Monday, 2 September 2013

Review: The Morning Star by Robin Bridges

Title: The Morning Star
Author: Robin Bridges
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Release Date: 27th August 2013
Source: Bought
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Description: Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, wants to be known as a doctor, not a necromancer. But Tsar Alexander III forbids women to attend medical school; his interest in Katerina extends only to her ability to raise the dead. Twice now, Katerina has helped him by using her power to thwart the forces of darkness—vampires bent on resurrecting the lich tsar Konstantin Pavlovich so that he can take what he sees as his rightful place on the throne. Katerina thought she had bound Konstantin to the Greylands, the realm of the dead, but he has found a way out. Now he is searching for the Morning Star, a sword that will allow him to command a legion of supernatural warriors. Katerina must find the sword before Konstantin does—and she must travel to Egypt to do so. Along the way, she puts up with unwanted attention from her former fiancĂ©, the nefarious Prince Danilo, and struggles with her feelings for her true love, George Alexandrovich. But with the looming threat from Konstantin, Katerina's focus remains on the sword. Russia's fate will be determined by whoever wields the Morning Star—and delivers the final blow.

First things first. The Morning Star is ridiculous, the type of ridiculous that’s good and entertaining, instead of absurd.  The world of Katerina captured my attention due to its rich detailed historical setting and its unique paranormal take on the Russian aristocracy.  Ever since I first read The Gathering Storm, I have been invested in these characters and their adventures with the supernatural dead.  Even though The Morning Star is not as good as the first book in the series, which is my favourite of the three, it is still an entertaining conclusion to the Katerina trilogy.

Katerina is a necromancer, but what she really wants to be is a doctor. Struck in Russia, under the Tsars orders, Katerina is learning medicine from a Tibetan doctor in order to fulfil her own dreams and heal her beloved George.  As always, trouble looms for her as Konstantin is rising and looking to overtake the throne.  In order to do so he needs a necromancer and Katerina is his only hope. To defeat Konstantin she needs to find the sword The Morning Star and command an undead army.  Along the way she needs to deal with the Imperial family, her ex-fiancĂ© and come to terms with her feelings for George Alexandrovich.

The plot is jam-packed and complex. There are minor plot holes to be found if you look hard enough. There’s a kidnapping, an epic battle and a trip to Egypt. At one point there is a wedding right in the middle of the action, when there are more important things to consider.  I will be the first to admit that there are a few faults in this book. Additionally, Katerina is sure to annoy you at some point in this book, especially in regards to her relationship with Danilo. Her relationship with Danilo just pisses me off.  Despite the faults, I really enjoy this series and its last book. There were penalty of moments that had me giddy, swooning and laughing, while others had me shaking my head.  The ending was a satisfying farewell to all of these characters, especially Katiya and George.

For me, the main reason I enjoyed this book, and series is its wonderful historical setting and the paranormal twist upon the Russian aristocratic court. I loved the Imperial world that Robin Bridges presents and it’s wonderful to read about the Tsar, the Imperial family, the Duchess and the Grand Duke.  I am always caught up in all the historical details woven into the story, along with Russian history. I loved all the family connections and the grandeur of the dark and light courts. 

Katerina is a frustrating main character, but you cannot but like this girl. Despite all of the things she does, she cares deeply for her family and George.  When I think of Katerina, the description rebel with boundaries comes to mind. On one hand she’s progressive for a character in the 1890’s with her ambition to be a doctor. On the other hand she doesn’t push the boundaries too hard and remains true to historical conventions, which can get on your nerves. One of the greatest assets of this book is the romance. I love Grand Duke George. Both Katerina and George are stubborn, and their relationship has never been smooth sailing, so it was nice to see a happy ending of sorts for these two.  You can feel the affection these two have for each other, in their attempts to protect the other.

An entertaining historical story with a supernatural twist and a satisfying conclusion.  If you are anything like me and are fascinated by the Russian aristocracy then this might be the series for you.

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