilogy. I didn’t want to ask Ms. Bridges the typical questions normally seen in author interviews, so I spent some time perusing her web site to get some ideas for questions. I also wanted to keep it short and sweet, as I am including a review with the interview. I don’t enjoy reading long drawn out blog posts that drain my brain. I want to get in, read what I came to read and move on to the next thing on my to-do list. I try to do this on my own blog; give them want they want and don’t go overboard!

First a little bit about Ms. Bridges.  She is a writer by day and a pediatric nurse by night. She lives on the Gulf Coast with her husband, a soon-to-be teenager and two Mastiffs. She enjoys playing video games and Jane Austen books (biography courtesy of

What is your favorite thing about being an author?

It’s kinda like playing with Barbies.  You dress them up and make them kiss.  And bring people back from the dead.

I saw on your web site that you like video games. I love to play the Lego video games. What is your favorite video game?

Dragon Age!  I’ve played and replayed both the first one and the sequel several times.  I am madly in love with Alistair.  And Fenris.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received about writing?

“Don’t give up your day job.”  And also “add more smooching!”

 I love the setting you have chosen for the Katerina Trilogy. It seems so grand and beautiful. Have you ever visited Russia?

Not yet, but I hope to once I learn to speak Russian!

In a genre filled with paranormal stories, you have managed to create
 an original, never-read-before world. What was the most challenging thing 
about creating Katerina’s world?

Making the setting as accurate as possible was challenging.  The one time I decided to 
be lazy and make up the name of a street, the copy editor told me I’d spelled
 the street name wrong!  It took some digging, but I finally found what the street 
had been called in the 1890’s.  (It had changed names several times since the Revolution.)

Finally, are you excited to bring Katerina’s story to a close or will 
you miss her and the world she lives in?

Both.  I’m excited about working with a new cast of characters in a new story, 
but I will definitely miss Katerina and George.  And Danilo!

    And now for the review:

Title:  The Katrina Trilogy, Volume II: The Unfailing Light    
Author:  Robin Bridges
Genre:  Young Adult Paranormal/Historical Fiction
Publisher:  Random House Children’s Books
Imprint:  Delacorte BFYR
Format:  NetGalley Digital Galley
Release Date:  October 9, 2012

Having had no choice but to use her power has a necromancer to save Russia from dark forces, Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, now wants to forget that she ever used her special powers.  She’s about to set off to pursue her lifelong dream of attending medical school when she discovers that Russia’s arch nemesis—that she thought she’d destroyed—is still alive.  So, on imperial orders, Katerina remains at her old finishing school. She’ll be safe there, because the empress has cast a spell to protect it against the vampires and revenants that are bent on toppling the tsar and using Katerina for their own gains.  But to Katerina’s horror, the spell unleashes a vengeful ghost within the school, a ghost more dangerous than any of the creatures trying to get in. (Summary courtesy of NetGalley)

The Unfailing Light is Robin Bridges’ second volume in the Katerina Trilogy (you can read my review of the first book, The Gathering Storm here). The second book picks up just a few months after the end of Volume I. Katerina has spent the summer resting with her mother, aunt and cousin, counting the minutes until she can begin her dream of attending medical school and trying to forget the night she discovered she was a necromancer and the danger she could put everyone around her in, especially the man she loves, Grand Duke George Alexandrovich.  But an unfortunate discovery in a dark cave forces the emperor to send Katerina back to the Smolny Institute for Young Noble Maidens, the finishing school she thought she was finally able to leave behind. Practically imprisoned for her own safety, Katerina must now deal with the constant scrutiny of the Montenegrin Princess Elena, the moody new girl—Princess Alix—and a strange presence threatening the safety of every girl at Smolny.

More often than not, I have found the second volume in a trilogy to be the weakest, disappointing me in more ways than I can count (best example—Crossed, the second book in the Matched trilogy). I am always hesitant to pick up the second book, (even though I almost always do). Well, Bridges doesn’t disappoint, instead she has written an engrossing novel that kept me flipping pages late into the night.  She does not disappoint, keeping Katerina’s story flowing and interesting, without that boring lull that often appears in a sophomore book. If anything, I enjoyed The Unfailing Light more than The Gathering Storm. Maybe it was because this time I didn’t have to muddle through the various houses of Russian royalty, trying to remember who was who. While there are still a lot of characters to keep straight in this book, it seemed much easier this time around. Bridges also keeps the action coming, throwing things out that aren’t expected and keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. I wanted to know what was going to happen to Katerina next.

I find Katerina to be a very strong female character, especially considering the time in history in which she lived, but she did seem a bit more vulnerable in this book.  I actually liked that; I felt that after all that happened to her in the first book, Katerina would be struggling to find her way. Watching her grow more and more confident in herself and her decisions just made the book better. Bridges manages to show that growth, along with the doubt and vulnerability Katerina experiences while never taking away what I liked about Katerina—her  willfulness and independence.  She just let those characteristics grow more pronounced as the book progressed.  Katerina continues to be a character that young adult readers can look up to and enjoy.

The Unfailing Light is a fantastic addition to the Katerina Trilogy. It keeps the story moving forward, it’s entertaining and it is beautifully written. Just as she did in the first book, Bridges weaves a beautiful world, one made even more fascinating by the fact that it is based on actual people and history. I loved this book and I cannot wait for the next (and sadly last) book. 

Please take a look at the other blogs in the hop!
October 2nd: The Book Review Club
October 3rd: The Book Review Club
October 4th: Kimba Caffeinated
October 4th: My Life is a Notebook
October 5th: My Life is a Notebook
October 6th: Candace’s Book Blog
October 7thReader Girls
October 8th: Bookish
October 8th: Peace, Love, Books
October 9th: YA Bibliophile
October 9thReader Girls
October 10th: Wastepaper Prose
October 10th: Imaginary Reads
October 11thImaginary Reads
October 12th: Well Read Wife
October 15thLibby Blog
October 16th: Cracking the Cover
October 17th: A Bookish Libraria
October 18th: A Novel Review
October 19thIn the Best Worlds
October 20thTripping Over Books


  1. Great interview & review! I enjoyed The Gathering Storm, so I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how this sequel will turn out.

  2. Great interview! Sounds like an interesting read. I found you on Book Blogs and I am now your newest follower! I hope you have a wonderful Thursday and that you'll stop by for a visit sometime when you get the chance. :)
    Leigh Ann
    MaMa's Book Corner


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