Friday, January 27, 2012

Review: The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges

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?

My Rating: 2.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges was just such an odd mixture of history, fantasy and paranormal! Set in Russia during the rule of Alexander III, Bridges captures the lifestyle of the rich, but then enmeshes the historical reality with creatures like faeries, vampires, revenants and more. These fantasy and paranormal creatures seem to be discussed randomly early on in mini info dumps. Later in the book, they more or less took precedence – I’m still not fully sure what they were all doing because nothing was really explained; it was so very vague – and the story simply became a blend of fantasy and paranormal that just happened to be set in a historical setting. This was kind of disappointing because I expected something with more “historical” to it. (Although maybe that’s a good thing because as a member of the aristocracy, Katerina wouldn’t be doing much then other than attending balls …)

The romance was also disappointing. It’s not a love triangle like the summary suggests so that was good, but I don’t know … I just wasn’t feeling it. Part of that I think can be attributed to the time period – since there wasn’t a huge amount of private, personal interaction, the switch in feelings from dislike to like from both parties felt kind of sudden.

As well, most of the characters felt very flat. Just as how there were way too many paranormal creatures – none of whom were explored in depth, there were also too many secondary characters. I know there were a lot of aristrocrats, but all the same/similar names and finding out how Katerina was related to everybody just confused me!

Katerina herself was nothing special. While I did like that she was proactive and wanted to be a doctor rather than just aiming to get married, I found her situation a little unbelievable. Assuming you’re a duchess in 1888, why in the world would want to give up your easy, luxurious life to have the unglamorous job of a doctor?

A story that I found weird, but one that didn’t completely bore me; The Gathering Storm was released by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on January 10, 2012.

Comments About the Cover: The clothes the model is wearing immediately tells you that the book is set in Russia, which was one of the reasons why I requested The Gathering Storm.

In exchange for an honest review, this ARC was received from the publisher (Random House) for free via NetGalley.    


  1. This one fell really flat for me too, in both setting and characters. Such a disappointment. :(

  2. I skipped this one after I read why Smalls DNFed it. I'm glad to know that I didn't miss out on anything. Seems like a story slapped together with a pretty cover.

  3. bummr it was not2 your liking

  4. Shoot! I had such high hopes for this one, I haven't read any books set in Russia so I thought the setting would be fun, especially when mixed with paranormal elements. If characters fall flat though, I can never get into a story, so I think maybe this one can wait a while at the bottom of the TBR pile. Thanks Z!

  5. nooooooo really?? And I was eager to read it so badly! if the rmance was disappointing... well... I pass =T

    thanx for the honest review! My Russian fetish will have to wait until The Golden Lyly is released XDDDDD LOL

    Dazzling Reads

  6. Everytime I see this book, I feel like it's not going to be a good read, but then I think, maybe I should give it a try. And now... well, you know how I feel about a disappointing romance, so I don't think I'll ever give it a try.

  7. I couldn't agree with you more! I was so confused by the paranormal rules and all of the secondary characters. I also wasn't buying the duchess who wants to be a doctor thing either. I had such high hopes for this one too :(

  8. What!?! Maybe its because I really love this time period but I actually just finished this one and though it was really good. I liked the different paranormals and am hoping that more will be explained in the next book.

  9. Oh no, another book with a great cover, but unfortunaley the story inside isn't good. I hate when that happens. I had high hopes for this one & now I'm not sure if I want to give this a try. I do see that jenny N really liked it, so waiting for her opinion of the book, but this going to go down..down....down on the tbrlist. ;)

  10. Umm...I maybe could have been into this one because you mentioned vampires and I wasn't expecting that, but if you were disappointed by the romance, I know I'd be too. Though I'm glad to hear there isn't exactly a love triangle, I need a romance that sizzles!

  11. How sad because it seems like this one had so much promise! I would love to read an actually good fantasy set in this time period and place. I guess I'll be passing on this one though.

  12. AWWWWWWWWWW that's a major bummer!!! I really wanted to read this book becuase I loved the cover but it doesn't seem worth it anymore. AHHHHH a disapointing romance!!! Officially crossing this one of my tbr list with a red pen!!! Well great review :)


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