Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

The Gathering Storm (The Katerina Trilogy, Vol.I)

The Gathering Storm - Robin Bridges See more of my reviews sooner on The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC I received from the publisher via NetGalley.Duchess Katerina Alexandrovna of Oldenburg has a secret: she's a necromancer, one who can raise the dead. Since discovering her gift as a child, she has refused to use it again out of fear, but a threat to the tsarevich by the Montenegrin princess and sorceress Elena forced Katiya to use her powers once again. This pushes her into a tangled web of intrigue where the Montenegrin royals, now aware of her gift, are trying to win her over, fellow royals use Katiya and tell her only what suits their agendas, and the tsar's middle son accuses her of being a threat to the tsar. The truth is that the greatest threat is yet to come and Katiya's powers are the key to defeating it when it comes.Katerina--Katiya, from this point on--was a great character and I enjoyed both her and the conflict she had with her powers, but there were time I thought she was ridiculous. For instance, she can believe that faeries, necromancy, sorceresses, and general magic exist because they're all around her, but vampires and prophetic dreams? She calls bull on that. Really? It boggles my mind how she does that. If there's one mythical being out there, it's not a far stretch for there to be more, is it?I initially had worries about the book due to the mention of an apparent love triangle in the summary, and I was relieved to find that this was not the case. It's a little more complicated than that. Our antagonist (one of about fifty million, really) Danilo, appropriately creeped me out and made me hate him, but I wasn't quite sold on Katiya's love interest George. When a guy spend half the book glaring at her/accusing her of being evil and then spend the other half of the book only starting to warm up, and then does something as dramatic as George does at the end of the book, I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel.Though I am not overly familiar with 1880s Russia, it appears the author has done her research on royal titles, the Russian naming system, and more. Only one or two things please me more than seeing that an author has done their research well and not contradicted themselves in multiple places. So thank you for that, Mrs. Bridges. Thank you. Now, if only some other authors could follow that example...Several plot lines are going on in the book--the dead soldiers coming back to life, the Montenegrins' plans, strange happenings around St. Petersburg, and what's going on behind the scenes--but the book switches seamlessly between them, timing them just right so the switches happen when the reader begins to tire of one plot line and wonder when advancements will be made on one of the other plots. I can't remember the last time I read a book so well-paced in such a manner!The Gathering Storm was a worthwhile read I know I'll be getting a copy of once it is released. There was a troubling detail or two towards the end (mainly an element coming in that should forbid George and Katiya from being together, and those forbidden romances are so passe), but I look forward to the sequel in... Wow, it's going to be a while. Reading the ARC of a fantastic novel: a double-edged blade.