Fae folk, undead soldiers, and vampires cavort and conspire in this elaborate, rich in atmosphere YA novel set in the glittery balls and dark corridors of Russia’s imperial court during the late 1880’s when Russia’s final tsar, Nicolas II, was a young man and his father, Alexander III, still ruled. Main character Katerina Alexandrovna is a reluctant necromancer with the “gift” of being able to raise the dead, an ability she considers a horror and hideous curse, but unsurprisingly she must in the end accept and embrace her power to protect Russia from the forces of evil. Katarina is fascinated by the rapidly evolving science of modern medicine and would like to become a doctor, but societal restrictions on women and complications that develop because of her supernatural abilities stand in her way. In spite of trying to keep her powers hidden she attracts the attention of both the bewitching Prince Danilo of Montenegro and the curt and distant George Alexandrovich, middle son of the current tsar.While The Gathering Storm is not a perfectly written novel I raced through it, and only willingly paused in my reading long enough to look up more information on the fascinating historical characters and incidents woven into its plot. It’s added a number of books about imperial Russia to my Amazon wish list and library holds queue. Early in my reading I printed out a family tree of the Romanov dynasty to help me keep track of characters—which is fun reading in itself--but the final version of the book includes one (I read an advanced reader’s copy).