Author: Robin Bridges
Published: January 10th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Description: 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?
I Give This ...
I was really looking forward to this book. I love historical novels and usually enjoy those in the young adult genre. Russian historical is one that I've only read a few of, and it's usually focused on later Romanov's. Sadly, I'm finding that I don't enjoy historical mixed with paranormal as much as I would have liked.
My favorite part of the book was the setting itself. I felt like I got a different look at Russian history. I liked how the nobility is portrayed. It seems a lot more complicated that the nobility of English history (which is what I'm most familiar with). I liked learning a little bit about the etiquette for the royal family and the rest of the nobility.
I also really liked Katerina. She's a duchess, but she doesn't give off the airs of nobility. She seems very down to earth. She gets the perks of being nobility, but would rather get down and dirty in the hospitals. This was a characteristic that I greatly admired in her. I also enjoyed the fact that she could raise the dead. Although, I admit it was a trait I didn't understand much more than she did.
I had a hard time with the actual paranormal elements of the story outside of Katerina's ability to raise the dead. There were far to many different paranormal elements and it really distracted from the story line. I didn't follow the different races of vampires and their abilities. I was intrigued that the fact the Empress of a fairy of the (light?) fairy court, but felt like it didn't get enough play into the story. And the final battle was just a little over the top for me. It just felt like to much was going on.
Overall I liked it for the historical elements. I'm not sure if I will continue this series or not.