Jan 4, 2012

The Gathering Storm

Robin Bridges
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Tentative Publish Date: 10 January 2012
Version: Netgalley e-book
Series: The Katerina Trilogy
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?

This is the story of Katerina Alexandra Maria von Holstein-Gottorp, the Duchess of Oldenburg, who is known as Katiya by her family.  She goes to the Smolney Institue in St Petersburg, Russia with her cousin Dariya, where they teach how to be a good wife.  Katerina has always wanted to be a doctor and would rather go to medical school, but it is not acceptable for women to attend medical school in 1888.  Katerina is a necromancer.  She doesn’t understand this totally and calls this a “curse” that was given to her. 

At the annual Smolney Ball is when you are introduced to the tsar’s sons, Grand Duke George Alexandrovich and the tsarevitch Nicky Alexandrovich.  It is there at the ball’s dinner that Katerina is forced to use her “curse” to help the tsarevitch.  This is also when she catches the eye of the Montenegrins and earns an invitation to Cetinje for Christmas to meet Elena’s brother, Danilo.  This doesn’t bode well with Katerina because she knows that the Montenegrin princesses are witches and knows what Elena attempted with the tsarevitch.  After talking with Dariya about it, she decides to enlist the help of her brother, Petya.

Katerina doesn’t want to fall for the Crown Prince Danilo, but finds that she is be-spelled by him and eventually agrees to marry him despite the warnings that people have given her.  After that, strange things start happening in St. Petersburg.  Not only does Katerina learn of supernatural beings living in the city, but soldiers of the corps start dying and disappearing.   Unexpected alliances form to battle the same foe.

I didn’t know what to expect when I started this book, but I was pleasantly surprised.  I was drawn into the story surrounding Katerina and will be anxiously awaiting the second book in the series.

  • Katerina.  She thinks that her necromancy is a curse and doesn’t tell anyone about it.  She doesn’t like it when she is forced to use it at the ball and likes it even less when it draws attention to her from the Montengrin princesses.  All Katerina can think about is being a doctor.  She doesn’t want to think about marriage and other things that the Smolney Institute focuses on.

  • Petya.  Katerina’s brother.  He is very loyal to Katerina and always helps her out when she needs it.  He is a soldier in the corps.

  • Dariya, Katerina’s cousin.  She goes to the Smolney Institute with her and is someone who Katerina can talk to.

  • Grand Duke George Alexandrovich.  He comes across as crass in this book, but he is worried about Katerina aligning herself with dark forces.  He does not like the fact that she is a necromancer and isn’t afraid to tell her.  Knowing all this, he wants to do what’s right, even if that means going against his first inclinations. 
  • The Montenegrin  family: Danilo, Elena and her sisters Militza and Anastasia, King Nikola and Queen Milena.    All they think about is what they want and don’t really care who they have to hurt to get it.

  • All the titles in the book.  My head was swarming with them.  I realize that it was important to know the social structure of the time period, but it was still confusing with all the princes, grand dukes, tsareviches, et cetera.

  • Katerina’s mother, Yevgenia.  She was a frail woman who would have spells when stressful moments arose.  I believe that she wanted to do the best for her daughter and have her marry the best person, but she was only concerned with titles and not who the person actually was.

On the cover, there is a girl whom I presume to be Katerina.  The outfit that she is wearing reminds me of Russia, so that is a good fit.  It is snowing in the picture.  Even though I liked this cover, I didn’t think it supported the story very well.  It doesn’t give you a glimpse into what the story is about.  It wasn’t one of those books where you see the cover and say “I’ve got to read that book.”  I actually didn’t want to read it until I read the synopsis.

Find Robin

Buy The Gathering Storm


  1. I have this book and can't wait to read it. Your new design looks awesome btw.

    1. This book was awesome. I'm excited about my new design too! I think it looks classier! :)


I would love to hear what you think about my reviews. Please leave a link to let me know who you are!