After reading the Tairen Soul Series, I had mixed feelings about picking up a new series by the author. Not because I didn’t like Tairen Soul series, but because I liked it a lot , and it left me with bittersweet aftertaste. Naturally, I was slightly averse to reading another series by the author. As a result, The Winter King had been lying on my shelf since its release. I would have left it there, but as the case is, very few things can appease my temper when I fall sick. I whine a lot, and am generally bored. That is the only reason I picked up this book. But I am glad I did.
The Winter King is more a historical-romantic fantasy than anything else. Set in a world of Magic, Gods and Legends, it has the making for a great story. In fact, had this book been devoid of the sex scenes, I would have happily recommended it to teenagers.
The story revolves around Wynter-the King of Wintercraig and Storm-the abused princess of Summerlea. Wynter was wronged by Summerlea’s prince. As a revenge, he conquered Summerlea and chose to marry one of the beloved princesses from the Summerlea Kingdom. To achieve his aims, he willingly embraced the Ice Heart, a deadly gift from a God. This gift is bound to have consequences, to fight these, he needs an heir, which will be provided by the daughter of his enemy. Hence, making his revenge much sweeter. What Wynter did not foresee was his attraction to his wife. What Khamsin (Storm) did not envision was that her fate as a prisoner will finally lead to her freedom.
The story’s backbone is simple. The hero takes a wife as a punishment to his enemy, but falls in love with her. However, contrary to the norm of stories falling under this plotline, Wynter is a caring man, who has honour. Storm has had a troubled life and she has suffered a lot. Wynter’s treatment of Storm is never abusive – physically or emotionally. Storm and Wynter are made for each other but they have to overcome their trust issues, their vulnerabilities before they can actually embrace their future together. But that is not all they have to face. There is treachery and betrayal from those who surround them. An evil shadow lies on the horizon awaiting to devour the world and Storm and Wynter have to fight against time to survive and save their kingdom.
The fantastical elements in the novel were easy to envision, the legends easily understood and the stories about Gods never called for blind faith or preaching (for which I was immensely grateful). The side-characters were well-balanced. In fact, there were many events in the book which were easily foreseen, but the characters and the discourse kept me interested. The romance was good, considering it was almost insta-love. If truth is to be told, the affection between the two was nothing that developed instantly, and as the story clearly depicts, there is no value for love without trust, which develops gradually and over time.
From what I have read so far of Ms Wilson’s books, she prefers to give her heroines as much power as the heroes, though they might suffer from insecurities. This stood true for this book as well. She provided a rational mind to the heroine so that I was not left banging my head against the wall due to the heroine’s stupid emotional decisions. Storm was a strong character anyone would like. I wouldn’t call her a kick-ass heroine. But I would agree that she had the brains and the balls. Wynter was more of a giant who is a sweetheart. In one word, I would call him adorable.
This book had plenty of potential for angst, but it never culminated into a climatic scene. Which kind of left me drifting. It was at these times that I was unsure of my footing as a reader. While I like it when the story takes a turn for the unexpected, I still felt that something was lacking overall.
On the whole, the story is quite predictable, but the many events that occur in the book are never so, hence it kept me on my toes. I eagerly anticipated the next turn the story would take. However, I also felt that the novel could have been shorter. I say this because sometimes, I had to drag myself through the next few pages or incidents, which in my opinion were really not much-needed by the story. The twists in the novel made the ordinary story extraordinary, but maybe fewer twists could have made it better.
I did open this book expecting myself to be wowed. That didn’t happen. There is nothing epic about this book(or the series), but I have got nothing to complaint about. I felt good after reading this book and I am looking forward to the next installment to the series. Here’s hoping it will be about Dilys Merimydion, the Prince of Calberna. (Interesting character, that one. Would love to see more of him.)
All in all, a really good book.