The Unfailing Light (The Katerina Trilogy Series #2)

The Unfailing Light (The Katerina Trilogy Series #2)

4.5 8
by Robin Bridges

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Lush and opulent, romantic and sinister, The Unfailing Light, Volume II in The Katerina Trilogy, reimagines the lives of Russia's aristocracy in a fabulously intoxicating and page-turning fantasy.

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

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Lush and opulent, romantic and sinister, The Unfailing Light, Volume II in The Katerina Trilogy, reimagines the lives of Russia's aristocracy in a fabulously intoxicating and page-turning fantasy.

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--who 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 potent spell to protect it against the vampires and revenants who 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 creature trying to get in.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Natalie Gurr
Katerina Alexandrovona is a necromancer. She has already saved the tsar of Russia once and now he is loathe to part with her. While aching to leave Russia and fulfill her dream of attending medical school, she is forced to remain and attend another year of finishing school. A powerful spell is placed over the school to keep Katerina safe, but it also unleashes a frightful ghost whose vengeful attitude threatens all the students. Katerina is trying to determine the extent of her powers, protect her friends from a willful ghost, and determine her feelings for George Alexandrovich. Her powers belong to the Dark Court, but her heart resides in the Light. The Unfailing Light is volume two in the "Katerina Trilogy" and continues from where The Gathering Storm left off. Bridges writing improves in the second volume and she eliminates most of the superfluous characters, which makes for a more coherent read. Set in the heart of Russia, Katerina's story is part fantasy and part history with just the right touch of magic. The characters are believable and Katerina is a likable heroine. Young adult readers will be fascinated with the rich setting and complex plot. Reviewer: Natalie Gurr
VOYA - Gwen Amborski
The Unfailing Light is a suitable second book in The Katerina Trilogy. The characters and plot follow right along with the first book. It carries a slow pace in certain parts. Many more paranormal sightings and activities are added in this second book, which may frustrate some readers. Readers who enjoy any type of paranormal or Victorian-based novels will enjoy The Unfailing Light. 3Q, 4P. Ages 12 to 18.
VOYA - Adrienne Amborski
Set in Russia’s Imperial Court of St. Petersburg in 1889, The Unfailing Light is the second installment in the Katerina Trilogy. Katiya, a seventeen-year-old duchess, wants to break free from the conventions of her class and gender to become a doctor. She harbors a secret talent--she is a necromancer--and her ability to raise the dead is in high demand with the Light and Dark Faerie forces that rule over the tsar’s court. In the first book, The Gathering Storm (Delacorte, 2012/Voya June online), a premarital blood ceremony binds her to the evil vampire prince, Danilo. Now, Katiya has broken her engagement to Danilo but they remain telepathically united, causing Katiya’s thoughts to be invaded. While Katiya battles between her yearning to become a doctor and her attraction to George Alexandrovich, the unattainable tsar’s son, the upheaval in the imperial court is escalating to a breaking point. Needing Katiya’s necromancer power, the empress of the Light Court has cast a protective spell, trapping Katiya in the Smolny Institute for Young Noble Maidens, the elite boarding school that she attends. Katiya must decide who her allies are and overcome the evil forces that are threatening St. Petersburg and the imperial court. At times, this novel introduces too many characters with such a wide scope of paranormal elements that the reader is left confused. Readers need to read the first book to thoroughly grasp the story line. Bridges does an admirable job with setting and character development, with a resilient female protagonist. The popularity of paranormal romance and the rich setting will appeal to teen readers who enjoy this genre. Readers of Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy or Joy Preble’s Dreaming Anastasia series will enjoy this series. Ages 12 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
In the sequel to The Gathering Storm (2012), the tsar forces Katerina to put aside her ambition to attend medical college and return to Smolny Institute for another year of finishing school, immersing her in the dangerous paranormal intrigue of the Russian court. Since the blood bond created with vampiric Prince Danilo in the previous effort, he now has access to her thoughts, but Katerina knows better than to trust this handsome royal. Her thoughts are centered instead on Grand Duke George Alexandrovich, but he's been sent to Paris to acquire a better understanding of magic, and besides, he's aligned with the Light Court and she's tied to the Dark. Thanks to her inborn talent as a necromancer, she can reanimate the dead at will. Now, in spite of a protective spell cast over Smolny Institute, an evil spirit has taken over the library, threatening students and staff. Katerina is determined to resolve the situation. The pace is deliberately slow; readers will have to be sustained by Bridges' complex worldbuilding rather than any rapidly rising level of suspense, although the climax is satisfyingly perilous. Given the back story's complexity, the second volume cannot stand alone. Katerina's first-person voice is smart and believable, fitting well into this atmospheric romance. The simmering tale never quite reaches the boiling point, but fans will nonetheless yearn for the conclusion. (Paranormal romance. 11 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—The teenaged Duchess of Oldenburg, Katerina Alexandrovna, continues to come to terms with her necromantic powers and her forbidden love for George Alexandrovitch, son of the tsar, who is now training to become the Koldun, the tsar's chief wizard. She must also battle a dangerous ghost that is haunting her finishing school and an undead tsar who wishes to return to power. Set in an alternate 1889 Russia where magic is real and St. Petersburg's population includes faeries, werewolves, and several different kinds of vampires, this volume has many of the same strengths and weaknesses as the previous book in the series. The setting is fascinating and quite different from what we have seen in other YA paranormal fiction. Readers will find themselves turning to Wikipedia to find out more about Russian history and the historical characters who appear in the novel. However, there are occasional odd anachronisms, and often the supernatural world-building is vague. Sometimes the residents of St. Petersburg seem matter-of-fact about magic, and at other times it seems to be secret and forbidden. It is never quite clear why Katerina is so reluctant to learn more about her powers, or why she wants to become a doctor. Purchase where the first volume is popular.—Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Katerina Trilogy Series, #2
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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