The Gathering Storm (The Katerina Trilogy Series #1)

( 22 )

Overview

Lush and opulent, romantic and sinister, The Gathering Storm, Vol. I in the Katerina Trilogy, reimagines the lives of Russia's aristocracy in a fabulously intoxicating page-turning fantasy.

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 ...

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The Gathering Storm (The Katerina Trilogy Series #1)

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Overview

Lush and opulent, romantic and sinister, The Gathering Storm, Vol. I in the Katerina Trilogy, reimagines the lives of Russia's aristocracy in a fabulously intoxicating page-turning fantasy.

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?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The ideal reader for Bridges’s sprawling debut would have a love of Tolstoy and an infatuation with Twilight—perhaps an improbable combination. Determination is certainly required to track the mutable Russian proper names and family connections of an enormous cast, all of which must be understood to follow the plot. Katerina is a young duchess in an alternate-universe czarist Russia, a corrupt society secretly governed by Dark and Light Faerie courts. Katerina is an unwilling necromancer, able to raise the dead, a secret she has kept from everyone until a threat to the czarevitch, Nicholas, forces her to act and thereby reveal herself to the Montenegrins, rumored to be witches and worse. All of that is before the vampires and bogatyr (a powerful warrior-czar) come into the picture—it requires every bit of the book’s 400 pages to lay out the relationships, politics, and myth that will drive the rest of the planned trilogy. Bridges is up to the task, though, and for readers who appreciate a challenge, she delivers an imaginative, complex blend of history and magic. Ages 12–up. Agent: Ethan Ellenberg Agency. (Jan.)
Children's Literature - Miranda McClain
Katerina Alexandrovna is not your typical seventeenth century Russian Duchess. She has a strange and fearsome talent. Some call it a gift. Katerina calls it a curse, for it is not an ability many would want. She has the ability to raise the dead. Most find her power frightening, including Katerina, yet there are those who seek her out to use her power for their own agendas and she soon finds herself caught in the middle of an ancient battle between the forces of light and dark and she is finding it increasingly difficult to know whom she can trust. It is definitely not the bewitching Prince Danilo, yet she finds she cannot resist his charms. But it is the Tsar's middle son, George Alexandrovich, who comes to her rescue in the end. This first book in the "Katerina Trilogy" is another installment in the burgeoning teen occult romance genre. It is chock full of vampires, werewolves, zombies, and other dark creatures of the night, but it perhaps sets itself slightly apart by its setting in Imperial Russia. It is a fast paced gripping read, though perhaps not entirely original. Reviewer: Miranda McClain
Kirkus Reviews
Sixteen-year-old Katerina, a descendant of Russian royalty, is threatened with the evil sorcery of vampires in this first of a trilogy. Attending a school for young noblewomen, Katerina feels she's valued only for her potential for a good marriage but she wants a career in medicine, her true passion--not likely for a young woman in 1888 Russia. When classmates fall deathly ill, Katerina's convinced that her roommate, Elena, Princess of Montenegro, one of a long line of "blood drinkers," is causing the illnesses. Elena is also trying to force Katerina into an unwanted relationship with her handsome, controlling older brother, Danilo. Katerina possesses the dark magic of necromancy--the ability to reanimate dead things. Could that power be motivating the vampire's domineering drive to marry her? Perhaps the ring Katerina has been given by an elderly woman with her own agenda can help her fend him off, or maybe George, the tsar's younger son, an apparent ally and potential love interest, will help? The fully realized setting, a fantastical version of pre-revolutionary Russia, adds a level of believability to this debut. Many key players are well-rounded, though with most aligned with Dark or Light forces, readers may need a scorecard to keep track of all the alliances, as well as the complex, never clearly explained back story. An atmospheric and complicated vampire tale that's worth the effort of reading it. (Historical fantasy. 11 & up)
From the Publisher

"An atmospheric vampire tale."--Kirkus Reviews

"Bridges could become a worthy successor to Libba Bray with this historical fantasy."--VOYA

