Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
This book's combination of Russian royalty with mystical occult beings is a match-up made in, well maybe not heaven, but wow! It makes an irresistible story-line for fans of YA fiction with an interest in the nineteenth century and a love of plots full of paranormal characters. The Morning Star, which is the third and final book in The Katerina Trilogy, manages to incorporate a lot of historical facts while recasting actual members of European royalty, the Russian imperial court, and St. Petersburg’s aristocracy as witches, wizards, fairies, vampires, bogatyr, necromancers, shape-shifting werewolves, and zombie-like undead fallen angel armies. Add Tibetan medical philosophy and ancient Egyptian magic to the mix, and the exotic, darkly beautiful world of this series gets even better.
The only purely fictional main character is Katerina herself, a skilled but reluctant necromancer whose passion to become a doctor threatens the love she shares with George Androvich, the current Tsar’s second oldest son and a young but powerful wizard. In this book Katerina must travel through the realm of the dead to locate the powerful sword known as the Morning Star before Konstantin Pavlovich, the long dead grandson of Catherine the Great who has possessed the body of one of Katerina’s suitors in order to overthrow Tsar Alexander III. Whoever holds the sword commands an army of supernatural soldiers and Katerina’s adventures to find it take her from a box seat in St Petersburg's resplendent Mariinsky theater to a bench in a boat guided by the jackal-headed ferryman on Egypt's River of the Dead.
It can be a little tricky keeping track of the characters, but Robin Bridges has a very helpful family tree on her website that extends from Catherine the Great to the generation of the Nicholas II, the final Tsar of Russia who is still a teenager in this book. Katrina is the only fictional character on the chart, like Nicholas II she is a great-great-great-grandchild of her namesake Catherine the Great.