Series: Katerina #1
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Russia 1800s, Paranormal, Fantasy
Maturity Level: YA - some mature content
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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?
The characters were the main redeeming quality in this book. The ones I could remember anyways. I kind of liked how some characters had a clear side. They were either good or bad. But most characters had a little bit of both in them which felt more realistic to me. It was especially refreshing in a fantasy.
I happily fell in love with one of the male characters, George. He was kind of moody and wasn’t involved in the first half of the book which was sad but I really loved him. Too much.
It took me a little bit to warm up to Katarina, our main character. She just didn’t want to listen at the start. She was told to wear this ring because it would protect her and did she do it? Nope. She didn’t wear it and ended up in a really bad situation. And even then it took her forever to figure out that she should probably wear the magic ring. She eventually got less stupid but she’s still a hard character to like sometimes.
The plot of this book was so confusing. By the summary I assumed it was about some sort of witches because of the magic. It was actually about witches, zombies, vampires, and faeries. Some people were even 2 of those options! I was so lost! It eventually got a little better and I was able to enjoy the story more but I still couldn’t keep track of who was what. I felt like the author was trying to squish too many supernatural creatures in there.
Not only was there a lot of creatures, but there were too many characters. I couldn’t remember who was who at some times. Plus there were a couple names that looked similar and I kept getting them mixed up. I could have used less characters.
I really loved reading this book because it was set in historical Russia. I think that others who love reading historical books or just about books that don’t take place in typical country will enjoy reading this one. Bonus if you love paranormal elements!
This was a slightly disappointing read but entertaining all the same.