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Midwinter (Midwinter #1)

3.37  ·  Rating Details  ·  443 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
Winter comes to the land only once in a hundred years. But the snow covers ancient secrets: secrets that could topple a kingdom.

Mauritaine was a war hero, a captain in the Seelie Army. Then he was accused of treason and sentenced to life without parole at Crere Sulace, a dark and ancient prison in the mountains, far from the City Emerald. But now the Seelie Queen – Regina
Paperback, 344 pages
Published March 24th 2009 by Pyr (first published March 24th 2001)
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Mistborn by Brandon SandersonChanges by Jim ButcherThe Greyfriar by Clay GriffithThe Alloy of Law by Brandon SandersonNightlife by Rob Thurman
Chris McGrath Book Covers
29th out of 123 books — 41 voters
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21st out of 64 books — 113 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,123)
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Kat  Hooper
Mar 31, 2009 Kat Hooper rated it liked it
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

I was attracted to Midwinter because of the beautiful cover art (by Chris McGrath) and the publisher's blurb. This sounds like my kind of story. Unfortunately, this novel didn't deliver what I was looking for, but it had so much potential that I hold out hope for future efforts from Matthew Sturges.

Midwinter starts out well. The prose is pleasant -- perfectly readable and without any pretensions. Usually this is the first place an author will lose me, but
May 06, 2009 Theresa rated it liked it
Once a war hero, Mauritaine is now a prisoner in Crere Sulace prison serving a life term for treason. But the Queen of the Seelie Fae, Regina Titiana, has offered Mauritaine a second chance at freedom if he will undertake a mysterious and deadly mission. Facing limited options, Mauritaine must choose the companions for his quest from a group of prisoners, one of whom might be a spy for Mab, the Unseelie Queen. Midwinter is set in a land that brushes up against other dimensions, including the mod ...more
Sabe Jones
Jan 27, 2011 Sabe Jones rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I cannot for the life of me remember the last time I read a book this aggressively mediocre. Midwinter has all the tropes: sword battles, wondrous flying cities, magical talents, forbidden trysts, even a dude from the reader's own Earth transplanted into the fantasy world. But every fun or clever element is watered down to the point of becoming utterly generic. The magical talents come from a finite list of "Gifts" that read like power choices from a tabletop role-playing game. Ordinary tasks li ...more
Aug 26, 2009 Pygmy rated it it was ok
Pretty cover photography (though cover design is bleh) prompted me to pick this book up. After 24 pages, though, I'm not too sure. Hard to say exactly what's bothering me, but everytime I read his descriptions of setting or his rather unconvincing dialogue, I think that it sounds like something I would write. *laugh*

Yeah...not sure I can buy the conflict, the tension, the characters....but mmm, nice cover. What a shame it was wasted.
Paul Weimer
May 05, 2009 Paul Weimer rated it really liked it
Better known as co-author of the first volumes of the Fables comic series, Matthew Sturges has turned his talents to novel writing.

Like his fellow Clockwork Storybook writer Chris Roberson, Sturges has produced a variation on the "Dirty Dozen" concept--prisoners given a chance at redemption by taking a one-way near-suicidal mission. Roberson set a Dirty Dozen in his "Chinese and Aztec" universe in The Dragon's Nine Sons.

Midwinter, Sturges effort, is similarly located in a place very different
Jul 23, 2014 Liviu rated it it was amazing
Excellent debut though not your usual epic fantasy since it features, magic, floating cities, long-lived elves, secondary-world as well as modern cars, shotguns, 21st century humans, and it's not of the the sick/nerd/outcast human magically transported to be "Sir Hero and save the world" variety either.

The one human major character is still secondary to the main heroes and more of an accidental observer than anything else.

Midwinter has also quite a sf-nal feel, its Seelie and Unseelie countri
Oct 23, 2011 Jaclyn rated it liked it
A book that didn't live up to moments of promise - it felt like it had been brutally edited to focus overly on action, and like it should have been twice the length. There was a lot going on (the characters and their pasts, the history of the world, the characteristics of the Fae and what makes them different from humans, the nature of magic and the Gifts) that intrigued me and kept me reading in hope of finding out more - but Sturges never expanded on these things and it left the book as a sort ...more
May 30, 2009 edifanob rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-books, 2009-reads
My impressions.

For me Matthew Sturges delivered much more than I expected. I read several reviews before with different opinions.
Some reviewers couldn't identify with the main characters because they are so foreign. Of course only one of them is a human being from earth.
Mauritane, the most important character followed his way with the same strength and consistency as Rorschach in WATCHMEN.

