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.
Thank you so much, NetGalley, Macmillan-Tor/Forge and Tor Books, for the chance to read and review one of my most anticipated 2021 releases!
TW: murder, abusive relationship, kidnapping, torture
Prince Kiem is the Emperor’s least favourite grandchild, boisterous, cheeky, known for his attitude and adventures and his life is turned upside down when it’s decided he will marry Count Jainan, the recent widower of another royal prince and to assure the empire’s bonds with its vassals planet. But Jainan’s last partner’s death wasn’t an accident and somenthing is very wrong with a military operation. Between a war threatening the empire, a treaty hanging in the balance, lies, omissions and their own feelings and marriage at stake, Jainan and Kiem will have to prove their union and save everything from a possible conspiracy.
I LOVED reading Winter’s Orbit! Everina Maxwell’s romantic debut is absolutely fantastic. Sci-fi, so set in space, with a magnificent worldbuilding, space ships, mysterious powers and weapons, multiple planets with their own traditions and abilities, an arranged marriage between two very different characters, conspiracies, lies, lots of plot twists…everything is perfect!
Really interesting is the choice of using ornaments and accessories to express or not the gender and the choice of not using binary in titles, but gender neutral ones, like the Emperor, who is Kiem’s grandmother. It was really refreshing, something I’ve never read before!
Told by Kiem’s and Jainan’s POVs, while they navigate their new status as married couple, trying to know and understand each other, the story is intriguing and well written. The conspiracy is really interesting and I was really captivated, because I needed to know what was happening and happened. Most of all, I loved the characterization. Bel, Gairad, Audel, the Emperor…the side characters are really interesting, but Kiem and Jainan stand out in the story, with their building relationship, their marriage and bond.
Kiem and Jainan are amazing main characters, I really love them, even though sometimes I wish I could just yell at them because they struggled to talk about them and their feelings! They are very different from one other. Kiem is more cheerful, he’s able to get along with everyone and persuade even a rock, while Jainan is more quiet and reserved, but slowly they learn to know each other, to understand each other’s moods and feelings. It was really incredible reading how slowly they strengthen their bond, how they support, help and get to love one other, solving problems and saving everyone and everything. How they go from strangers, to cautious allies, to friends to lovers, to husbands!
The slow burn, the trope of marriage couple, one bed and so on is great!
I recommend this story to those who are looking for an intriguing plot, two idiots in love, slow burn, arranged marriage, one bed and love in space!
OUT 2 FEBRUARY 2021! (Probably the January Illumicrate box book *fingers crossed*)
So, what are you waiting for? Preorder this book! You won’t regret it!
Everina Maxwell is the author of Winter’s Orbit, a queer romantic space opera about a diplomat who enters into an arranged marriage to save his planet.
She grew up in Sussex, UK, which has come a long way from the days of Cold Comfort Farm and now has things like running water and Brighton Pier. She was lucky enough to live near a library that stocked Lois McMaster Bujold, Anne McCaffrey and Terry Pratchett, so spent all her spare time devouring science fiction and doorstopper fantasy, with her family’s Georgette Heyer collection always a reliable friend when the library books ran out.
She first took part in NaNoWriMo in 2004 and continues to precariously balance writing, a day job, and watching Let’s Plays of video games she claims she doesn’t have time to play. She lives and works in Yorkshire.