The Winter Road by Adrian Selby

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I had seen a few blogger friends of mine rate this book highly so I decided to check it out. I went into it cold, I had no idea what the book was going to be about or even what genre it was – what I got was a darker high fantasy

Teyr was once a mercenary, but has since found love and adopted her husband’s son, treating the boy like her own. I found her to be a very different kind of militant, humanized by her love, passion, and a desire to have a do-over at life. She kills when she needs to, but her real purpose is to try and make the world a better place. She’s trying to build a trade route through The Circle, a tumultuous where the neighboring clans are often times at each other’s throats. She believes that building a road would help every clan in the Circle and is trying to unite them under this cause. It’s not made easy, there’s a ruthless warlord who’s standing in her way, demanding loyalty from smaller clans or face destruction. His forces move swiftly and without mercy. When Teyr encounters some villages who have suffered his wrath she knows that the only way this unification will happen is if she gets the warlord out of the way first.

I found Teyr to be a compelling character, it took me a while to warm up to her, but once I did I was totally behind her. She’s not a warm and fuzzy person most of the time, but she’s warm and relatable when she’s around her husband and her son – it was a very nice balancing act in her persona.

The magic in this world revolves largely around different brews people drink to give them extraordinary powers. Drinking a fight brew will make you faster and stronger than would be possible naturally, however, there’s a downside – it can take you over completely and make you a dangerous person if you can’t control it. There are also dangerous trees that have spores that can make you fall asleep, it’s said they eat you afterward.

I audiobooked this one, and although I enjoyed the narrator, I’m not sure it was the correct choice for this kind of book. There are two timelines, one in the present and one in the past, and switching between them was a bit confusing at first. Even though the book did tell me when the timeline jumped around if I wasn’t paying very close attention I could miss that part and then wonder where in the timeline I was. That said, getting the flashbacks built up Teyr’s background and it’s why I started to like her as much as I did.

As a totally personal note, some aspects of the writing just didn’t gel with me. The main character misuses plurals/singulars as a part of her dialect. “They was comin'” instead of “they were coming”, things like that happened quite frequently and it grated on me. The fact that it was written in the first person made it all the more frequent since it happened in both dialogue and narrative. There’s also quite a bit of in-world slang, and each time a new one was used the main character would tell you what it means, as if they know you’re not from “around here” and need it to be explained. It took me out of the moment several times and I didn’t adjust to it as the book went on. These are very subjective ticks, and all in all, I feel like the book was well written. It was very atmospheric, I feel like the writing flowed nicely and sped the story along. There were a lot of fight scenes in this, a lot of action and blood that kept up a high paced feel throughout the story from beginning to end.

Audience

  • high fantasy
  • female character
  • first person writing
  • fast paced stories
  • lots of action/fight scenes
  • potions as magic
  • darker stories

Ratings:

  • Plot: 12.5/15
  • Characters: 13/15
  • World Building: 13/15
  • Writing: 12/15
  • Pacing: 12.5/15
  • Originality: 12.5/15
  • Personal Enjoyment: 6/10

Final Score: 81.5 = solid 4 stars, recommended!

 

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