There is magic, there are portals to other worlds, there is a story with twists and turns, there is love, t
colleen the fabulous fabulaphile
2 1/2

Pretty standard quest fare. Some of the characters seemed cool, but they were mostly sketches. None of them were really developed, so it was hard to really connect or care all that much.

Pacing was odd. Large sections were slow, and then sections that could be more interesting - like the rising action and climax - all just sort of happened. Actions sequences weren't written very well...

Not terrible... but could've been better.
Oct 14, 2012 J. rated it liked it
Matt Sturges has written some of my favorite comics. I absolutely loved Jack of Fables and I was quite the fan of his Blue Beetle run. For a while I had hoped that he and cohort Chris Roberson would end up being the saving grace of DC comics but it would appear that was not ever in the cards. Both have parted ways with DC and are pursuing projects in other arenas, with Roberson launching his own company and putting out some amazing work.

But before all of that went down Matt Sturges wrote a fanta
Jul 30, 2011 Nancy added it
Political intrigue and a mystery mission set in the land of the Fae. It was a decent book,but could have been better It had the potential to be a REALLY GOOD book, but didn't seem to be fleshed out quite enough. It almost read like a 300 page outline for a 700 page book. Nothing that really made me feel for or get hooked in by the characters. We finally learn Tatiana's secret at the end, but that would have been better to have glimpses through the whole book. There is absolutely no background on ...more
Kimberly Souza
May 18, 2013 Kimberly Souza rated it liked it
“Midwinter” by, Matthew Sturges

In the land of Faerie a war is brewing between the Seelie and the Unseelie courts. Queen Regina Titania of the Seelie court has sent orders to the Crere Sulace prison for the release of Mauritane (a Fae soldier who was once a captain in the Seelie Army). The Queen offers Mauritane and a few other prisoners a full pardon if they complete a dangerous task for her. As this small but brave group journeys through a treacherous land to gain their freedom, dark forces ar
Sep 11, 2009 Leslie rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Midwinter is set in a fantasy world that borders other realms including "ours". The main character of Mauritaine (love the name) has been sent to prison for treason against the Queen. Queen Titania that is. Now two years later, her emissary has arrived to have Mauritaine released so that he can go on a mission with a known destination, but with no known goal. He is to choose, from the prisoners, a band to accompany him on this mysterious quest.

As with any good quest, there are obstacles to overc
Slap Happy
Feb 08, 2012 Slap Happy rated it did not like it
I didn't plan to rate this one at all. In my opinion, I have given enough one stars to hold me over for rest of the year. But that wouldn't have been honest of me and where I am going with my reading tastes to exclude it. So, add it to the pile.

Read Midwinter about two weeks. Very little happened: not until page was the crew gathered up by the protagonist to begin the quest proper. Its purpose was vague too, other than the Queen had something important needing done, and he, a solider wrongly acc
Feb 14, 2011 Danielle rated it it was ok
Disappointing! Loved the setting - a richly imagined Fae world, with the Seelie and Unseelie courts on the edges of the intriguing Contested Lands - and the plot was solid enough, described by Publisher's Weekly as 'The Dirty Dozen in Elfland'. Some of the locations involved were tantalizing in concept - Mab's flying city, the mountain temple hiding in the mist - but they barely got more than a mention, before the action moved onwards.
Unfortunately, I found the characters wooden and one-dimensio
Nora Peevy
Oct 12, 2011 Nora Peevy rated it liked it
Midwinter by Matthew Sturges was a good read. This is the first book in the Fae series. The plot didn't strike me as groundbreaking, though it is well written. Mauritane is a prisoner and former captain of the Seelie Army. He's recruited by Queen Titania on a secret mission to save the empire from destruction. After picking his band of travelers from the prison, a beautiful emissary from a foreign land, a nobleman, and a human physicist who is looking for a stolen human child, they set off acros ...more
Bill Williams
Dec 09, 2009 Bill Williams rated it really liked it
Sturges' logline for the book is essentially that it is 'The Dirty Dozen with Elves' which is a little misleading. Midwinter is an action and adventure story in the time of war placed in a fantasy setting. The story follows the former occupants of a prison across the world as it enters a once-every-hundred-years winter to complete a suicide mission. The characters are sharp and the story really moves. Okay, maybe the logline works.