"Bridges delivers an imaginative, complex blend of history and magic."--Publishers Weekly

"The plot is rich and intriguing."--School Library Journal

"This alluring fantasy gives fans of the Luxe series a new society to enter, albeit with some fear."--Booklist

Children's Literature - Miranda McClain
Katerina Alexandrovna is not your typical seventeenth century Russian Duchess. She has a strange and fearsome talent. Some call it a gift. Katerina calls it a curse, for it is not an ability many would want. She has the ability to raise the dead. Most find her power frightening, including Katerina, yet there are those who seek her out to use her power for their own agendas and she soon finds herself caught in the middle of an ancient battle between the forces of light and dark and she is finding it increasingly difficult to know whom she can trust. It is definitely not the bewitching Prince Danilo, yet she finds she cannot resist his charms. But it is the Tsar's middle son, George Alexandrovich, who comes to her rescue in the end. This first book in the "Katerina Trilogy" is another installment in the burgeoning teen occult romance genre. It is chock full of vampires, werewolves, zombies, and other dark creatures of the night, but it perhaps sets itself slightly apart by its setting in Imperial Russia. It is a fast paced gripping read, though perhaps not entirely original. Reviewer: Miranda McClain
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—The court of Imperial Russia in the 1880s is the backdrop for this blend of history, the supernatural, and romance. Sixteen-year-old Katerina (aka Katiya), Duchess of Oldenburg, has a dangerous talent, necromancy, which she discovered when she was a little girl and unwittingly brought a dead frog back to life merely by wishing. After her talent is discovered by a rival family who would put it to wicked use, a conflict between good and evil, all prettied up in aristocratic clothing, luxurious balls, dinners, and secret plots, begins. The result is a complicated story involving faeries, ghosts, and vampires. Katiya is in the middle of an Imperial shakedown that provides plenty of action, but the language often sounds modern, and the faerie device seems to come out of the blue. Add to this the confusion of many characters having similar names, albeit in the Russian style, and you have a dense story that will take dedicated readers to follow it—and yet, there are likely to be such followers, as the plot is rich and intriguing. This novel will fit the bill as filler for larger collections.—Angela J. Reynolds, Annapolis Valley Regional Library, Bridgetown, NS, Canada
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385740227
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 1/10/2012
  • Series: Katerina Trilogy Series , #1
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 624,899
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

By day, I am a mild-mannered writer of fantasy and paranormal fiction for young adults.  By night, I'm a pediatric nurse.  I live on the Gulf Coast with my husband, one soon-to-be teenager, and two slobbery Mastiffs.  I like playing video games and watching Jane Austen movies.  (Alas, if only there was a Jane Austen video game!) THE GATHERING STORM is my first novel.
 
You can find me on LiveJournal, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2012

    Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I absolutly loved this book!!!!!! It has become one of my favorites! I can't wait 4 the next one, the Unflailing Light, that comes out in october. OMG RITE?!?!?!?! Read it, trust me, its WICKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!<3<3<3

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 18, 2012

    Best Paranormal Romance of 2012

    Robin Bridges created a wonderful story with fully fleshed-out characters with a setting that was so inviting to the reader. How often can you say that about a paranormal or fantasy novel? While I really enjoy paranormal and fantasy genres, I cannot say that I have ever been this head-over-heels drawn to a story-line.


    I found the historical aspects of the novel very intriguing. I am a huge lover of historical fiction, and although this is not a true historical fiction, it has many of the same aspects. Learning about this time period of Russia could not have been more entertaining. While keeping to the setting of 1888 St. Petersburg, Russia, the author cleverly wove in the paranormal features and romantic touches that made the story what it is.


    I recently ran across a quote from Jo Ann Ferguson that I thought really portrayed the feel of this novel. She was asked for her definition of paranormal: "A story that has an element of the impossible which makes everything in the story possible." Does that not say so much?


    I must admit that this is my favorite of all the books I have read so far in 2012 (I think that I stated that in another post about this book). I was wrapped up in the characters & setting from page one. I still feel tied to the book, running scenes through my mind every so often. I honestly did not want the book to end. The good news is that it is only the first in the trilogy (The Katerina Trilogy, Vol. 1) - I have more to look forward to.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic historical Paranormal!!

