Release Date: February 4th 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars
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.
Winter’s Orbit is an absolutely incredible debut that I did not want to end. The story follows Prince Kiem of the Iskat empire and Count Jainan of the planet Thea as they are rushed into an arrange marriage following the sudden death of Jainan’s partner Prince Taam. The marriage must appear perfect in every way to smooth over the tensions between the two worlds. When it’s discovered that Taam’s death may not have been an accident, Kiem and Jainan must work together to find the truth and stop a war from brewing.
If I could give this book six stars I would. After hearing so many rave reviews I went in with pretty high expectations but it was everything I wanted and more. This is a brilliantly told story, with a well paced plot and detailed world building. I just loved the concept of this book – the reckless prince who always gets into trouble and the serious science scholar who have to stop a war and understand their feelings for each other? I loved the mix of political intrigue, murder mystery and romance. It was such a creative story and I loved it from beginning to end.
Everina Maxwell has created some really brilliant characters and I really liked seeing both Kiem and Jainan as their awkward relationship built into something more. The story is told from both perspectives which I really enjoyed too. The romance is a slow burn and I liked the way that Maxwell developed the relationship slowly, giving the reader a chance to really get to know both characters. The story does focus quite a bit on domestic abuse, so there are trigger warnings for that too.
Whilst this is a space opera it also felt like a cosy, comforting read and I flew through it because Maxwell has such a lovely writing style. I think this would be a great crossover for someone looking to read more science fiction. It’s a cute and fun read, whilst still full of political intrigue and mystery. Overall I thought this was a truly fantastic debut and I cannot wait to see what Everina Maxwell writes next.