This book was a Christmas gift from my Aunt many years ago and it has been sitting on my shelf of shame every since. Once i started reading it i simply could not stop. It has been a while since I have read and enjoyed a proper Fantasy series and enjoyed the lore, characters and setting of this book.
A complex, adult epic fantasy from a new Australian author … original, dramatic, unputdownable …
Sierra has a despised and forbidden gift — she raises power from the suffering of others. Enslaved by the King’s Torturer, Sierra escapes, barely keeping ahead of Rasten, the man sent to hunt her down. Then she falls in with dangerous company: the fugitive Prince Cammarian and his crippled foster-brother, Isidro.
But Rasten is not the only enemy hunting them in the frozen north and as Sierra’s new allies struggle to identify friend from foe, Rasten approaches her with a plan to kill the master they both abhor. Sierra is forced to decide what price she is willing to pay for her freedom and her life …
Original, dramatic and unputdownable, Winter Be My Shield is the first in an epic fantasy trilogy from brilliant new Australian talent Jo Spurrier.
‘Winter is my Shield’ is an epic fantasy book that i became entranced in from the very beginning. The lore, world and the characters are developed and written to perfection. While I did get lost at times with the immediate jump into the detailed background behind each of the characters and the political and military history of all the relevant parties, i soon managed to catch up and eagerly followed our main characters throughout the book.
The switching of POV between characters added to the story, like Game of Thrones many events are happening in multiple paces throughout the book. This allowed us not not only get updates on each character and be able to put together a timeline of events, but also see into the mind and motives of the characters which is essential in understanding their decisions and to gain insights into their relationships.
The Fantasy elements of the books, primarily the Magic users, was something new and different from the other books i have read. The differing attitudes towards magic from each of the races an how they dealt with magic users came to be one of the forefront issues of the book and it was interesting to see ideas shift and change between each character. The way in which the Ankarian’s embraced Magic and ‘technological’ progression sharply contrasted with their society built on Slavery, while the Ricalani oppose and fear magic, but seem to have more of a fair and equal community system which i found and interesting contrast and i hope this is explored further.
Of course i have to mention the main characters. Sierra really comes into her own as she learns to embrace her power and her freedom from captivity, but still remains vulnerable and follows her sense of morality. Her relationship with Isidro, another main character, created scenes that were some of my personal favorites. Him and his foster brother Cammarian are the typical heroes in a Fantasy novel, but do have more dimension as we see moments of weakness and actions that may not be stereotypical ‘Heroric’. In particular Isidro and his experiences while in captivity and tortured, his struggles as he deals with depression and the reality of his disabled hand gives us a different side to the normally heroic and strong figures we commonly see.
The story is brutal and adventure filled, with a romantic subplot that does not steal the show or take anything from the Fantasy elements. The world and lore are well described and created, and I cannot wait to pick up the other two books int he series.