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Winter's Orbit

– tekijä: Everina Maxwell

Muut tekijät: Katso muut tekijät -osio.

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 11) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
This is a space opera m/m romance that reminded me of the Vorkosigan series in some ways. There’s an arranged marriage where both parties secretly like the other but neither believe the other person could possibly be interested in them for different reasons, an assassination attempt, a forced trek through winter weather alone together when their transport crashes and one character getting injured and the other having to look after them. This was very sweet and funny and I’m happy to hear Maxwell is writing another in the same world (although I think with different characters). I borrowed this from the library but enjoyed it so much I will probably get my own copy at some point. ( )
  souloftherose | Sep 5, 2021 |

CW: past domestic violence

I still remember how excited I was when I first saw the cover and premise of this book and couldn’t wait to get to it. Now that I’m done, I can just say that I have a wide smile due to how much I enjoyed it.

When someone says that a book reads like fanfiction, I find that to be a compliment because fanfics have been the ones that have gotten me through the year from hell. The writing in this book does resemble that, being very easy to read and accessible. It’s a space opera but the world building isn’t too complicated, the author giving us just enough information to understand the political intrigue. There are unexpected twists and betrayals and lots of political maneuvering that makes it a very interesting read that’ll keep you engaged. We have some very beloved fanfic tropes like arranged marriage, only a single bed, the unlikely couple getting stranded and bonding over it and also lots of miscommunication and yearning because of it. And one of the most fascinating parts of this world is how normalizingly queer it is - gender is chosen by every individual and they can present themselves as whatever they want using symbols on their person, and relationships between any genders are just part of life. It’s just so lovely to read more stories like this where homophobia and gender binaries don’t exist.

But the strength of this book is definitely the characters. Kiem is kind of an insignificant Royal who is thrust into an arranged marriage in a very short notice while Jainan, who is from a vassal kingdom doesn’t have much choice either. While Kiem is kind, charming and capable of talking himself into and out of any situation despite being not at all political savvy, Jainan is more reserved, thoughtful, slightly anxious and thinks many times before even uttering a word. They are definitely opposites, which means the attraction is inevitable. While there was a lot of communication between them for a while which made me quite tense about what was gonna happen, it was also so lovely to see them slowly become reliant on each other and then able to talk about their feelings. I was literally sobbing with happiness seeing them get together and then work with each other to figure out all the mysteries. The ending was particularly very amusing and I was full of joy seeing the proceedings play out.

Even the side characters are quite interesting and each has their own arc. I especially loved Kiem’s assistant Bel who was a total badass with an interesting backstory and was such a supportive figure throughout the mystery solving. The Auditor and Agent Rakal also turned out to be fascinating despite me doubting their motivations. Gairad was a sweet addition while the Emperor was kinda subtly funny. But it was Taam, Jainan’s dead husband who felt like a constant presence despite not being alive and the author did such a great job creating and solving all the entanglements.

To conclude, I’m so happy that I got to read such a cute and lovely romance early on in the year. This is such an easy read in the space opera genre but the author balances the love story, the politics and the murder mystery perfectly - making this a very memorable book. It made me giddy and emotional and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I highly recommend this one, especially if you like queer worlds and sweet romances. ( )
  ksahitya1987 | Aug 20, 2021 |
The treaty falling apart is an anvil dangling overhead, threatening to crush Jainan and Kiem beneath it. Kiem is swept into responsibility he long since accepted he wasn't suited for, and Jainan puts ever more pressure on himself to be perfect. The cracks are apparent for both, but it is in the cracks that they find how well they fit, both as a pair and as partners working side by side. The story takes these two characters that are lost and allows them to find refuge and solace with each other. It is devastatingly obvious that Jainan has gone through the wringer long before we are given actual glimpses of the abuse Jainan suffered at the hands of Taam. It is evident in his reflexive apologies, in the way he constantly perceives everything from the stance of "I caused this." The sparsity of his belongings and the utter shock he has with Kiem's gentler, warmer demeanor. Maxwell captures his trauma with honesty and sincerity as he embarks on a journey of healing.

In my eyes, the only significant way that Kiem has changed involves his drinking. Every other "wild" incident can either be chalked up to his youth (pranks with his friends), betrayal (those same friends turning around and selling the stories to the tabloids) and being held up to a mirror that could never accurately represent him. Kiem is charismatic and kind, he is diplomatic and skilled at spinning a story. More, he isn't so proud as to allow his "wild" reputation to ruin his life.

