Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell – REVIEW
While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.
But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Orbit.
Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
“It’s lucky one of us reacts to danger by actually being competent, rather than f-falling into the nearest river.”
Today is my turn on the blog tour for Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell. A huge thanks to Orbit for my complimentary proof copy, and to Compulsive Readers for organising the tour. When I saw this book compared to Red, White & Royal Blue, I knew I needed to read it as RWRB is my go-to pick-me-up. Sometimes comparisons to huge books can be a disadvantage as they create such hype that it’s impossible for the book to live up to it. However, I’m so pleased that Winter’s Orbit definitely had RWRB vibes whilst also creating a world that’s completely it’s own.
“Whatever was happening between them felt like pebbles gathering speed at the start of an avalanche.”
The main plot involves an arranged marriage between Prince Kiem and Count Jainan, set against a backdrop of interplanetary politics. The world-building is more of a sketch in broad strokes and I would have loved further information about it as what we were given was really intriguing. The author also explores colonialism and assimilation in a nuanced manner through the portrayal of the Iskat Empire. Most of the action takes place in the second half and, when it does, it’s engaging and well-paced. There are raiders, sabotage, betrayal and brainwashing, and it works so well.
“He wondered for a fleeting moment if one of the gilded chairs would give him enough cover if he concealed himself behind it and thought chair-like thoughts.”
This is a very character-driven story though with a super slow-burn m|m romance. Kiem is Prince Royal of Iskat, extroverted, chatty and with no filter. He’s definitely a bit of a himbo and I adored him. In contrast, Count Jainan is introverted, controlled and clever. He was previously married to Prince Taam (Kiem’s cousin) and is dealing with residuary issues from that relationship. Abuse is a central theme and the road to recovery is a long one but the story ends on a positive note for the future.
Winter’s Orbit is a book to lose yourself in. It’s witty, romantic, and engaging, with two wonderful central characters. It’s the arranged marriage, sci-fi romance you never knew you needed!