The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges (Review & Giveaway!)

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Title: The Gathering Storm (The Katerina Trilogy #1)
Author: Robin Bridges
Release Date: January 10, 2012 (hardcover)
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 400
Source: ARC provided by publisher

Overall: 4 Stars

Summary:
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?  

My Thoughts:
What first captured my attention about The Gathering Storm was its setting in Imperial Russia, a time when the Russian Empire ruled with tremendous power and grand balls took place in mansions filled with glamour and wealth. Isn't that such a gorgeous image? And as soon as I learned The Gathering Storm would not only be historical fiction and that the supernatural was interwoven into the plot, I just knew I had to get my hands on a copy as soon as possible.

There is so much about The Gathering Storm that I want to talk about, but I can't because it would only give something away! So please forgive me for being intentionally vague when I say that the plot description doesn't really serve the book justice at all. It's more like an appetizer to the main course! Robin Bridges has created a complex world filled with danger and secrets that could turn the tide in a power struggle that's been raging beneath the surface for quite some time. Faeries, vampires, werewolves and more, I was fascinated by the new approach Robin Bridges has undertaken by tackling the paranormal and combining it along with European nobility, making readers question everyone's true natures.

At the heart of the struggle between dark and light is Katerina Alexandrovna, a young Duchess who has suddenly become a powerful player— and target — in a dangerous game she hadn't even realized she'd entered. When her abilities as a necromancer are discovered after trying to protect a member of the Imperial family, Katerina must place aside her fears and arm herself with knowledge. She's a stronger girl than she realizes, if only she can have the confidence to believe her dark magic talents don't also equate to being a bad person as well. And as if that weren't enough, Katerina finds herself drawn between two young men, one who infuriates her more often than not... and one whose intentions are far from pure.

The only element that stopped me from completely falling in love with the novel was that there was almost too much to take in. There are many characters to recognize who are supporting different sides for their own interests, and while part of me was reading the novel in awe by the sheer complexity Robin Bridges has imagined in her novel... the other part of me felt a little over my head by all the details and names. I wanted to race through the book to discover what would happen next, but at the same time, I read carefully so I could better understand the events.

Robin Bridges' debut novel is an impressive blend of Russian history meeting the supernatural! The Gathering Storm was an enthralling start to a trilogy I'm sure will only get better and better from here!

Thanks so much to Random House Canada for providing this review copy!

*****

Giveaway! Random House Canada is very kindly offering to give away one copy of Robin Bridges' The Gathering Storm to a lucky Canadian reader!
  • please fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter
  • must have a Canadian mailing address
  • giveaway will end on January 24, 2012
  • winner will be contacted by email afterwards
  • do not leave your email address in the comments 
-GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED-
-> Winner is Joy M.! <-  

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30 comments

  1. Hey there, I just noticed this was canada only. Delete Vivien's entries.

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    Replies
    1. Okay, I will! I usually open my contests to everyone, but Random House Canada is very graciously offering the copy and they'll be mailing it out to the winner.

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  2. Replies
    1. Thank you for letting me know. I'll delete your entries.

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  3. Historic Russia with a supernatural twist! Looking forward to reading this one. Mojaxx.

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  4. Oohers, you liked it a lot more than I did.
    LOL

    Much as I love all things Russia, I just couldn't get into this book. :(

    But oh well, to each her own ;D

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    1. Oh, I know! I had a feeling while I was reading it that it may now be someone's cup of tea but I really enjoyed it. But like I said, it could be easy to get a little lost since there's so much happening. :)

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  5. I am really looking forward to reading this after seeing all these amazing reviews. Imperial Russia and the supernatural together in a book. YES PLEASE! I can not wait to get my hands on this one, it sounds amazing and I love the idea behind the story :) Great review!

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    1. Thanks Andrea! I hope we see more YA books set in foreign countries like Russia more often! :)

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  6. I love imperial Russia and paranormal, the mix seem really good! :D I cant wait to read it.

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  7. Because i know my daughter would love it - the cover is intriguing.

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  8. Russian history always fascinates me. Can't wait to read this book!

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  9. This sounds like an interesting setting for a paranormal book - thanks for the review.

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  10. I just love the concept - the palace intrigues, the paranormal, and what seems to be a political and romantic love triangle. How unique!

    And the cover is AWESOME!

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

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  11. Sorry didn't see that this was Canada only, please delete my entry.

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  12. Replies
    1. :( Sorry! I'm sure I'll have more international giveaways in the future!

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  13. OMG!! Liiiiiiiz! thank you so much for this awesome giveaway!! holy cow! I've been looking forward for this book cuz I have a thing for Russians XD huhuhuhuhuh!! (Oh Belikov! <3) LOL

    I love your review!! I can't wait to read about Katherina and these two dudes huhuhuhu! and European nobility! yay!

    =D

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Natalia!!! lol, I'm more of an Adrian fan, so you can have Dimitri... :)

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  14. Wow Canada only?!?!? That never happens!!! Anyway I would <3 to read this one because 1) I love the cover! 2) it takes place in the past 3) Russia seems like a cool setting 4) AND there seems to be a great romance!!! Do I really need to say more?!?!?

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    1. Yep, a Canuck only giveaway! All of your reasons were pretty much why I just had to read The Gathering Storm right away!

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  15. Well, besides it sounding great, I like how the cover gives off the appearance of the book taking place in Russia. I like Russia.

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  16. This was a wonderful book, I loved every minute of it, and I'd already decided to add it to my collection. Winning it would be such a treat. (and you wouldn't even have to mail it :))

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  17. Why am I excited? Because it's different than most books I read. Historical fiction sounds like a good change for me. I want to include more genres too.

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  18. Really excited for this book!! I love any books set during the 1800s!! Great review :)

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  19. I've never read a book set in Russia so I'm excited to see how this one turns out! :)

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  20. 1. It's set in Russia during the time of Anastasia! 2. It's a paranormal historical which sounds super amazing! 3. It's a 2012 Debut!! 4. The cover is gorgeous and awakens the inner cover whore ;)

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  21. I have never read a book that was in Russia and the plot blurb is intriguing. The cover is so pretty as well! :)

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  22. YAY for canada only!!! this book looks awesome.. think the concept is something i havent read before (and set in the same time as Anastasia!! come on!! lol)..cant wait to see how this works out.. and how her power gets used!!

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