Monday, August 26, 2013

Early YA book review: The Morning Star by Robin Bridges

Reader Girls is today's stop on The Morning Star Blog Tour. I have loved this series since the first book, The Gathering Storm, and having to say goodbye has been hard. Welcome!

The Morning Star (The Katerina Trilogy, Book#3) by Robin Bridges
YA historical paranormal fiction
Hardcover/eBook, 320 pages
Expected publication: August 27th 2013 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

St. Petersburg, Russia, 1890

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.

Book One: The Gathering Storm review 
Book Two: The Unfailing Light review

The Gathering Storm made me appreciate the hard work of crafting fiction out of history. Robin Bridges deftly created a wondrous Russia of the 18th century, complete with costumes, various settings, touched upon politics and medicine, while adding in mystery, suspense and romance. Did I mention the supernatural world of the Light and Dark fae courts, werewolves, vampires, necromancers and one determined aristocratic young woman bent on becoming a doctor? By the time I finished The Unfailing Light I was a fan of Ms. Bridges so when I began reading The Morning Star I knew I had to take my time because Katerina's journey was coming to an end.

But what a journey she endures! Not once did I lose interest, quite the opposite. When Katerina is taken away she travels to marvelous places like Paris and Egypt traveling by steamer, train, and camel. Katerina must make an important decision concerning her dream and her love for a certain Grand Duke. Konstantin is threatening to return and claim the throne he believes is rightfully his. War is coming to Russia and as the tsar's necromancer, Katerina's job is to help out but in this final installment she doesn't realize exactly how important she is to the throne and the people of Russia. 

I loved Katerina's spunk and fierce determination. She still trains with a doctor of Tibetan medicine in secret but I did wish she cracked open her necromancy handbook as easily as she studied anatomy. She did admonish herself over this so I had to laugh. I also love George and relished their scenes together. The Dark Prince Danilo makes an appearance and for the first time I found myself liking him (just a little). Katerina's family is still loving and supportive, one factor I always found appealing in this addictive series.

Fans of this series will not be disappointed. I may still have trouble pronouncing the Russian names but I had no problem loving Katerina, George and their classic world. Knowing this was our last time together was sad, but Robin Bridges certainly didn't disappoint this loyal reader. Mystery, intrigue, action, travel, and I can't forget to mention the romance (kisses!) fill the pages of The Morning Star. Running away, kidnapping, Katerina also learns to hone her dark light skills, lead an army of dead soldiers into battle and wield 

The minute precision of historical details meets the fantastical world of the supernatural in The Katerina Trilogy. The author paints a vivid world of yesteryear, bringing old time Russia to life and treating YA fans to a young woman way ahead of time with her dream of becoming a doctor in a male dominated society. Katerina, I will miss you. Thank you Ms. Bridges for creating this series and sharing it with the world.

Rating: 4.5

Favorite quote:
"What has happened?" I asked, rushing back down the stairs.
Papa put a heavy hand on my shoulder and squeezed gently. "I should let the grand duke explain everything to you." He turned to my mother and asked, "Shenia, will you have Anya begin packing a trunk for Katiya?"
Maman gave a frightened little cry. "She must leave now? Where is she going?"
"I'll explain it to you in a minute, my dear. You must tell Anya to hurry. They do not have much time." He led Maman gently up the stairs with her exclaiming the whole way. 
I looked at George, who was standing in the hall at the foot of the staircase. "Tell me what happened," I demanded.
"You were right about the lich tsar. He is here, in St. Petersburg, and he's been raising a new army of the undead."

Cover comment:
What I really love about this series are the poses the model representing Katerina takes. For the first book she appears young and innocent--the typical debutante. The second cover showcases a princess with a secretive dark power. Book three displays a new Katerina, a woman who knows what she is, what she wants, and yet can still appear regal and defiant in a classy way. 

Book source:
I received a promotional copy from the publisher in return for my honest review. Thank you, Delacorte Books for Young Readers.

Follow The Morning Star Blog Tour:
August 18th: The Hiding Spot
August 19th: YA Bibliophile
August 21st: Candace’s Book Blog
August 22nd: Mom Reads My Books
August 23rd: Marmalade Libby
August 24th: My Life is a Notebook
August 26th: Imaginary Reads
August 26th: Reader Girls
August 27th: Kimba Caffeinated
August 28th: Page Turners Blog
August 29th: Book Rook Reviews

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