Title: The Winter King
Author: C.L. Wilson
Publisher: Avon, 2014
My Rating: 3/5 stars
Trigger Warning: Alpha male posturing, including an implication of “willing or no” a few times.
This book was pure escapist romance within a fantasy world, and that’s just fine with me. Sometimes I like to ease a harsh book hangover with something that’s interesting but won’t deviate from a comfortable formula, and The Winter King by C.L. Wilson did not disappoint.
Wynter (yes, I know!) is the Winter King, whose bride has been stolen and beloved younger brother killed by Falcon, a prince of the rival kingdom of Summerlea. Moreso than thieving his intended, the murder of Wynter’s (ha, I can’t help but smile every time) brother spurs Wynter to take on the Ice Heart. The Ice Heart is a well of magic power that slowly consumes its bearer and threatens to eventually turn that person into an evil king-god-thing. And so ends the world, I think? Every time Wynter uses the Ice Heart to bolster his power, he loses a little of his humanity and his capacity for love. So when his brother is murdered, he attains the Ice Heart and wages war on Summerlea for three years. Then he brokers a peace to exact his most terrible revenge yet; to hurt the ones who hurt him, he intends to marry one of Summerlea’s princesses, sire a child on her, and treat her pretty much like crap while doing it. He sees this as killing two garms with one ice spear, since he’ll get the child that might melt his Ice Heart and he’ll be hurting the family of the man who stole his happiness.
Unfortunately for Wynter, he’s tricked into relieving the king of Summerlea of the daughter he hates, not one of the three princesses he adores. Khamsin (love that name), is a storm-mage, and a powerful one. Her father blames her for her mother’s death and has treated her abominably ever since, going so far as to isolate her in a derelict wing of his castle and keep her from feeling like a part of his family. He adores his Seasons, the three daughters he calls Spring, Summer, and Autumn, but wants to be rid of Storm (Khamsin’s gift-name). When the Winter King announces his grand scheme, the king decides he will trick him into taking Kham off his hands.
And so Kham and Wynter are thrown together for adventure, love-making, and heart-melting! It’s a good read if you like traditional romance novels with a magical twist and a little extra attention to world-building, but don’t expect anything earth-shattering. There is a lot of “claiming” and “dominating” people’s mouths and things, so be prepared for some alpha-male sexy times. That’s not usually my thing and fortunately Khamsin’s personality is not the simpering type, so if you’re like me you won’t feel too guilty indulging a little.