by Juliet Marillier
by Juliet Marillier
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Hardback: 320 Pages
Publication: August 27, 2013 by Delacorte BFYR
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 fiancé, 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.
◆ A copy was provided by Random House for review ◆
When I know there's a big battle coming up in the last book of a trilogy, I expect to be wowed. I want to see lots of suspense and fight scenes. I can see where people would find it in this book. However, everything seemed too stagey. I never felt drawn towards any of the characters' struggles or the plot as a whole.
Katiya is still an admirable character. She makes tough decisions in order to protect those that she cares about. However, she's human, and it's understandable that the very love that drives her to protect those close to her also causes her to make decisions that can compromise their safety, all because she wants to keep them close. Other than Katiya, there's not much to say about the other characters. Katiya never spends a good amount of time with the other characters, and if she does, much is often summarized and not enough detail is paid attention to them. Danilo and George were disappointing on the whole. I loved their unique personalities, but they were so very flat in this book. It seemed as if they'd come to embrace the stereotypical love-triangle heroes with George being the fair hero and Danilo being the mysterious intruder. There's also a 'possessed' Danilo twist that confused me much of the time because I didn't know who was speaking half the time and just how much the two personalities had blended together.
The romance wasn't all that great either. I really hate when characters do impulsive things for love, and despite her initial decision to part with George for his own good, Katiya ends up doing just that. When I think about it from the lovers' perspective, it seems to make sense for them. They love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together. However, I just didn't see the rational in rushing things like they do, especially when there's so much at stake, and they know their parents wouldn't approve of them rushing into things. Then there's the scene at the end with Danilo. I don't know. It just seems like so much was over-dramatized, and a lot of things happen a bit too conveniently for the characters.
On the whole, this was a disappointing conclusion to a series that I had come to love.
Click here to read my interview with Robin Bridges on the Katerina Trilogy!