In a Word: Satisfactory
Source: Publisher/ NetGalley
Publication Date: January 10th 2012
Short Synopsis (Goodreads): 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.
My Review: I have this weird fascination with Russia. Add to that a female necromancer in the time period of Imperial Russia and you have me hooked!
I liked this book, I did. The setting was believable and, even though there is a plethora of people, I eventually got to know them and admire them. This is a good start to a series....but there aren't any publication dates, much less hints, of its continuation listed anywhere!
Not too much of a cliffhanger at the end, it resolves reasonably well, but there is definitely room for expansion. I think the second book has a the potential of being much better than the first now that the stage has been set. It took a while for reasonable tension to show between the two characters I was rooting for...and then it kind of sped up to make up for lost time, which I wasn't as much of a fan of.
Then Katerina was kind of bi-polar where she would be all sensible and blushing at a compliment one moment and then going off her rocker and having to forcibly be removed from the room by her father for a stray comment made by someone (why yes, I do have a specific example in mind). These instances do not happen often, but were enough for me to take notice.
And while the story was interesting, it seemed rushed. I felt that more effort had been taken in Imperial Russian research and in getting all of the names straight of cousins and relatives and princess and dukes (which was quite impressive, I will admit. The author made keeping straight all of those people seem effortless. While it was not entirely key to the story, a family tree would have been interesting) than in fleshing things out as much plot wise as they could have been.
That being said, I was able to read this book in 2.5 days without difficulty. It went fairly smoothly for the most part and kept me turning the pages. I will read the next one when it comes out! (though...when that is...one can only guess)