Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Gathering Storm (YA)

The Gathering Storm. Robin Bridges. 2012. Random House. 386 pages.

An afternoon spent solving quadratic equations would have been infinitely more pleasant. 

 The Gathering Storm is a paranormal fantasy that almost-almost worked for me. It is a paranormal novel starring necromancers, werewolves, vampires, and zombies set in 1880s Russia; the characters are aristocratic and often royal. Our heroine is a young woman named Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg. She's making her debut in society, and she's caught the attention of two men. One is the middle son of the tsar, his name is George Alexandrovich, at first Katerina is not impressed with him. The second is the crown prince of Montenegro, Prince Danilo, her first impression of him is much stronger. Then again, it could be because he's a vampire who has mesmerized her.

Is there a single character in this one that doesn't have at least one secret? And most of the main characters--the five or six 'main' characters--have DOZENS of secrets between them. This was truly a case of the main character not knowing WHO to trust. Could she have made better guesses at who to trust? Perhaps. Did the reader have a little more information? Not really. Sure, readers can make their own guesses as to who's telling the truth, who's lying, and who's being the MOST manipulative. What kept me from making predictions--or sticking with the predictions that I made early on--was the fact that you never do know for sure if/when authors are going to put in twists and turns and surprise you.

Did I care about the characters? Well, I almost cared about Katerina. And I did care about George Alexandrovich. I did like Katerina's father. The rest of the characters? Well, I almost-almost cared about some of them, but, some of them not even that much. There were SO VERY MANY characters, usually these characters were related to one another. And I could never remember who was who, who liked each other, who hated each other, who got along, etc. The politics did get confusing at times.

I think I would have liked this one more if it hadn't felt so modern. At times the historical setting worked for me, but other times I just didn't believe it. Katerina has ONE BIG DREAM, to go to medical school and become a doctor. But the universities in Russia do not accept women in their medical programs, and, her parents aren't quite willing to send their daughter away to another European university. But Katerina's dream to have a career remains strong. She hasn't decided against marriage, she hasn't embraced the single life. No, she wants a very open-minded husband who will celebrate her decision to work outside the home and have a career as a doctor. And Katerina seems genuinely surprised when the CROWN PRINCE frowns on her demands to be a working woman. Every time I see Katerina interact with the doctors in the hospital (or in private homes, for that matter), I was thrown out of the story a bit. I don't know how modern, how advanced, how scientific and research-oriented the medical field was in 1880s Russia, but, I do know that at this time in other parts of the world, it was not very. That the field of medicine was very different than modern medicine.

Does it work as a paranormal fantasy? Probably. This isn't my favorite genre, but, it has potential. Does it work as a romance? Well, it has potential. A little more time focused on romance would probably have been a good thing. But, what we do get of George was nice.

Read The Gathering Storm
  • If you enjoy paranormal fantasies with light romance (love triangle of sorts)
  • If you enjoy historical fantasy with some paranormal elements (vampires, zombies, werewolves)
  • If you enjoy books set in Russia in the nineteenth century
© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 comments:

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

The background is based on a background I found here...with some small adjustments on my part so it would work with the template.
Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP