Mass Market Paperback, 608 pages
Published July 29th 2014 by Avon
My Rating: ❀❀❀❀❀
Genre: Paranormal Romance
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.
After 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.
I stumbled across this book not too long ago and added it the ever growing to be read list. And then one day whilst browsing in the bookstore, I turned around and this book was on the shelf right behind me. Naturally, I couldn't resist.
This book was pure epic fantasy. I loved how detailed the author was in her world building, and how naturally you come to know the world of Mystral, and the kingdoms of Wintercraig and Summerlea. My hat goes off to Ms. Wilson for showing us those worlds, and for how beautifully they are shown to us. I fell in love with a land that is snowy and cold every bit as much as Khamsin did.
Both Wynter and Khamsin are slightly broken from past hurts and betrayals, betrayals that should never have been. And both Khamsin and Wynter have indomitable wills. It's why I love them so much. Both are stubborn, but each has a good nature and kind heart. Not to mention, passion. I'm not just talking about the way they burn up the sheets (which steams up the pages more often than once) but about how passionate they are about their people and life. Wynter swallows the Ice Heart, which will eventually kill him, because of that passion--to protect his people and avenge his brother's death. Khamsin risks life and limb not just to save her beloved Wynter, but to save the people of Mystral.
The romance in this novel develops over time. Khamsin and Wynter are immediately attracted to one another, but both are cautious of the emotion because each of them knows that the marriage is meant to humiliate the Summerlanders, and to gain an heir for Wintercraig. But Wintermen are bound to protect their women, and Wynter plans to care for Khamsin accordingly. It takes him a while to really begin to show Khamsin the kind of care he ought, but once he does, the genuine emotions they have for one another begin to manifest outside of the bedroom as well. And that's what I appreciate about the romance--if you read carefully, it's present from the very beginning and the emotions they have for one another are very strong.
Action packed, filled with rich description, this novel is intelligently laid out and cast with characters that are three dimensional. Some drip with malice, others are aloof and yet wise, and you can feel the raw emotion that both Wynter and Khamsin have in abundance in every word. Because of this, I simply could not put this book down. Beautifully penned and poignantly delivered, I was so drawn into this world that coming away from this book and back into real life was like being splashed with cold water on a hot summer's day. This is a novel I'll be reading again and again.