From the start, Jainan and Kiem's relationship is fraught with misunderstandings. They each deeply want to make the other one comfortable and to foster a certain closeness, but due to early misunderstandings, they zig when they should have zagged. Kiem enters the marriage believing that Jainan had the perfect marriage to the perfect partner and he would forever be inadequate. Jainan entered the marriage expecting to fall into similar roles as his marriage with Taam, roles where Jainan is repressed and isolated and always unwanted whereas Kiem would have all the power. Everina Maxwell laid the groundwork for Jainan's abuse revelations with heartbreaking precision. Many threads are tied in that Maxwell previously wove throughout the beginning stages of Jainan and Kiem's relationship. Jainan being from a planet with a radically different climate yet possessing far greater defensive and offensive abilities than Kiem came into play, as did their misunderstandings and tender moments. The action elements were what truly solidified Jainan and Kiem as a couple, and without them, Winter's Orbit would be lesser. ( )
  InfinitySisters | Jun 28, 2021 |
Sweet, funny*, and intriguing science fiction about an imperial prince and the husband assigned to him. Both need to figure out their worth in their society and to each other, how to stay alive when someone might be trying to kill them, and what might be threatening their worlds in time to sign a treaty overseen by the intergalactic Auditor.

Winter's Orbit deals with a few intense issues but keeps a light touch by portraying characters who might be too good to be true yet nevertheless interesting in their competency. No sex acts are explicitly described, all violence is either quick and subdued or happens off scene without gory consequences or realistic threats by higher authorities, and drug use doesn't go beyond the need for the usual PG, making this a good book for cautious readers who want to wade into M/M Romance. I'd recommend the story to readers 12 years and up.

Speculative fiction lovers who don't care about the gender of characters also have plenty of moments they can enjoy. The political tension is straightforward, so I can see this book being thrown in with a variety of vacation reads.

*"That is not a bear!" should be a meme. (X-D) ( )
  aspirit | Jun 12, 2021 |
There’s been a lot of hype around Winter’s Orbit by Everina Mawell, which was originally published as an online series. Comparisons to Ancillary Justice, Gideon the Ninth and A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (and Red, White and Royal Blue, which I haven’t read) set my expectations sky-high, but the author has definitely delivered.

Maxwell balances a complicated m/m romance with engaging interstellar politics. While romantic fic fans will likely be sold at the mention of ‘arranged marriage’, for me it was the notion of two gay male characters featured front and centre in an exciting sci-fi story (and yes, maybe a little because of the romance).

Winter’s Orbit can be divided rather neatly into two parts. The first half of the novel is where we get most of the ‘will they/won’t they?’ action, and it’s as adorable as it is pleasantly frustrating. Kiem and Jainan’s relationship is complicated; their awkward alliance develops mostly out of necessity rather than through episodes of moon-eyeing one another, which makes the romance feel well-balanced with the greater plot. The two men are incredibly different people, so it’s a lot of fun seeing them attempt to figure each other out. Maxwell’s characterisation is well-developed, and Kiem and Jainan are both full of surprises.

While I enjoyed this set-up to the plot, I did feel that it was perhaps a little light on sci-fi detail. But then the second half came along and completely changed my mind. Suspicions around Prince Taam’s death come to a head, and the newlyweds find themselves investigating a murder while racing against time to prevent an interplanetary war. The action escalates nicely, and there are a few unexpected developments that I loved.

The overall story of Winter’s Orbit is so freakin’ good, and its orchestrated perfectly. Maxwell has offered a fantastic entry in a subgenre of science fiction that I’m going to dub ‘bureaucratic sci-fi’ (okay, stay with me for a sec). Complex politics come hand-in-hand with space opera, but the term ‘politics’ often boils down to impending/on-going conflict and shady characters with ulterior motives. So, a plot, that happens to involve government officials. However, Maxwell gets into the actual nitty-gritty of court procedures, law, trade, public relations and even government auditing. I don’t think I made that sound very sexy, but it’s SO interesting and adds a different aspect of realism to this sci-fi book. This worldbuilding tactic reminded me of A Memory Called Empire and aspects of the aforementioned Ancillary Justice.

I’d recommend Winter’s Orbit to fans of any of the titles I’ve mentioned, or who are looking for a great sci-fi read with a healthy dose of drama, humour and romance. ( )
1 ääni jakeisreading | May 23, 2021 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 11) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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» Lisää muita tekijöitä (1 mahdollinen)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Everina Maxwellensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetlaskettu
Klimowicz, KatieKannen suunnittelijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Lopez, MagdielKansikuvataiteilijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu

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Winter's Orbit by Everina Maxwell is a significantly revised book that started out on AO3 titled "The Course of Honour" by the user Avoliot.
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