The Gathering Storm Robin Bridges Book Review

The Gathering Storm by debut author Robin Bridges is more intricate than a Faberge egg. Russian mythology, courtly intrigue and just a hint of slow burn romance are deftly woven together in Katerina’s story, the first of a trilogy that left me desperately wanting the next book, The Unfailing Light.

The Gathering Storm Robin Bridges Book Review

The Gathering Storm

Katerina has aspirations of being a doctor and studying at medical school. However, she lives in tsarist Russia, where this dream is not possible for a noble-born girl and so she spends her time at Smolny school. Did I mention she has a secret? You see, Katiya (her nickname) is a necromancer – an ability she keeps hidden. Yet certain circles find out and this really bad guy, Prince Danilo, wants to marry her so he can use her for his evil ends. BUT Katiya doesn’t want to do dark, evil things. One of the tsar’s children, duke George, finds out as well and decides he does not like Katerina. SO yes, there is kind of a love triangle that pops up and I won’t give away how it plays out.

The Russian style of naming might be off putting if you don’t read very much Russian lit. However, it does get easer to understand later in the book, as long as one keeps in mind how much the Russians in The Gathering Storm like their saints and also like to name based on parentage. Plus, with the Russian court there’s not just one prince or princess, there’s many, from different families. Note the Tsar is at the top. Otherwise, it’s not that hard to follow.

I loved the traditional Russian mythology that Robin Bridges wove in — of tsars who could turn into magical beings called bogatyrs to save Russia, of witches, of vampires. It’s so fascinating and rich and sent my brain on a flight of fancy. Honestly, though, I kept hoping Baba Yaga would make an appearance.

As for Katerina, I liked her as a character. She has aspirations to help people and go to medical school. She definitely works very hard at school. And then she tries very hard to protect others. However, I thought she did lack some agency and would have liked to see her be stronger and save herself, but given the time period (Imperial Russia), her actions did make sense. I mean, she would often expect a male to save her, but I suppose it is excusable given her time.

I feel like The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges is a book that most people seem to either love or hate. As a person who always enjoyed learning about Imperial Russia, who likes a good intrigue, and mythology, The Gathering Storm was right up my alley. If you find confusing names frustrating, or are not much for historical fantasy or love triangles, then perhaps The Gathering Storm is not for you.

Disclosure: Received for review via Amazon Vine.

Other Reviews of The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges:

YA Bibliophile
Tripping Books
Hobbitsies
Bibliophilic Monologues

About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

Comments

  1. I totally had trouble with the names but was pleased enough that I’ll be checking out the sequel eventually. I love the setting of Russia but I didn’t think the fantasy elements were integrated very well-it was overwhelming for me. Hopefully I’ll be adjusted for the second.
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  2. I had mixed feelings on this one so I guess I am the rare person that neither loved nor hated it! I will definitely read the next book because I really want to know what happens! But it just seemed at times there were too many kinds of supernatural creatures for one book. And the main character acted a bit dumb sometimes.
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  3. I have this for review and haven’t read it yet but I’m glad that you enjoyed it. I find Russian history to be fascinating. If you are interested in reading about Baba Yaga and bogatyrs, have you checked out Sarwat Chadda’s books? The second book (Dark Goddess) in his Billi SanGreal series is set in Russia and Baba Yaga is a character. I’d start with book one, Devil’s Kiss though so that you get the background on Billi. I have a feeling you’d like the books.
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  4. I’m really curious about this one. I don’t usually love historical books, but I think Russian mythology is so fascinating. Plus, she’s a necromancer! That’s awesome. I still don’t know if it’s something I would love, but I’m happy to hear that you liked it!
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  5. Oh… this book. I have seen the cover, and I wasn’t going to go anywhere near it.. just because I hate that damn hat. It looks like a bunt cake.

    I love russian stuff though. That’s in part due to dimitri from VA, and that cute animated movie from when I was young, Anastasia. I still listen to the theme song to that and sing at the top of my lungs when it’s on. I get looks.

    This sounds really good though, so I’ll forget that I want to kick that stupid thing off her head, and add it to my reading list. *sigh* My ever growing list. lol
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  6. I don’t read a lot of Russian Lit (maybe that’s a class I should take. I focused on Brit LIt in college) so maybe that’s why I couldn’t get into this one so much. It’s not that this was a bad read–it definitely wasn’t–it’s just that I wasn’t as intrigued or drawn in as I wanted to be.
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  7. YES. This book was one of my very first reviews of 2012 and had already made my favorites list a mere two weeks into the new year. 🙂 So fantastic.

  8. The romance was probably my favorite aspect. And while I love learning about Imperial Russia, AND historical fantasy, I just feel like Bridges could’ve executed everything better. Still, it was a fun, though somewhat disappointing, read! 🙂

    Loved the review, April. You never fail to touch on the likable and notso likable parts of a book, which makes me feel like I can trust what you say 😀

    Asher
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  9. As an Anastasia fangirl, I want to check this out purely for the setting, but I’m not sure if that’s enough to push me to actually read it. We shall see.
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  10. I have this one sitting on my bookshelf, it sounds interesting which is why I picked it up.
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