It unfairly suffers by comparison with its sequel The Office of S
Nov 15, 2012 Jared rated it liked it
Midwinter was a quick and engaging read, but it felt too much like the peephole to a new series, that ended before it could deliver. The first problem I had was a couple of moments where we played that frustrating game that so many fantasy/sci-fi writers seem to love so much, where the everyday is described as alien. My second gripe was the pacing; it clipped along to create this frantic sense of pending doom, I guess, but blew off some opportunities to really drool over the action, particularly ...more
Jeremy Muse
Sep 08, 2011 Jeremy Muse rated it really liked it
This book was fun. Never been into the fantasy genre, but this was very entertaining. My only huge issue with this book was that the story changed between paragraphs. And if you weren't really paying attention, you would miss the fact that the story had changed to a different story and different characters. I think this is more of an editting issue than a story issue.

The human character was fun to read. His perspectives of this fantasy world were fun to experience. Mostly because I was having th
Jimmit Shah
Dec 30, 2015 Jimmit Shah rated it really liked it
Came across this book while going through Liviu's list. The first half is ok but the second half is super fun. 1 day read!
Apr 14, 2010 Russ rated it really liked it
This is a fantastic fantasy novel! I must have seen a review of this book somewhere and put it on my library hold list. I didn't really expect a whole lot, but it drew me in almost instantly. Sturges is a fantastic writer, his characters were great, and the storyline and plot were very interesting and entertaining. Perhaps the best thing to say about it is, it left me wanting more (but not in an unsatisfied way). I don't know if he plans on continuing the story, but I sure hope he does. I whole- ...more
Sep 23, 2009 Mike rated it really liked it
Matthew Sturges’ run on Blue Beetle, right up to the title’s unfortunate cancelation, were some of the most entertaining and heartwarming examples of teeanage superheroics that I have ever read. So, when I learned Sturges would be publishing his debut novel via the fine folks at Pyr I was already onboard. And man, am I glad I was! If one were to invision a fairy tale as a high octane action movie you might get something close to Sturges debut novel, Midwinter.

Full review here
I'll give Matthew Sturges's Midwinter two stars for some interesting ideas (namely the "dirty dozen with elves") but this is bog-standard fantasy with really boring two-dimensional characters (all of whom have super-fancy fantasy names) engaged on a quest about which I utterly fail to care. Thankfully I didn't actually pay any money for this book and I checked out the sequel from the library (to which I will be returning it shortly.) Joe Abercrombie did this trope (mifits on a quest) similarly a ...more
Mike Holding
Jan 28, 2014 Mike Holding rated it really liked it
Well written, just wasn't sure about the intertwining of worlds, some of it wasn't covered to my liking, gritty and "believable"
Terri Middagh
Feb 15, 2016 Terri Middagh rated it liked it
interesting world building and characters. ending seemed rushed.
Rick Hamell
Apr 14, 2009 Rick Hamell rated it really liked it
Midwinter by Matthew Sturges is one of the best fantasy books I've read in a long time. The story is fast paced, provides enough background and detail to be interesting, and is a more or less fairly original plot.

The obligatory battle scenes at the end good use some amount of help, but they are little more then a stepping block to conclusion. Never the less I think they could have been drawn out better with more details and given more life. Despite that I still believe the book is well done ove
Aug 07, 2009 Jen rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2009
It started out strong, but about 2/3 of the way through it devolved into standard fantasy tropes: the tough girl who falls for the commander, the commander who was exiled but is still loyal, the outsider who has one piece of knowledge that the mission's entire success hinges on, the mage who makes a bad decision and then lives with the consequences, and the bad guy who delights in doing evil for its own sake.

Interesting world, but got old quickly.
Mar 12, 2010 Wealhtheow rated it it was ok
Disgraced war hero Mauritaine collects several fellow prisoners to be his companions on a suicide mission for the Queen of the Seelie Court. Sadly, both the characters and their quest are bland and over-worn. Sturges relies upon basic fantasy tropes to tell a story with no meaning or message to it. The characters are cardboard, the world poorly thought out, the quest unenticing. Give this one, and its many cliches, a miss.
Jan 31, 2012 Amber rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
It's been awhile since I read a high fantasy novel, but I'm a fan of Matthew Sturges. This was a bit of a different twist on the Seelie/Unseelie wars that are oh so popular at the moment. It more than held my interest, despite suffering from a noticeable lack of solid editing. There were some obvious issues, even down to some page layout problems.

Still, I found it quite creative and easy to read. I read it in one or two days.
Dan Smyth
Feb 03, 2016 Dan Smyth rated it it was ok
Good writing. Interesting characters. Lots of cool ideas. Very little world-building to speak of. Story is very linear. Blatant POV jumps and occasional info dumps that don't add much to the story. Nothing really seems to fit or come together and the characters kind of all become identical by the end of the book. Ending fizzles with something that doesn't seem to matter very much. Ultimately dissatisfying.
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