Daughter of Redwinter | Book Review

I receieved an eARC from the publishers and NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Those who see the dead soon join them.

From the author of the critically-acclaimed Blackwing trilogy comes Ed McDonald’s Daughter of Redwinter, the first of a brilliant fantasy series about how one choice can change a universe.

Raine can see–and more importantly, speak–to the dead. It’s a wretched gift with a death sentence that has her doing many dubious things to save her skin. Seeking refuge with a deluded cult is her latest bad, survival-related decision. But her rare act of kindness–rescuing an injured woman in the snow–is even worse.

Because the woman has escaped from Redwinter, the fortress-monastery of the Draoihn, warrior magicians who answer to no king and who will stop at nothing to retrieve what she’s stolen. A battle, a betrayal, and a horrific revelation forces Raine to enter Redwinter. It becomes clear that her ability might save an entire nation.

Pity she might have to die for that to happen…

Daughter of Redwinter is about Raine, a 17-year-old girl, who can see the dead, an illegal ability in this world. She’s holed up with a band of sooth-sayers and their followers, surrounded by the people who want to kill them. One decision of hers to try to escape the keep and then help an injured woman she finds on the outside drastically changes the course of her life.

This book had an explosive start and a fast-paced end, but the middle 30 to 60 percent was very slow. I can understand building tension and intrigue, but that wasn’t done here. It’s very slow world-building while, presumably, things happen in the background that our protagonist can’t see. If there was more than one POV, maybe that would’ve helped speed things along. The last 40% of the book did help to make up for the slog of the middle, but it doesn’t take way that I read this 350-page fantasy book over the course of a whole month.

I have mixed feelings about Raine. For plot related reasons, she doesn’t have a lot of strong feelings, which doesn’t make for a compelling protagonist. By the end I was more on board with her, but again, that middle was really dragging for me. And for the curious, she is bisexual or at the very least, expresses attraction for both men and women in the book.

I enjoyed some of the side characters a lot. Esher, Sanvaunt, and Ulovar were good side characters that I honestly wanted more from.

I rated this book 3 stars! If you’re looking for a wintery adult fantasy book to put you in the mood for the season, this might be for you!

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