ARC Review: Winter’s Orbit // An exciting SFF ride with a side of slow burn romance

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Title: Winter’s Orbit
Author: Everina Maxwell
Genre/s and tags: Adult, LGBTQ+, Science Fiction Fantasy, Space Opera, M/M Romance
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication date: February 2, 2021
Content warnings: Toxic relationship, domestic abuse, physical abuse, violence, torture (mild), sexual content (mild)
Goodreads synopsis: 

Ancillary Justice meets Red, White & Royal Blue in Everina Maxwell’s exciting debut.

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.

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I received the e-arc from NetGalley! Thank you so much Tor Books!
(This, of course, did not affect my overall opinion of the book.)

Hello book nerds! Well, look what we have here… It’s one of my most anticipated reads for 2021!

The minute I heard about this book, I was already sold. Red, White & Royal Blue but make it space opera plus an intergalactic war in the mix? Sounds exciting! And I was right!

Winter’s Orbit is an exciting SFF debut, filled with political intrigue, secrets, and my favorite—slow burn romance.

My thoughts on Winter’s Orbit

The thing about Winter’s Orbit’s prose and writing was that everything felt balanced. The tone was serious and mysterious, and yet it was also funny in the right moments, which I loved. It was very easy to follow the story along, even with alternating third person point of views of the two main characters.

The characters, on the other hand, pulled me in. Kiem, although he might seem boisterous or reckless, cared a whole lot for the people around him. He was also very serious about consent, which was just really sweet and lovely! Meanwhile, we have Jainan who was both dutiful and passionate. These two characters alone were enough to get me invested, and they definitely gave life to the story. Best of all, they also had good chemistry, which made the slow burn romance even more agonizing satisfying!

And speaking of the slow burn romance, multiple times in the book, I just wanted to shake both Kiem and Jainan. Not in a bad way, of course. But the way they skirted around each other and didn’t acknowledge each other’s feelings, for more than half of the book pained me. They were both so precious—precious, dumb idiots who deserve the world, that is.

The plot was mysterious and action-filled, albeit most of the action can be found in the latter chapters. Still, I have to hand it to the author for such a bewildering main plot and twists I did not fully anticipate. The political intrigue in the story, plus the high stakes element added so much tension and weight, I couldn’t help but feel nervous for the characters as well! I have to say though, even though the endings was satisfying, I couldn’t help but crave for more. Specifically, for more Kiem and Jainan moments. These two were definitely my favorite parts of the story and I just wanted to see more of them.

When it comes to the world-building, it was intricate but I felt like it was lacking in some way. There were a lot of discussions about the planets, and the alliances, and the politics. However, it was not as vivid as I hoped it would be. I also wanted to know more about Kiem’s family tree/the royal family in general, as well as Jainan’s clans and more.

I also loved that Winter’s Orbit was set in a queernorm world. There were queer characters and nonbinary characters everywhere in the story, which was just so lovely to see! Here you can assume someone’s gender based only on the accessory they chose to wear. Several important titles were also gender-neutral and don’t really conform to gender binary.

Overall, I think Winter’s Orbit is a great read, equally exciting, mysterious, and romantic!


Pre-order Campaign for Winter’s Orbit

6 thoughts on “ARC Review: Winter’s Orbit // An exciting SFF ride with a side of slow burn romance

  1. I’m excited for this title, I believe it’s coming in one of my book boxes 🤗 + the promise of a slow burn romance will def get me to start reading it sooner. Even with the not so fleshed out world building, Happy to see the characters delivered a good reading experience. Happy reading!🖤

    Liked by 1 person

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