Title: The Winter Duke
Author: Claire Eliza Bartlett
Publication Date: 3 March 2020
Synopsis: When Ekata’s brother is finally named heir, there will be nothing to keep her at home in Kylma Above with her murderous family. Not her books or science experiments, not her family’s icy castle atop a frozen lake, not even the tantalizingly close Kylma Below, a mesmerizing underwater kingdom that provides her family with magic. But just as escape is within reach, her parents and twelve siblings fall under a strange sleeping sickness.
In the space of a single night, Ekata inherits the title of duke, her brother’s warrior bride, and ever-encroaching challengers from without—and within—her own ministry. Nothing has prepared Ekata for diplomacy, for war, for love…or for a crown she has never wanted. If Kylma Above is to survive, Ekata must seize her family’s power. And if Ekata is to survive, she must quickly decide how she will wield it.
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher to read and review but all thoughts are my own
Spoiler Free Review
This book is described as part Anastasia and part Sleeping Beauty and thats really all I needed to know. I didn’t exactly see the Anastasia aspect, the only connection I could make is Ekata loosing her family. And I guess Anastasia did too but unlike Ekata she didn’t survive. But the Sleeping Beauty part came through which I enjoyed! I would not call this a Sleeping Beauty retelling though, more like the plot drew inspiration from that story.
When I was reading The Folk of the Air series I got a little lost sometimes in the political aspect of this. That was a big worry I had when going into this book that I would get lost in the political aspect of the book. And in the beginning I did. But as the story went on I got to understand everything just a little bit more. Also, Ekata, the main character, is new to being Grand Duke and all the political roles and information that comes with it, so I think having the main character new to the political side of things helped me get a better understanding of everything.
Ekata is our main character. She has grown up in a family where the way to the crown is through bloodshed, and all she wants is to be is far away from it. In one night she goes from unimportant sibling and daughter to Grand Duke. Throughout the book we see Ekata go from this naive person to a powerful person. When I saw powerful I don’t mean with stature or magic, I mean powerful as a person and powerful in who she is. She changes as a person as she goes through the hardships of being Grand Duke and it strengthened her and her will. There is this scene in the end of the book where I was just clapping for her(not physically though because I was reading the scene in public and I am not about those strange looks) and I said to myself “yas Ekata, yes.” I think Ekata is a character people will enjoy and enjoy seeing her grow.
One thing that was a little confusing for me was the magic in this book. I didn’t really understand the system of it. I wish the author elaborated more on the magic because it does play a significant role in the plot and because it isn’t explained I’m not 100% sure how the things happened, happened.
I was here for the LGBTQ+ representation in this book! I liked the romance that goes on and how it doesn’t play a major part in the plot. Sometimes a book can get overshadowed by the romance but that didn’t happen in this book. I wouldn’t really call it a slow-burn romance but at the same time I kinda feel like it was.
Overall I super enjoyed this book! It took me a little while to finish but I think that just has to do with the pacing. It wasn’t exactly slow paced, but it also wasn’t fast, it felt in the middle. I thought the political aspect of the book was very interesting and easy to understand. Also, can we all just agree on how pretty the cover is!! I am excited for this book to be published and for everyone to be able to read it!