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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular - even better than the first book!
An enticing sequel to a fabulous and exciting series that instantly became one of my favourites. Robin Bridges does not disappoint. Once again she has crafted a mesmerizing, imaginative and entirely unique story that - and I kid you not - is even better that the explosive mix she enthralled us with in the first volume.

The Unfailing Light picks up more or...
Published on October 9, 2012 by Evie Seo

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed.
As much as I loved the first book in the series, this second one disappointed me. It just seemed to drag on and nothing really new happens, just more of the same from the first book.
The thing that wasnt the same, was the love interest Katerina has with George. He was hardly in this second book and when he was I wanted to kick him! I almost started rooting for the...
Published 17 months ago by AnnLovesBooks


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular - even better than the first book!, October 9, 2012
This review is from: The Katerina Trilogy, Vol. II: The Unfailing Light (Hardcover)
An enticing sequel to a fabulous and exciting series that instantly became one of my favourites. Robin Bridges does not disappoint. Once again she has crafted a mesmerizing, imaginative and entirely unique story that - and I kid you not - is even better that the explosive mix she enthralled us with in the first volume.

The Unfailing Light picks up more or less where the The Gathering Storm left off. After the battle with the lich tsar Konstantin, Katiya enjoyed a few weeks of peace. All she really wants now is to forget about the darkness inside her and move away to Zurich to pursue her medical career. Just when she's about to leave Russia, she discovers that the lich tsar Konstantin has not been destroyed after all. There's a traitor among the wizard of the Order, someone supporting Konstantin and plotting against the tsar. Katiya's life is once again in great danger. Ordered to remain in St. Petersburg, Katiya goes back to her old school at Smolny. But will she be truly safe there? What she doesn't yet know is that the protective spell cast on the school by the empress unleashed an old vengeful spirit and, while no threat from the outside can get in to harm her, she herself is unable to leave the school to escape the murderous ghost.

WOW! What a wild ride that was! Robin Bridges does a fantastic job interweaving Russian history and folklore with paranormal elements. She makes the already fascinating Imperial Russia even more sparkly, glamorous, sinister and dangerous! I loved reading about all the new dangers and challenges that our characters had to face. In addition to the already familiar threats - the lich tsar and the evil plottings of the Dark Court - Katiya also has to confront a vengeful ghost that is wreaking havoc at Smolny. Not to mention the darkness within herself that she struggles with. I felt that the plot of The Unfailing Light - while still undeniably eventful and rich in details - was definitely more organized, easier to follow and - most importantly - deeper and more meaningful.

The already large cast of characters and paranormal creatures from The Gathering Storm gets even larger with the addition of some great new heroes and beings straight from Russian fairy tales. We still get to meet all (or almost all) of our favourite protagonists (including those that we love to hate), but we're also introduced to new (and equally fascinating) ones. At the same time, we get to know our main characters a little bit better, learn more about their pasts, hopes for the future, and personalities. I enjoyed observing the developing relationship between Katiya and Goergi, but I also had a lot of fun observing the dynamics between Katiya and Danilo. I must say I liked Danilo much better in this book, he wasn't as cold and controlling as he was in The Gathering Storm, and I definitely warmed up to him. Plus, all the telepathic conversations these two had (thanks to their blood connection) were simply hilarious. Their often lough-out-loud funny back-and-forth made this book so much more entertaining to read! Most importantly, though, Katiya became a much better central character. She was stronger, wittier, more self-confident and assertive. She still internalized most of her struggles, but she also began to understand that working alone is not always the best option. I really appreciated the character growth in her and I can now say that she became a heroine worth rooting for!

Overall, The Unfailing Light is a fabulous follow-up to The Gathering Storm. A sequel that is even more exciting, more glamorous and more visually breathtaking than the first book! It has everything I loved about the first book - sumptuous balls, an insightful look at the political dynamics of Imperial Russia, heart-pounding romance, rich and fascinating Eastern-European folklore, and a fantastic cast of characters that you'll grow attached to even more! On top of all that, Bridges writing style is even more eloquent, seductive, and lyrical, and the interesting plot line remains complex without being confusing and overwhelming. I can honestly say that I loved this book even more than I loved The Gathering Storm. If you like Russian folklore, culture and history, this is a series you ought to have on your bookshelf!

Robin Bridges is no doubt a very talented author and easily one of my favourites! I can't wait to read the next book in The Katerina Trilogy and find out what happens next!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Life is a Notebook Reviews: The Unfailing Light, October 9, 2012
This review is from: The Katerina Trilogy, Vol. II: The Unfailing Light (Hardcover)
When I finished my review of the first book of this series, I mentioned that despite my problems with the first book I wanted the second one because I had hopes Bridges would settle into the story and much more of it would make sense.

My prayers were answered.

