The Gathering Storm review
By Robin Bridges
“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?”
Some one recommended this book to me but I hadn’t heard much about it at all from other people, so I was a little concerned about how good it actually would be. I ended up enjoying this story for the most part; there are some areas that I wasn’t particularly fond of. Despite enjoying this book, I felt like it was extremely obvious that this was a debut novel as occasionally the writing style was a bit odd and it felt like too many different elements where being shoved into the story.
I will start with the things I did not particularly like. First, there were so many characters that it was incredibly hard to keep up with who was who and which family they were from and how they were connected and so on. I often found myself going back pages to try and recall who a character was and what their role was in the story, it was incredibly confusing at times. I also don’t feel that all the characters that were mentioned needed to be there, they seemed to play no real role in the storyline, although this is book one of a trilogy so they could be important later for all I know.
The second thing I was not too fond of was the amount of supernatural creatures that were involved. This is sort of like my problem with too many characters. There was just too many different types of supernatural creatures brought into the story. There was necromancers, vampires, witches, werewolves, fey and zombies. Again it was hard to keep up with who was what and who was on the dark or light side. I feel that the story could have been a lot better if just one or two types of supernatural creatures were focused upon.
With the large number of characters and supernatural creatures, the story felt very broad and not very focused. I didn’t feel that the reader got to know many of the characters really well, apart from the main character, as more and more things were being introduced without truly exploring them.
This isn’t really a like or dislike, but I felt that the back of the book didn’t accurately explain the story. The synopsis on the back made the story sound like it was mostly historical with a bit of a supernatural element, whereas the story was the complete opposite.
Now on to the things that I liked about this book. Firstly, I really enjoyed the main character Katerina Alexandrovna, I found her to be a very strong female character. She is intelligent, loyal, friendly and determined to succeed even when others tell her there is no way. She also is not one of those characters you find so often in YA books that instantly fall in love and become infatuated. There is romance involved in this story though, just not too much of it and it was well paced. This made it more enjoyable to read about the love interests and their development.
Despite the overwhelming number of characters and supernaturals, I found the storyline to be very interesting and was eager to keep reading. I also enjoyed the world the book was set in, it was well built making it easy for the reader to visualise it and feel drawn into a place that sounds unique, beautiful and exciting.
Overall I really enjoyed this book, it definitely could have been better, but I still liked it. The things I liked about the story outweighed the things I didn’t so I’m looking forward to continuing on with the trilogy.
Rating: 3.5/5 star