    The Gathering Storm is like an all-in-one paranormal novel. Robin Bridges has created an amazing Historical storyline with Vampires, werewolves, faeries, witches, undead and necromancy with forbidden romance. Bridges has an enormous, fantastic imagination that left me in total amazement of this huge plot. I totally fell in love with the characters and the historical paranormal world.

    Katerina is sixteen and hides that she’s a necromancer, or at least she thought she had it hidden. But it seems that the vampires and faerie know about her gift, or her curse, as Katerina believes it to be. Katerina just wants to be a doctor, but in 1888 women aren't allowed to be doctors. They’re sent to the young noble maidens’ school to learn how to be a prefect wife. Katerina is a strong-willed girl who's not going to let a man tell her what she can do. Prince Danilo is determined to have Katerina as his wife, and Katerina sees no way out of this marriage, especially if she wants to keep the lives of her family and George—the one she truly loves—safe.

    George is a Duke and the son of the tsar, and he's pledged to keep Katerina safe. But how is George to honor his pledge when the one he is to keep safe is going to marry vampire Prince Danile. Katerina definitely has a problem with her romance with George, the one guy she does love, and who she can't be with. There’s a little issues with her being dark and George being of the light court and plus their kiss could be their last . . . at least for George.

    The Gathering Storm has an incredible storyline with Historical, paranormal creatures, and a romance to die for, literally. I recommend The Gathering Storm as a must read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    SUCH A CREATIVE CONCEPT!!! The absolute coolest thing about this

    SUCH A CREATIVE CONCEPT!!! The absolute coolest thing about this book was the melding of paranormal and historical. And what really intrigued me most was that this wasn't your &quot;typical&quot; historical era that we so often read about--this was Russia!!! The story was filled with all kinds of new and unique things that I'd never read about in a YA book before. Obviously, there was a mind boggling amount of research that must have gone into THE GATHERING STORM and that's what I loved about it. It felt authentic--which meant that when Bridges introduced her paranormal elements into the story--the lines between reality and fiction were often blurred, making for fantastic story telling. 




    I also really loved Katerina's drive to be a doctor and her own person and more importantly, I adored her father. He only wanted the best thing for his daughter, even if it defies convention. 




    The Gathering Storm had love, intrigue, history, magic and all of my attention. I can't wait until the next installment of the Katerina Trilogy!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2013

     

     

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2012

    Anonymous

    I love this book read it twice already my fav, i could read it over and over again. Awesome book :)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 22, 2012

    Really 4.5 stars This was one of my highly-anticipated debuts f

    Really 4.5 stars

    This was one of my highly-anticipated debuts for 2012, and thank goodness I didn't have to wait long into the year to read it! With an exotic Russian setting, an intriguing world of paranormal creatures in the royal court, and a boy worth swooning over, Robin Bridges created a fantastic debut novel and one that kept me up reading into the wee hours of the morning.

    From her childhood, Katerina Alexandrovna has carried a dark secret with her: She is a necromancer and can reanimate the dead. In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, she dreams of attending medical school and becoming a doctor. However, she is also a duchess and expected to behave in the royal court and to marry well. Yet when the tsar's son is in danger from a spell, Katerina cannot help but use her power to protect him. Soon she is caught up in a battle that has lasted for centuries, a battle spanning all of the nobility as well as the living and even the dead. Katerina must try to unravel the plot and stop it before it is too late. But to make matters even more complicated, there are boys. Both carry their own secrets, and being with either one would greatly affect the course of Katerina's life. Katerina will have to embrace who she is and to make a choice...a choice that could affect Russia as she knows it...

