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.
An evil presence is growing within Europe's royal bloodlines—and those aligned with the darkness threaten to topple the tsar. Suddenly Katerina's strength as a necromancer attracts attention from unwelcome sources . . . including two young men—George Alexandrovich, the tsar's standoffish middle son, who needs Katerina's help to safeguard Russia, even if he's repelled by her secret, and the dashing Prince Danilo, heir to the throne of Montenegro, to whom Katerina feels inexplicably drawn.
The time has come for Katerina to embrace her power, but which side will she choose—and to whom will she give her heart?
Katerina is one of the most powerful necromancers, yet she doesn't stand up for herself.
Katerina's ability remains hidden through her own mechanisms, she doesn't want to be exploited or viewed as different. Katerina can be a little hard-headed, the reader will want to shake her on more than one occasion. She stays with "friends" she knows are dangerous and ignores warnings about a certain boy. However, although she is not easy to connect to, the reader will most likely find her a good character halfway through the book.
The settings are very well described, the author does not spare a single detail when it comes to the beauty of Russia and the elegant castles. The other characters are fun to get to know. They can get a little hard to keep straight, their names are long and unwieldy. The history is there though, the reader will feel as if he/she is in a different time period as he/she is meant to. The plot itself is interesting, the reader will be able to feel the underlying tension Katerina causes by hiding her talent. The romance is understated, but will hopefully be more developed in the books to come. The story does have some twists to keep the reader thinking and guessing. The reader will most likely look forward to the next in the series. This book is recommended to teen/young adult readers.
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