Author: Robin Bridges
Release Date: August 27, 2013 (hardcover)
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Overall: 4 Stars
Lush and opulent, romantic and sinister, The Morning Star, Vol. III in the Katerina Trilogy, reimagines the lives of Russia's aristocracy in a fabulously intoxicating and page-turning fantasy.
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.
Despite some of the faults I may have found with the series as a whole, I honestly did feel The Morning Star was absolutely addicting to read! When Katerina finds herself kidnapped and taken to Egypt to search for a powerful sword called the Morning Star, she will have to keep her wits about her to prevent the sword from falling into enemy hands. Fast-paced and adventurous, Robin Bridges's The Morning Star captures the opulence of the Russian Empire and adds danger to every page.
There were times when I really didn't understand the reasoning which drives Katerina's actions. She has good intentions, but she can be so narrow-minded. She knows Tsar Alexander will need her necromancer abilities to help stop Konstantin, yet instead of gaining more knowledge by reading her copy of A Necromancer's Companion, she completely ignores her duties. Katerina only cares about continuing her medical studies, and her stubbornness to not learn about her own powers leaves her very vulnerable.
While I've always rooted for George and Katerina to be together, I wish we could have seen more development in their relationship. They love each other, but do they really know one another? I feel like there's still so much more to George than what was actually shown. He was willing to give up everything for her, yet Katerina seemed to be only concerned with having her own wishes met. It wasn't until it was almost too late that she finally understood that maybe some sort of sacrifice or compromise needed to be made.
I've waited patiently over the course of the trilogy to see Katerina finally embrace herself as a necromancer, but that shining moment never really happened. I wanted Katerina to fight back more and be independent, but instead, she always seemed to be relying on someone else for help. After such an exciting build up, the conclusion wasn't exactly how I imagined it to be. A part of myself really wanted a final battle that was drawn out and more challenging, but I think Robin Bridges has also found a fitting way to end the trilogy.