    I think my love for books with foreign settings has been pretty well established, and the setting of The Gathering Storm is no exception. I enjoyed traveling back in time with Katerina to the late 1800s and being part of the Russian nobility, attending balls and witnessing an era when chivalry was very much alive. The addition of the paranormal elements to this world was nothing short of ingenious. There were a variety of paranormal creatures in this book, from faeries to vampires and beyond, yet rather than being overwhelming, all of these elements worked together to create a truly fascinating world. I found myself caught up in the mystery and intrigue of both the paranormal world and the two boys right along with Katerina. I loved that she looked for the reason behind things - in line with her desire to be a doctor - instead of being a &quot;normal&quot; debutante and only looking for a husband. And for those of you who read &quot;two boys&quot; in the summary and immediately thought &quot;love triangle,&quot; let me assure you, it's not what you would expect. There are, however, definitely romance scenes in here that will leave you smiling.

    There were only two things I wanted with this story - a better way to keep all of the nobility straight, because the amount of names was a bit overwhelming at first - and more. More of the brilliant writing, more of the world, more interaction between Katerina and George. After the ending of this book, I cannot wait to see how everything works out for Katerina.

    Blending elements of historical fiction and the paranormal, The Gathering Storm is a fresh new story that will capture you from the very first pages. I will be eagerly anticipating the next book in this trilogy!

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  • Posted May 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The Gathering Storm is a wonderful and thoroughly entertaining s

    The Gathering Storm is a wonderful and thoroughly entertaining start to what I'm sure will be a great series.

    Katerina, our protagonist was a character that I really liked. While she tries hard to keep her power to raise the dead a secret she unfortunately gets her secret found out by a few people. I did feel bad for Katerina because once her secret is known she manages to get herself into quite a mess. However, I do think Katerina was a strong character, she did what she had to do, she was very protective of the people she cared about, and she did the best she could to try to fix her mistakes.

    One of the tsar's sons George is one of the people that becomes entangled with Katerina and her secret power. I didn't like George at first because he was rude to Katerina and blamed her for things that weren't her fault. Over time though, as they were around each other more and began to understand each other is when I really started to like him. I am very interested to see where the relationship between George and Katerina will go in the future.

    Prince Danilo and his sisters were very sinister and ambitious. They are definitely the type of people who will do whatever is necessary to get what they want and they don't let anything or anybody stand in their way. Whenever they appeared in the book you knew something interesting was about to happen. While Prince Danilo and his sisters were pretty creepy I do have to say that I also found them intriguing as well and am interested to see what else we will learn about them in the future.

    Anyone who knows me knows I love historical books so of course this one was no exception. The setting, Russia in the 1800s along with the supernatural element of the story made for a really fascinating story. Watching Katerina tying to deal with her powers and get herself out of the mess she got herself in definitely held my attention and I was never bored. This book doesn't end on a cliffhanger but there are quite a few things left open to be picked up on in future books. I'm definitely excited to read the next book when it comes out.

    Final Verdict: The Gathering Storm is a great start to what I'm sure will be a wonderful series. I can't wait for the next book to come out as I'm very excited to see what happens next.

    *This review is also posted on my blog and my other social media profiles.

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  • Posted April 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Review: The Gathering Storm

    I was really looking forward to this book. I love historical novels and usually enjoy those in the young adult genre. Russian historical is one that I've only read a few of, and it's usually focused on later Romanov's. Sadly, I'm finding that I don't enjoy historical mixed with paranormal as much as I would have liked.

    My favorite part of the book was the setting itself. I felt like I got a different look at Russian history. I liked how the nobility is portrayed. It seems a lot more complicated that the nobility of English history (which is what I'm most familiar with). I liked learning a little bit about the etiquette for the royal family and the rest of the nobility.

    I also really liked Katerina. She's a duchess, but she doesn't give off the airs of nobility. She seems very down to earth. She gets the perks of being nobility, but would rather get down and dirty in the hospitals. This was a characteristic that I greatly admired in her. I also enjoyed the fact that she could raise the dead. Although, I admit it was a trait I didn't understand much more than she did.

