Monday, December 15, 2014
Review: The Winter King (Weathermages of Mystral, #1) by C.L. Wilson
Wynter Atrialan, the Winter King, once lived in peace with his southern, Summerlander neighbors, but when the prince of Summerlea steals Wynter’s bride and murders his young brother, Wynter calls upon a dangerous Wintercraig magic called the Ice Heart and marches against Summerlea.
After three bitter years of battle, a victorious Wynter arrives at Summerlea’s royal palace to issue his terms of surrender. The prince of Summerlea stole Wynter’s bride and slew Wynter’s Heir. He wants the loss replaced. The Ice Heart is consuming him. Wynter hopes holding his own child in his arms will rekindle the warmth in his heart before he becomes the monster of Wintercraig legend, the Ice King.
The Summer King has three very precious daughters whom he loves dearly. Wynter will take one of them to wife. She will have one year to provide him with an Heir. If she fails, he will send her to face the mercy of the mountains and claim another princess for his wife. And so it will continue until Wynter has his Heir or the Summer King is out of daughters.
The plan is perfect—except for one small detail. The Summer King has a fourth daughter. One of whom he is not so fond. And she is a fiercely passionate creature, with a temper as volatile as the forces of her weathergift, the power of storms.
Goodreads | Source: ARC provided through Amazon Vine for my honest review
Everyone has been going crazy over this book, and even though fantasy is not a genre I usually enjoy, the romance sounded pretty epic, so I gave it a shot. Surprisingly it was the fantasy elements that worked for me more than the romance.
The Winter King felt like a complete throwback to old school romances (starting with that epically cheesy but cool cover). You have war, deceptions, a forced marriage and need for an heir, a cold heart that can only be melted by a warm soul etc…etc… It’s kind of cheestastic and for the most part it works if you can roll with some of the more unwelcome elements of old school romances.
Like the fact that I found Wynter to be a jerk. I found him to be a cold, demanding hero. I know the marriage wasn’t based on love and he had been burned before but there’s nothing I hate more than when a “hero” gets what he wants (sex) but then withholds love. Yeah – yeah – her body betrays her and she loves it but while it was consensual it still felt a bit nonconsensual most of the time if that makes any sense. There was very little true bonding (outside of sex) between Wynter and Kham until almost the end which was a letdown. They are such a passionate, fiery couple. It would have been nice to see them more outside of the bedroom - even if it was fighting - through a battle of wills or something - and not have the strong willed Kham emotionally beaten down so much.
I did love the fantasy elements though. The weathermage magic was described in such a cool way and I liked learning more about Kham and especially Wynter’s homelands.
Overall I really enjoyed The Winter King and was able to overlook the things that irritated me. Despite the length – 608 pages! – it moved at a fast pace without getting bogged down in descriptions of blades of grass and dozens of different languages, as most fantasies tend to do, while still giving a vivid portrayal of magic and the strong willed people of this world.
Has anyone read this? Am I the only one interested in hearing more from Falcon? I think that might be a cool story.