Let me begin my saying that I love reading debut novels. I like to know how good an author is at the beginning of their writing career, the start of their writing journey. This was no exception, as I absolutely loved Robin Bridge's debut! It was fantastic, marvelous and magical, all in one book! Spellcasting and absolutely wonderful! 4 out of 5 stormy stars...
The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
4 out of 5 stars
Recieved from Netgalley
Summary from Goodreads: 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?
I absolutely loved this setting! You don't really get a lot of books set in historic Russia, or even Russia at all. So it was a nice refreshing change to get swept into St. Petersburg. I loved the descriptions! I truly felt as if I was dancing at balls and dining at feasts. Robin Bridges is so great at describing every single thing in a limited amount of words. Besides, Russia is so coldly awesome!
Then there was the whole love triangle thing. I have to say, this love triangle was more like the love triangle in Paranormalcy by Kiersten White...
not that that's a bad thing of course. But there was an obvious awesomer knight in shining armor, verses a dark knight with a growth spurt. (Note: this comparison is not accurate!) It was kind of an alpha and beta triangle, with you rooting for the obvious choice. But I still loved it anyways!
And did I mention I loved George? He was charming, thought-provoking, handsome and definitely my first Russian crush! And I love him! Also, Katerina and George have this hate-love relationship, which makes it even more interesting! I love hate-love relationships! So suspenseful! (He's the alpha here.)
Then there was Danilo. I'm pretty impressed by him. See, the thing is he has this whole you-look-so-good-that-I-automatically-want-to-kiss-you thing going on. And I'm not kidding! He seriously does have that thing going! (Katerina experienced it herself.) So I honestly loved him too! But not exactly as much... cause he's the beta.
Katerina was an interesting character. First, she can raise the dead. That's already pretty interesting. You don't really get a lot of necromancers. Second, she's kind of high up in the social food chain. It was pretty interesting that way. She's one of the few "popular" protagonists that I know of.
The only problem I had with this book was that there were so many characters. It was hard to keep track of them all, but other than that I really loved this book. It was so awesome and elegant and Russian! So read this book when it comes out!