    I had a hard time with the actual paranormal elements of the story outside of Katerina's ability to raise the dead. There were far to many different paranormal elements and it really distracted from the story line. I didn't follow the different races of vampires and their abilities. I was intrigued that the fact the Empress of a fairy of the (light?) fairy court, but felt like it didn't get enough play into the story. And the final battle was just a little over the top for me. It just felt like to much was going on.

    Overall I liked it for the historical elements. I'm not sure if I will continue this series or not.

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  • Posted April 10, 2012

    So, if you’ve been reading the reviews of this book, you p

    So, if you&rsquo;ve been reading the reviews of this book, you probably heard that this book is really mythology heavy.
    IT REALLY, REALLY IS.
    Now, it should be known that I am ALL FOR mythology. But the thing is, if I don&rsquo;t understand that mythology, I need it explained to me. 99% of the reason The Gathering Storm only got 3 1/2 stars from me is because I felt as if NOTHING is explained.
    My big problem with this book is that I walked away feeling like I had no idea what had just happened. I felt like Katerina&rsquo;s power took a huge backseat to the different kinds of creatures running around in the book&ndash;and there were a LOT of creatures; almost too many.
    The major creature in this book? Vampires. That was totally not what I signed up for. No, they don&rsquo;t sparkle, but there is three different &ldquo;breeds&rdquo; of them that I never fully understood. (Granted, I think Bridges was playing with Russian vampire myths, because she was name-dropping breeds I&rsquo;d never heard of.) The second one? Fae. It kept being referenced that the Imperial Family was descended from the Light Court of Fae, and this other family was descended from the Dark Court and they had special abilities and &hellip; something. Didn&rsquo;t quite understand that either. There was, of course, undead, but that was all thanks to people other than Katerina for the most part. Supposedly she did raise one guy, but she never TRIED and it was just really, really weird. A reference to werewolves was also dropped for like three sentences.
    Now, maybe my problem with this book is that I read really, really fast. But I just kept going through this book and just. Not. Getting it. Whether it was mythology or events or descriptions, I felt like way too many things were glossed over. Other people have read and loved this book&ndash;aka, totally understood it&ndash;so to each their own, but don&rsquo;t take this book lightly.
    Another thing that bothered me: Do you see that bit in the blurb where it says &ldquo;No one knows&rdquo; about her power? In the beginning, no one did. Then, one person finds out and it&rsquo;s like dominos. I don&rsquo;t remember 85% of these people ever being told about her powers, but all of a sudden EVERYONE KNOWS EVERYTHING.
    Now, I can&rsquo;t get away with this without mentioning that potential love triangle the blurb hints at. Readers can relax, it doesn&rsquo;t get as love triangle clich&eacute; as it sounds.
    Lastly, the ending. Perhaps it&rsquo;s just me, but I felt that&ndash;for the end of a first book in a trilogy&ndash;the ending was far too tidy. I&rsquo;m legitimately curious about how the story will continue because there isn&rsquo;t a clear place to go from there, except that it seems to be leading to &ldquo;Katerina leaves Russia to go be a Doctor in Switzerland.&rdquo; Which I feel should be the feeling we get after the end of book THREE.
    Overall, though, I think this book has potential. Robin Bridges is, after all, a debut author. The Gathering Storm is very involved, so I will certainly be picking up the second book.What I&rsquo;m hoping for is that Bridges, now settled into the story, will be able to take the time to explain just how in the world this world actually works, and what in the world is going on in these millions and millions of layers. I would recommend this book, but only to certain types of people who devour mythology heavy books. If you&rsquo;re looking for a new world to drop right into, I&rsquo;m be wary about handing you The Gathering Storm. An interesting challenge it is. An easy read it&rsquo;s not.

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  • Posted April 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    From the very first page I was hooked with the story. But first

    From the very first page I was hooked with the story. But first I&rsquo;d liked to talk about the cover. The cover is nice, it&rsquo;s just that the girl on it doesn&rsquo;t look like a YA heroine at all (I presumed this is Katerina). I honestly liked the 2nd book&rsquo;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&rsquo;t had a hard time loving and submerging myself into.

