Thank you to Tor Books and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell
Release Date: February 2nd 2021
Tags: Adult | Sci-Fi | Romance | Arranged Marriage | LGBTQ+ | M/M Relationship
Trigger/Content Warnings: Mentions of Domestic Abuse
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.
At its core Winter’s Orbit is a romance set in a sci-fi setting with the mystery plot as a secondary addition. It is a character driven book that focuses entirely on the characters and uses the settting and plot to explore them. Just the way I like my books.
I fell straight in love with Kiem, the desirable but problematic prince of the kingdom that they just don’t know what to do with. Who can blame them. Kiem doesn’t even know what to do with himself 9 times out of 10. He is an endearing and loving young man who is trying to make up for the mistakes in his past. Unfortunately they aren’t letting him forget any of it. And then he gets thrown a curveball by way of his arranged marriage to one Jainan, recent widower to prince Taam. A relative of Kiem. An important person to keep in the family to keep the peace. Despite his misgivings, Kiem goes all in. I love him for it. He wants to make the best of it, wanting to at least befriend his partner who he has to spend the rest of his life with. Jainan doesn’t make it easy for him.
Jainan is not as easily likable as Kiem. He has his walls up very high after his first marriage and does not trust easily. But he can’t keep Kiem at a distance for long and as he warmed up to Kiem he warmed up to my heart as well. Because a long the way we discover what he had to go through. What an abusive relationship he was really in. When he opens up, he opens up completely and the romantic clash between him and Kiem is unstoppable.
I will say that I found the secondary plot of Jainan being seen as the potential murder of Taam and the mystery of what was really going on, not that interesting. But I understand why it was part of the story. They needed something to be pushed together.