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Joint Review: The Winter King by C.L Wilson

Where did you get the book: E-arc from Edelweiss
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: 29th of July

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.

winterkingAfter 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.

*Blurb taken from Goodreads*

Has: THE WINTER KING had a different feel from C.L Wilson’s TAIREN SOUL series which had a more of a epic scope in tone. But I was really surprised by how much I really liked this book. I loved the old skool feel which had a well thought out world with a lot of detail. The premise is not new; a princess being offered as a prize after a conquering king. Wynter, King of Wintercraig, has demanded a princess in the kingdom of Summerlea. The Prince of Summerlea absconded with Wynter’s betrothed and killed Wynter’s brother. Revenge has run deep for the Winter King, and he demands equal payment of one of the princesses of Summerlea as payment. However, Wynter did not take account that he would be married to the black sheep of the royal family, Khamsin. She has a powerful and dangerous gift that has created the hatred and resentment of the King of Summerlea, who sees her being responsible for the death of his wife–Khamsin’s mother.

I loved this premise which really reminded me of old skool historicals which had epic overtones, but without the problematic elements. The set up with their romance is one of a marriage of convenience and I liked that both Khamsin and Wynter, despite the trickery and obstacles they faced, wanted to work with each other for the sakes of their kingdoms.

Lou: The Winter King most definitely had an old skool vibe. At times it felt as if I was reading a book that had been written in in the 80s/90s. I did like The Winter King, especially the beginning, but I didn’t like it as much as Has did–and for me I couldn’t connect very well to the heroine, Khamsin. I don’t know if it was because she was so very young but at times I felt disconnected from the decisions she made, and I suppose her personality also. She was naive and at times I felt as if she was being set up as a Mary Sue character. It didn’t get to that point but I did find her too childish at times. I suppose I also questioned Wynter as a hero, who finished and raged a war where so many people died. I don’t think a lot of time was spent on that aspect of his character. For such a long book, I wanted to see more depth and reasoning for going into a war. I think perhaps I was more sensitive because of what’s been going on in the news lately.

Has: I definitely agree with you about Khamsin being naive and impulsive, and I too was afraid of the Mary Sue set up but she never fell into those traps. In fact her flaws made her more likeable to me. I also found her rash decisions and judgements were understandable, especially with her background which was being hidden away and treated like the evil step red-headed child of a royal family. She had no status or even a full experience of someone of her status. I did like that she learned from her mistakes and she did mature and evolve over the course of the book which reflected her use of her power which was wild and uncontrollable in the beginning. But after going through the gauntlet of her experiences with Wynter’s kingdom and the danger surrounding them, I liked that she became much more mature and less impetuous

I thought Wynter was an interesting character. I liked that along with being typical stoic warrior he also had vulnerabilities. I thought it was an interesting dilemma that he chose this awful, scary gift of the freezing people to death and controlling winter’s power which was terrifying with the imagery being presented in the story. But I think he was aware of the dangers and he needed that vulnerability and the growing love for Khamsin to keep him in balance.

Lou: Khamsin did grow throughout the book, and I liked that she grew strong and confident in her powers after the abuse she suffered at her father’s hands. I don’t know. I liked The Winter King but there’s bits and bobs throughout the book that bothered me. Like all of the women in court being catty towards Khamsin. There was no strong female friendships in the book, and I wanted to see more positivity rather than a lot of the scheming that went on. I think the middle of the book was the slowest and it did seem to drag. It took a long time for Wynter and Kham to trust one another, and I’m glad that while they were attracted to one another, they were still both aware that they were people from two enemy lands. A character that I did love was the kickass priestess, and there may have been times when I wanted her to have been Wynter’s love interest. Perhaps I’m being too harsh on Kham, but she really did grow as a person where she was the person that had to make difficult decisions. It was a great role reversal.

Has: I totally agree with you about the lack of a real female friend although the kickass priestess kind of offered that role towards the end and I would have liked more scenes between them because Kham was pretty much alone or betrayed by those closest to her. But yes! I don’t want to spoil it but I loved Khamsin’s role especially towards the end and I loved that role reversal! C.L Wilson deftly twists a few tropes on its heads in this book and it was great to see how it played out unexpectedly, especially with the final battle scene. I think this was a reason why I really enjoyed the book so much because she made those old skool tropes feel refreshing and different, and I have to say I loved the length of the book. I miss that big meaty books because this was a rich and vivid world and I think it needed that scope and length to make the setting feel alive. I didn’t have any problems with the pacing, but then I really enjoyed the story and the characters and even though I knew it was a long book, I was sad to see that I had to click on the last page.

Lou: It was a very long book, and I think the premise and background of The Winter King meant it had to be long in parts. The Winter King did remind me of Frozen at times, but The Winter King was written first so I’m not going to be comparing the two. There were many characters in this book that stood out, such as Galacia, Krysti and Valik. Valik was mistrustful of Khamsin throughout the story, and though stubborn at times, he was Wynter’s man through and through. Galacia was just pure awesomeness with her spears–ready to kill Wynter dead and proper in case the Ice Heart overtook him. Kristi seemed to have the friendship role, and I must admit it did feel strange at times that a ten year old was able to command and be a lot more adult-like when it came to dangerous situations.

Has: I totally agree about the cast of supporting characters, I really hope that there is a book focusing on Galacia who seems to hint there is more to her story in the book which left me very curious. I also loved a character who was introduced towards the end of the book, who becomes very important in the big confrontational battle, who was just oodles of fun and added humour to a tense situation.

I also enjoyed the magical elements of the world-building, which had an interesting mix of different elemental abilities and powers of the people who resided in Wintercraig and in Summerlea. I especially loved the powers of people who resided in Wintercraig whose had different types of powers depending on their clans which was different to those who lived in Summerlea. I am also hopeful we will also get to see more of the neighbouring kingdoms which were mentioned and hinted. C.L Wilson introduced a vibrant world which had an intriguing layer of imagination and colour.

Lou: Yes! I want to see more of the sexy Seaman, please. Overall, I did like The Winter King but Tairen Soul still remains my first love lol. But woah, did Wilson spice up the love scenes. They were a lot more heated than the ones I remember from TS. Wilson has set up a wonderful world where hopefully more stories will come forth.

I give The Winter King a B-

Has: I loved The Winter King, which was an epic romance full of adventure and action in a backdrop of a vivid and imaginative world. The old skool tone and the twisted tropes of the plot also added to the story and characters, which made it highly enjoyable for me. I wished there were more books like this because I missed the elements of a big meaty book with a rich romance and world with high octane adventure. I was totally sucked into the story and the romance which was hot and sensual as well as memorable.

I give The Winter King an A-

By Lou

One thing that Lou loves most is her HEA in romances.

3 replies on “Joint Review: The Winter King by C.L Wilson”

Excellent review ☺ The length was epic but the non stop action had me hooked 🙂 I liked the bit about the frozen hand; I really liked Kristy and the High Priestess too. The story provided an insight into grief, rejection and ambition as well.

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