    I liked the plot, though not entirely unique, but as far as I&rsquo;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&rsquo;s no boring moment &gt; which explains why I didn&rsquo;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&rsquo;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.:)&hellip; 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&rsquo;s just that some of them are not that developed to their fullest. It&rsquo;s not messy, it&rsquo;s more like there are a lot of information to digest. Count Chermensky&rsquo;s death would have been tragic, I just wished that through Katiya&rsquo;s narrative, she&rsquo;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&rsquo;s little on the love story development. And by the way, it might look like a love triangle&rsquo;s brewing based on the description above, but there isn&rsquo;t anything like that (I think)- I and Katerina hate one of them. I didn&rsquo;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&rsquo;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&rsquo;s more to see in the romantic side of this book at the sequel since there&rsquo;s a promise of the development of the chemistry/love between the protagonists.

    Even though I don&rsquo;t feel quite antagonistic about Russian names. The author drops a lot of long Russian names here, I had a hard time figuring who&rsquo;s who, though that didn&rsquo;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&rsquo;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&rsquo;s supposed to be past situation.

    All in all, this had been an enjoying and wonderful read. For the few hours that I&rsquo;ve read the book, I was in Katerina&rsquo;s world. Can&rsquo;t wait to read more of Katerina&rsquo;s adventure and especially how her love story flows. I will be looking for the next book, &ldquo;The Unfailing Light&rdquo;.

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

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  • Posted March 17, 2012

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    Highly Recommend!

    The Gathering Storm was my first into the world of history and folklore. I thought the book was a good blend of suspense, romance, and forklore. I'm looking forward to Robin's next book in the Katerina Trilogy series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    The description of this book lead me to believe that this was an

    The description of this book lead me to believe that this was an interesting book. I often read fantasy and maybe my expectations were high but I found the plot hurried and the characters completely undeveloped. The first 20 or so pages is just the author throwing crazy facts, seemingly from thin air, at the reader. Going from an girls school to a ballroom, discussing vampires, witches, necromancy, etc, it's all jumbled together. Furthermore, the heroine is supposed to be smart, wanting to become a physician in the future, yet walks into idiotic traps a 5 year old would see.

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  • Posted March 15, 2012

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    The Gathering Storm!!!!

    The absolute coolest thing about this book was the melding of paranormal and historical. And what really intrigued me most was that this wasn't your "typical" historical era that we so often read about--this was Russia!!! The story was filled with all kinds of new and unique things that I'd never read about in a YA book before. Obviously, there was a mind boggling amount of research that must have gone into THE GATHERING STORM and that's what I loved about it. It felt authentic--which meant that when Bridges introduced her paranormal elements into the story--the lines between reality and fiction were often blurred, making for fantastic story telling.

    I also really loved Katerina's drive to be a doctor and her own person and more importantly, I adored her father. He only wanted the best thing for his daughter, even if it defies convention.

    The Gathering Storm had love, intrigue, history, magic and all of my attention. I can't wait until the next installment of the Katerina Trilogy!!!

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  • Posted February 28, 2012

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    A suspenseful supernatural tale set in historical Russia.

