Release date: January 10, 2012
My Rating: 4 Stars
Imperial Russia. Grand Balls. Fairies. Vampires. An Undead Army. What else do you need?
Katerina is a Duchess in Imperial Russia with a gift that she sees as a curse, she can raise the dead. She discovers her “gift” at a young age and is so frighten that she doesn’t tell anyone. In a time where most girls her age are trying to find a husband with a good title, Katerina just wants to go to medical school. In an attempt to stop Elena, a dark princess from Montenegro, from casting a spell on the tsarevitch Nicholas, the heir to the throne of Russia, Katerina’s “gift” is revealed to the grand duke George (Nicholas’ brother). George has a secret of his own and he is not happy with what he sees in Katerina. This event sets larger events into motion that Katerina will not be able to undo.
Not only does Katerina have to deal with knowing that her gift has been revealed to others who want to use her, but she faces new dangers at school and in her social life. In her attempt to keep her gift a secret and her curiosity about medicine, she continues to find herself in dangerous situations, all the while trying to keep up with social appearances her mother is forcing her to attend. With members of the tsar’s guard being killed, she is forced to make a decision because she feels it is the only way to keep her family safe. Though she soon realizes it won’t work and is desperately trying to find an alternative and a way out. In a city where the only person Katerina can truly trust is herself, she must learn more about how to use her gift for good, if being able to raise the dead could be considered a good thing and stay true to herself.I was immediately drawn into the Russia Katerina knows and couldn’t wait to see what side she would choose. The description of Imperial Russia’s palaces and beautiful balls mixed with a strong heroine who doesn’t want to give up her dream for what society sees as right, and fighting faeries, vampires and other unnatural beings makes for a wonderful story. If you like historical fiction with a touch of paranormal then I think you’ll enjoy The Gathering Storm (KaterinaAlexandrovna #1).
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