I was deeply worried I wasn't going to be able to remember much from the first book and that I had done this review a deep disservice by forgetting to bring book 1 to college with me. I was genuinely surprised to find that the first part of the book did a really good job summerizing the events of book 1 while not dragging down the new events of book 2. Usually, this is not the case when authors do make the decision to remind the reader of what happened in the previous book.

As predicted, the ending of the last book was far too tidy and didn't come to pass in this one. (The blurb tells you this.) Honestly, I was kind of annoyed that Katerina had to go back to Smolney after the global adventure I thought I was promised by the end of book one. The characters that surround her there were underdeveloped and flat in the last book and were the same in this one. (I also just don't like school settings. Far too many clichés.)

Still, I found myself enjoying the beginning just because I felt more secure in what was happening. Bridges has severely paired down on the mythology that's sprung on the reader and we're given much more time to understand what all the different Russian folklore names are and mean. The differences in vampires and fae were made much clearer, and the werewolf connection was greatly expanded. My heart rejoiced.

At the same time, I have no idea why Katerina's powers are downplayed for most of the book. The spell that's cast on Smolney literally shuts it off, for the most part. She raises another person from the dead, yes, but we-and she!-still has no idea how that happens. There is nothing special that occurs, no attempt made to do so, no NOTHING. For being 2/3rds of a way through these books-with this supposed to be a focal point!-the fact that both us and Katerina herself are so in the dark seems to be disturbingly off.

The Danilo-Katerina-George thing is still going on, but honestly they weren't around for much of the book which made me happy. The lack of typical love triangle gooey-ness is always a plus for me. Still, the whole situation seems strange, and Katerina questions it herself, but we're still given NO ANSWERS about the blood bond, etc. And George as a character appears fairly bipolar and out of whack. I think this is supposed to be happening because George is falling towards the Dark Court, but it felt jumpy.

I think my biggest problem with this book was the pacing. I honestly forgot that there was only one more book to this series, not two or three. I wanted Bridges to slow it down and she did, but then it seemed like nothing was happening. The ghost that appears at Smolney isn't as scary as she seems, and half the time Katerina forgets about her to think about George or something. It's strange because SO many other things are going on, but the book seems to progress at a slow plod. But then, that could just be middle/second book syndrome kicking in.

Though I gave this book the same rating I gave book 1, I find it to be a large improvement over The Gathering Storm-in terms of understanding what's going on. I feel much more confident about the mythology now, and I really want to reread book 1 because I feel like I'd be able to understand it a lot more. Many of the characters with the confusing names also became clear, and the large cast was cut down to a smaller number of important people who I could keep track of. The characterization itself still seemed to be a bit off, however. As I said, my biggest problem was the pacing just because I prefer my books to zoom at the speed of light. As with book 1, I felt the ending to be a bit odd. However, since it does leave me genuinely puzzled about where book 3 is going to go, I guess that's a good thing? Either way, I completely intended to pick up the third and final installment. With all the questions yet to answer and the foes yet to be dealt with, there is no possible way that it could go anything but fast.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful sequel! See author's website for helpful imperial Russian family tree, October 18, 2012
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Jaylia3 (Silver Spring, MD United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Katerina Trilogy, Vol. II: The Unfailing Light (Hardcover)
When Katerina Alexandrovna discovers that the Tsar himself has decided she must postpone going to medical school in Austria and instead return to Smolny Institute, a finishing school in St. Petersburg and the site of the first book in this series, I was just as disappointed as she was. It felt like a step backward to both of us. Being a necromancer with the ability to raise the dead gives Katerina dark powers she wishes she didn't have, but she was able to use her powers to save the life of the Tsar in The Gathering Storm, and now he wants to keep her close and safe.

It turns out though, that being stuck back at Smolny is anything but safe and boring. There's a ghost having violent tantrums in the library, a powerful fae cook with uncertain loyalties, and an undead army in charge of guarding the school. Set during 1889 when the future Nicholas II, the final Tsar of Russia, was the teenage heir to the throne, the imperial family is here divided into paranormal light and dark courts, with historical figures making up some of the fairies, wizards, werewolves and vampires. Nicholas II's future bride, Alexandra or Alix, is one of Katerina's roommates. Both of the love interests from the last book, the enigmatic George Alexandrovich, middle son of the current tsar, and the untrustworthy vampire Prince Danilo of Montenegro, manage to complicate Katerina's life in spite of the walls that separate them from her. Katerina herself is still learning to control her powers and making mistakes with sometimes long term consequences.

