Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Review: The Gathering Storm, by Robin Bridges

The Gathering Storm (Katerina, #1)Title: The Gathering Storm
Author: Robin Bridges
Publication Date: January 10, 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction

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?

2 Stars

Maybe I'm just a cynical old hag, but this was nothing near what I was expecting. And not in a good way. Political intrigue! Courtly drama! A compelling historical tale! These are all what I expected the book to contain; alas, while these were included, it was portrayed in a very immature, superficial manner.

And it's such a pity that I was so disappointed to by this. I'll admit it did entertain at the beginning, but after I got used to the characters and the setting and the story, my interest was halfhearted and frankly gone by the end of the story, so much so that I was reading just to get the novel over with. And when I say boring, I don't mean that it was packed with historical facts to the point of dryness; quite the opposite, actually. It was the lack of these historical details that really made the plot a bit run-of-the-mill and not any different than some mediocre book about magic.

I guess I was expecting something along the lines of Katherine Longshore's Tudor novels, but really all I read a novel that barely touched the surface of the magic, politics, and history that I had been anticipating. The romance was...awkward, like cringy-awkward. Usually in these kinds of books the romance is written relatively well alongside the terrible writing and conventional plot, but in this book....bleh. And I don't think any of the characters appealed to me--not one. Not only were they not properly developed, they were also a quite annoying to be completely honest.

Despite all these complaints, I can't really bring myself to give this one star due to the fact that I was slightly interested in the novel at first. Plus, I don't necessarily hate this book--I normally reserve a one star rating for books which have offended me in some way. The Gathering Storm simply did not trigger that much of an emotional response from me.

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