Winter of Ice and Iron

Rachel Neumeier
Winter of Ice and Iron
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Saga Press
Release Date
November 2017
Fantasy Romance

Genre: Fantasy

In this gorgeous, dark fantasy in the spirit of Jacqueline Carey, a princess and a duke must protect the people of their nations when a terrible threat leaves everyone in danger.

With the Mad King of Emmer in the north and the vicious King of Pohorir in the east, Kehara Raehema knows her country is in a vulnerable position. She never expected to give up everything she loves to save her people, but when the Mad King's fury leaves her land in danger, she has no choice but to try any stratagem that might buy time for her people to prepare for war—no matter the personal cost.

Hundreds of miles away, the pitiless Wolf Duke of Pohorir, Innisth Eanete, dreams of breaking his people and his province free of the king he despises. But he has no way to make that happen—until chance unexpectedly leaves Kehara on his doorstep and at his mercy.

Yet in a land where immanent spirits inhabit the earth, political disaster is not the greatest peril one can face. Now, as the year rushes toward the dangerous midwinter, Kehera and Innisth find themselves unwilling allies, and their joined strength is all that stands between the peoples of the Four Kingdoms and utter catastrophe.

Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Mar 06, 2018   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
8 people found the following review helpful
WINTER OF ICE AND IRON is an amazing fantasy novel from Rachel Neumeier. From the first page, I was transported to a world of magic and powers and deadly politics as captivating as a certain series currently running on TV.

The magic system was certainly something I'd never read before. Here, powers grew out of the land and inhabit a certain person, usually the ruler of that land, and from there, a symbiotic relationship grew. Should this Immanent Power grew strong, it may become a major power capable of rising to become a god and thus causing destruction to the land. Which the people don't want, of course.

That's my understanding, and on reading the first few chapters, this aspect of the world was a bit confusing. But soldier on and you'll soon be swept into an astonishing, epic adventure as you follow the heroine, Kehera, her brother Tiro and Innisth, the Wolf Duke of Pohorir, as loyalties changed, lives are lost, and new alliances grew as they try to save their world from a common enemy.

What captivated me about this story was the blurb, where Kehera and Innisth would need to form an unwilling alliance to save their people. This also seemed a classic enemies-to-lovers story, and one that exceeded my expectations. Would've loved more romance between the two, but perhaps the poem would suffice. Needless to say, I'm wholly interested in Innisth--as a hero, he's fascinating and intriguing. He's hard because his Immanent Power required him to be, yet you can see moments of vulnerability and generosity that tugged at the heartstrings and hinted at the human he is underneath the façade.

I'm less entranced with Kehera. As a character, she's not that captivating, unless you see her from Innisth's point of view, and then you can see and understand what captivated him so about her. Yet, I find it hard to reconcile that as her father's heir, Kehera wasn't at her father's side during a battle, discussing strategies and what not, but was instead sewing with her women! That is just so weird. What was she going to do when she's ruling and there's a battle? Hide and sew as well? Instead, it was her brother who studied so he could advise her when the time comes when she's ruling. If that's the case, where was her father's adviser during this battle? Why was her father, the ruling king, in the midst of the battle himself? There wasn't any consistency and also no explanation as to why Kehera was sewing instead of being in the thick of the battle, learning strategies and such.

And here, I find the author seriously undermining and shortchanging our heroine, maybe even women as a whole, which I find objectionable in this day and age, even if the setting is a fantasy world. Is it because Kehera's female that she needs to learn sewing instead of battle strategies? What about the double standard in terms of sexual experience? Why did Kehera react so vehemently when Innisth asked if it's her first time, while it's a given that Innisth should have lots of experience? And I'm not even referring to Innisth keeping on his male lover after their marriage.

While I give the story a 5, I rate the characters a 3. Overall rating is 3.5 stars.
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April 27, 2018 12:46 AM ( EST )