I read The Unfailing Light with just as much fervor as The Gathering Storm, and as with that earlier book I only paused willingly to look up more information on the fascinating historical characters and incidents that are skillfully incorporated into the plot. There's an interactive family tree on author Robin Bridge's website that I highly recommend for helping to keep the historical figures straight. See below in the Comments for a link to the family tree web page.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed., July 27, 2013
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As much as I loved the first book in the series, this second one disappointed me. It just seemed to drag on and nothing really new happens, just more of the same from the first book.
The thing that wasnt the same, was the love interest Katerina has with George. He was hardly in this second book and when he was I wanted to kick him! I almost started rooting for the Vampire prince.
Im going to finish the series and buy the third book so I have the complete set, but there better not be anymore because I want this series to end. I want to know how Katerina's life ends up and if she becomes a Doctor.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical, October 27, 2012
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This review is from: The Katerina Trilogy, Vol. II: The Unfailing Light (Hardcover)
Everything I loved
Katerina Alexandrovna is a powerful necromancer with the power to raise the dead, Katerina intrigues me. Her character at first seemed complicated, but she is very selfless, passionate, beautiful. I ended the story loving her personality, powers, everything about Katerina is awesome!

There were so many interesting concepts of this story
Blood sucking moths that are vampires (new twist on vampires that I could safely sink my teeth into, unless I was a room mate to one then they would be sinking their teeth into me)
A HUGE struggle between light and dark faerie courts. (this was interesting because you start to question both sides, pick your side in the beginning of the book)
Loved the rich Historic places that Author Robin Bridges took me to, a book is an escape. Reading The Unfailing Light took my mind on a journey through Russia, bringing a magical world along with every page.
So many things that kept me reading, a beautiful love story, veshtiza witches, shape shifters, Deadly ghost attacks, telepathy, an undead order (with a green tinge to their skin)
My favorite part was the love that Katerina Alexandrovna had with George Alexandrovich, turning down a marriage proposal as to not put him in danger, she must find out the truth about George. I will stop there as to not spoil anything in the book. I can tell you this is a must read, don't be afraid if you have not read book 1 in this trilogy just pick up The Unfailing Light and start you will not be disappointed, especially if you are ready for a book you won't be able to put down.

What I didn't like
There wasn't much that I didn't like except for the language I realize that author Robin Bridges wanted to be true with Russian names, places and such. Sometimes I found the language hard to pronounce or understand. I would love to see a guide of some sort in the back of the book to explain how to pronounce some of the words that are Russian places or names. That would be a huge help to me at least. Overall that's all I could find that I disliked because I loved the book. Front to back!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed!, October 18, 2012
This review is from: The Katerina Trilogy, Vol. II: The Unfailing Light (Hardcover)
The story takes place in Russia in 1889. Katerina (Katiya) Alexandrovna, the Duches of Oldenburg is a necromancer (can bring people back from the dead) and many of those around her also posses supernatural abilities. Katiya wants very much to be a doctor and has been given permission to do so, until Konstantin the Deathless returns threatening Katiya. Instead of being able to go off to medical school, she is sent back to her old finishing school where the empress is able to protect her using a spell. The spell however, has awakened a ghost.

I rather liked Katiya who is just 17 and seemed to me dealing with all this supernatural stuff by herself. At the beginning of the book she was very close with her cousin, Dariya but after Katiya returns to her old school she no longer feels she can trust her cousin (a lady in waiting). There is also an interesting love triangle. There is George who has Katiya's heart, but after he goes off to Paris he really doesn't seem to have too much to do with her. Then there is Danilo, whom she has a blood bond with (not sure of the whole back story, but she isn't interested and he wants to marry her). During her time at the school Danilo is able to communicate with her telepathically. Oh and she wants nothing to do with Danilo!

Katiya for me was a very likable character. I felt bad for her because she wanted nothing more than to help, but sometimes her helping caused more issues. I also felt bad for her because she clearly needs some sort of a mentor to help her with her powers.

The story starts kinda slow with little bits of action and information, but sort of explodes at the end of the book. There was even a moment where I was blown away! I'll be honest and say I had a hard time keeping track of all the characters and keeping straight who was in the dark and who was in the light court (a chart in the front would have been helpful). Also, all those Russian names! The story itself was very enjoyable. I wished I had read book #1 THE GATHERING STORM and I will be watching for the next book in the series.

If you enjoy Gothic books at all I would recommend this one!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, January 4, 2014
Definitely a recommended book. I love the twists and turns. Couldn't seem to put it down. Loved it! Had to buy the next book right away.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, December 1, 2013
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I love this trilogy and this book doesn't disappoint! I can't wait to read the third book!! I'm sure it will be just as good!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Vol 2 Ekaterina trilogy. The unfailing light, September 9, 2013
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Much better than the first book as the story made more sense since you have background information about characters and plots.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent sequel, February 26, 2013
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A Rachel Rothman (Milford, CT United States) - See all my reviews
A great continuation of the Katerina saga. I really enjoyed the mysteries in the plot as well as the new twists. Learning more about each character made it easier to keep them straight. Really enjoyed it and can't wait for the next book!
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The Katerina Trilogy, Vol. II: The Unfailing Light
The Katerina Trilogy, Vol. II: The Unfailing Light by Robin Bridges (Hardcover - October 9, 2012)
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