    The Gathering Storm is the debut novel of Robin Bridges and the first in her Katerina Trilogy. Bridges' paranormal novel delivers, from the historical aspects of Russia to the supernatural. This was a delightful tale of vampires, fairies, werewolves, witches, necromancers and other supernatural creatures. A combination of Russian history and folklore make this an exciting, addictive read. The protagonist Is Katerina Alexandrovna, she is the Duchess of Oldenburg, residing in Russia during the reign of Tsar Alexander III. Katerina is a necromancer, but she views this as a curse. She attempts to hide her gift and wants no part in using the ability. Once as a small child she used it, to save her mother’s cat, but she quickly realized the cat was wrong. Since she hasn’t even told her parents her secret, she understands very little about her ability and is fearful to share it with anyone. Katerina is attending finishing school. A school which is more concerned with ballroom dancing then studies. Katerina longs to attend medical school at a time when woman are banned from being doctors. Her dearest friends are more concerned with catching the eye of the highest titled and richest young man. Katerina has been inspired by the first woman in the field and daydreams of going abroad to study. Alas, she has been born to an era where alliances and families’ incomes are dependent on securing good marriages for their daughters. In a world filled with balls, gorgeous gowns, ballet, and musicals there is a dark underbelly filled with witches, vampires, werewolves and Fae all vying to secure their place. Katerina attracts the attentions of a powerful family, when she uses her gift to save a member of the royal family. As this family attempts to secure power, they use their skills to lure Katerina. Their young son uses his power and threats to woe her. At the same time she attracts the attentions of George (the Tsar’s middle son). He pledges to keep her safe, but she is constantly getting herself into trouble trying to solve things, and of course the young vampire Prince Danile wants to make her his bride. The tale that unfolds is captivating and complex. People are being poisoned, guards are being murdered and bodies are rising from the dead. As Katerina struggles to uncover who is causing these attacks, she finds herself caught up in the middle of things. When she is offered help by elders, she finds herself confused as light fights dark. With Prince Danile and George breathing down her neck, can she save the royal family before it’s too late? There is romance or the hint of it in this novel, but delightfully it takes a backseat to all the suspense, plots, and supernatural events. This book completely captured me, and it was delightful to see young Katerina come into herself and protect those she loves; even at great sacrifice to herself. I found other characters to be delightful as well. I liked George, and Katerina’s friends and even the dreadful Princess Elena.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2012

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    A fresh (and chilly) twist on paranormal.

    I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed the different (and chilly!) setting of THE GATHERING STORM as a backdrop for this historical paranormal that's so unlike anything else I've read before. I quickly became immersed in the story, rich with wonderfully evocative details about Imperial Russia that just pulled me in deeper and deeper into Katerina's world, one filled with balls and palaces and paranormal creatures like herself, a necromancer. A fresh new twist on the (sometimes tired) paranormal genre. I'm looking forward to the next in the series, The Unfailing Light

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2012

    Great!!

    This book is amazing

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2012

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    Fantastic Paranormal Russian Royalty Read!

    Are you a Tolstoy fan? I loved War and Peace and Anna Karenina so Russian names don't intimidate me, nor does anything Russian. I cut my wisdom teeth in high school reading about Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. I love St. Petersburg and needlepointed a pillow or two to commemorate it. I've cried over the butchering of the Romanov Family and wondered about the girl called Anna who said she was the youngest surviving daughter of the bloodthirsty Russian rebellion.

    But, if you aren't an aforementioned fan or a Russian history buff, or if you don't care for the complexities of their names and places and royalty...this book may be a tad taxing on you. You may have to flub the names a bit.

    As for me; I found it an absolute treasure! Someone couldn't have handed me a Godiva chocolate-encrusted, faux Fabrege' egg with pastel icings on it to make me happier! I just ate this book up...and will someone please bring me Volume II of this series asap?

    Robin Bridges may be a nurse, but she is also a fabulous writer with an imagination and uncanny ability to place paranormal characters into real Russian royalty as if they were born to it. Amazing literary talents. Her characters just gleamed off the page with magical qualities and intrigue. They are beautiful and dark, brittle as glass and soft as fur, frightening and furious. Just a melting pot of interesting and provocative people that I was so excited to meet and can't wait to continue to know more.

    The settings Robin creates are dazzling and realistic. I felt the stifling heat of a ballroom lighted by candles and fireplaces...too cramped and crushed by too many bodies dancing furiously to gypsy-played music...too much danger and excitement for a young girl approached by a would-be blood drinker. Her street scenes, scenes of palaces and hospitals, opera houses and theatres are vivid and lush. Even her descriptions of the Princesses in their girl's school with their strict teachers fits her storytelling realism because the Smolny School actually existed in the 1800s.

