by Robin Bridges
Series: Katerina Trilogy #2
Genres: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
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Having had no choice but to use her power has a necromancer to save Russia from dark forces, Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, now wants to forget that she ever used her special powers. She’s about to set off to pursue her lifelong dream of attending medical school when she discovers that Russia’s arch nemesis–who she thought she’d destroyed–is still alive. So on imperial orders, Katerina remains at her old finishing school. She’ll be safe there because the empress has cast a potent spell to protect it against the vampires and revenants who are bent on toppling the tsar and using Katerina for their own gains. But to Katerina’s horror, the spell unleashes a vengeful ghost within the school, a ghost more dangerous than any creature trying to get in.
As one of my most highly anticipated books of 2012, I was delighted to step back in time to 1889 and visit the Russian Imperial Court in St. Petersburg. As the second installment in the Katerina trilogy, The Unfailing Light takes us back into the life of seventeen-year-old Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg. Once again I was swept up by the courts of dark and light. The tale captivated me and I only came up for air when I reached the end.
Katerina is enjoying the holiday and looking forward to attending medical school in the fall. While exploring a cave, Katerina finds herself in the grey; the place between life and death. She comes face to face with Russia’s arch nemesis and he is still very much alive. With her life in possible danger, she receives Imperial orders to returning to finishing school. Katerina is devastated and only George’s pleading has her agreeing. The empress casts a spell over the school to keep her safe, but it cuts off her powers. Only the vampire prince, Danilo can communicate to her telepathically. While she worries about George, she soon finds plenty to deal with as the school is haunted by a violent ghost. The tale that unfolded was filled with suspense, secrets, danger and the sweetest forbidden romance.
Necromancer Katerina Alexandrovna is a delightful protagonist. I imagine that even without her powers she would be inquisitive, head-strong and always in the thick of things. She is noble, cares for others and can even find good in those who torment her. After the blood bond she finds the vampire prince in her head, and rather than let it freak her out, she uses it to find out information about the Order and George’s well-being in Paris. George Alexandrovich is a duke and the son of the Tsar. He has professed his love for Katerina and asked her to give him a year to convince his parents. Danilo is creepy and tries to weaves himself once again into Katerina life. He constantly refers to “when we get married” and his sisters once again cause problems at the school. Thankful there is no love triangle as Katerina’s heart belongs to George. The two share a few stolen moments. A new student and a ghost add to the adventures at the school and put everyone in grave danger.
The world-building in Unfailing Light was delightful and suspenseful. Bridge brings us a world of Fae, vampires, wolves, witches, and fairies. She skillfully weaves them into the history of the Russian court creating a light and dark court. I can just imagine the school, the countryside and the caves. I enjoyed how she gave us details without bogging the tale down. The new characters and events at the school adding suspense to the tale. We see character growth with Katerina and plot advancement. The plot has clever twists and turns, causing me to never be sure where loyalty lies. When an author keeps me on edge like this I become completely enthralled in the tale. The ride kept me spellbound as the tale was well paced from the beginning. I cannot wait for the final installment of this series *sighs*
Fans of historical paranormal fiction should delight in Unfailing Light. Bridge brings Katerina’s Russia to life and I look forward to revisiting it when the final book arrives. The final book, The Morning Star will publish August 27, 2013.
I want to thank Random House for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review. *Purchases made through buy links on this site result in a small commission which funds our giveaways.
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