Winter of Ice and Iron

I always find it refreshing to come across a fantasy that is not a trilogy. A complete story is told, from beginning to end, in one book.

And it's even better if the book is by Rachel Neumeier.

In Winter of Ice and Iron, we are introduced to a world in which powers (Immanences) are born from their land to protect its people and help them thrive. In order to act effectively, the powers bond with a ruler.

At first this appears to be simple worldbuilding, but over the course of the book we learn more about the complex relationships between rulers and their powers, rulers/powers and other rulers/powers, and how each changes the personality of the other—including the potential for godhood. The intricacies and cascading effects are well thought-out, and I hope to revisit the world in another story.

It was wonderful to sink into lush writing that didn't feel superfluous. It is not a book to be rushed. While I wish some of the characters were more complex, we have an interestingly complicated hero in the Wolf Duke Innisth, who is trying to lessen the cruelty of his duchy's Immanence as the Immanence is, at the same time, bringing the vicious personality of generations of predecessors to bear on him.

I really enjoyed Winter of Ice and Iron in a way I haven't enjoyed a classical fantasy in a while. It is a perfect book for curling up with on a snow day.


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