    I felt breathless when the fierce rival of the empress, the powerful and beautiful Maria Pavlovna, wife of the Grand Duke, was described in her deep purple ballgown and diamond tiara, dark violet eyes blazing, frightening and powerful as the queen faerie of The Dark Court. See this picture from Robin's website of what she may have looked like:

    What particularly saved the day for me in this young adult novel, fit for adults, is the emphasis on Katiya's desire to be a doctor in a time when royal girls were trained and primed to be royal wives. This theme of an independent thinking young woman who has intellectual goals for her life is refreshing and unusual in paranormal/fantasy writing for YAs. I give Ms Bridges hundreds of "high 5s" for that alone in her fantastic book.

    In summary, "The Katrina Trilogy..." is a wonderful read. It is a book I raced through, losing track of time when I only wanted to read a couple of chapters and go to bed! I was fascinated with the book because it tripped the fine line of reality and mixed it with the fanciful in such a remarkable way. It does that dance and has you enchanted before you know what's happened, and you can't put the book down. This is a thoroughly enjoyable read, pure entertainment in the best sense of the word. Believe me when I say, you must read this one!

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  • Posted February 4, 2012

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    Promising debut that weaves supernatural into history

    When I think of Russia, I think of White Russians and the reason why fire engines are red, but most importantly I recall quite fondly the movie ANASTASIA. So when I heard about The Gathering Storm and saw its gorgeous cover, color me red when I say that I was more than excited for its debut! The story starts off interesting enough and Katerina’s mysterious necromancing powers seem to bring more problems to the table that turn the pages faster, but I had a hard time with falling in love with the characters. The love triangle between Katerina, Danilo, and George needed a little more electricity for me to get on board, and I got a little lost among the many players within the web of political intrigue. Robin Bridges wove together a stunning world of Russian delights with a dash of supernatural that I think will appeal to readers who like a bit of history in their stories, but I need a little bit more convincing with Book 2.

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  • Posted February 1, 2012

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    A little bit of alternate Russian history

    I haven't read much of Russian history, so when I read the blurb about this book I wondered whether I'd be able to get into the setting of the novel, but it sounded interested so I decided to give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised. Robin Bridges does a good job merging fantasy with history, allowing the reader to slip into the story without feeling like they are in history class.

    Katerina Alexandrovna Maria von Holstein-Gottorp is the Duchess of Oldenburg and our narrator. She attends a prestigious finishing school - her classmates are princesses and other ladies of royal lineage - gets invited to fancy balls hosted by the Empress and hides a very dark secret from everyone, she has the ability to raise the dead.

    Katiya (as her family and friends refer to her) is a spirited narrator. She's a strong, level-headed young woman, and cares deeply for her loved ones. She wants to be a doctor, but she cannot study medicine in her hometown, so she reads medical books and journals to keep up with the medical field.

    As a narrator, Katiya is easy to read and very lovable. She's not afraid to speak her mind even to someone above her station. It makes for a humorous read at times.

    One thing that I found jarring in the story was all the names that were thrown around. It took the greater part of the book for me to get the secondary characters sorted. It would have been helpful if most of them were non-existent or if there was a way to reference them outside of the narrative to understand who is who. I almost started writing the names down with descriptions so I could remember, they were so difficult to keep track of at times.

    Another is the way the first names were generally paired with the patronymics, after reading names like Katerina Alexandrovna a few times my brain started dropping the patronymic.

    I also found that there was a lot of information in this book - enough to get the plot moving - however, a lot of times I felt as though the story was rushed where I wanted a slower pace while some places it seemed to drag, and I wished it were faster paced. This book is pushing 400 pages and had a lot of world and character building which affected the pace but many times the parts that interested me the most seemed rushed.

    Though she is a strong female lead, there were times when Katiya behaved a little out of character - but, I forgive her, especially given the stressful situations in which she found herself.

    These things aside, this book has a lot of potential and I found it rather enjoyable. The last quarter of the book was fantastic. It hit the perfect momentum and I couldn't put it down. Robin is great at describing settings - be it gowns and dancing or conflict - so it was almost as though you were in the middle of the action, off to the sidelines, observing.

    I'm definitely interested in where Katerina's story will lead her. If the next books are anything like the last quarter of this book, they will be fantastic.

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