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Winter of Ice and Iron
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Winter of Ice and Iron

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  404 ratings  ·  83 reviews
In this gorgeous, dark fantasy in the spirit of Jacqueline Carey, a princess and a duke must protect the people of their nations when a terrible threat leaves everyone in danger.

With the Mad King of Emmer in the north and the vicious King of Pohorir in the east, Kehara Raehema knows her country is in a vulnerable position. She never expected to give up everything she loves
Hardcover, 561 pages
Published November 21st 2017 by Gallery / Saga Press
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Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  404 ratings  ·  83 reviews

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Mar 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
Warning: Book contains numerous cases of abuse/rape of men and women.

Ok, so I'm going to begin my review with a disclaimer. NOT a disclaimer to apologize for my opinion (because isn't diverse opinion-sharing the whole point of Goodreads??), but other than the above warning, a disclaimer to explain my history as a Rachel Neumeier fan.
And I've been that for a few years--a fan.

I average reading 400 books a year, have written to authors periodically by snail mail or email, and check blogs (once in
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Copying my Amazon review)

This book is going on my nomination list for the Hugo Awards for next year. The elevator pitch for this book would be Wuthering Heights meets Game of Thrones. Although the book's characters deal with some very serious topics, including physical, emotional and sexual abuse, the book is fundamentally optimistic. So it's dark, but not "grim dark." Optimistic dark? Is that a thing? Also, it's relatively high fantasy - explicit magic and the strong presence of spirits.

The ro
Lady H
Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Boy, do I have a lot of feelings about this book! It started out as a solid 4-star for me, and even swung around to a tepid 5-star in some bits, but by the end it had sunk more to a solid 3.

I haven't read a fantasy quite like this in a while; it reads very much like traditional, old-school, Classic Fantasy. If I didn't know better I would have guessed it was published in the late 90s or early 2000s, not in 2017! At its core, it's a story about two people trying to save the world from evil. That'
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I previously left a short summary of my experience with this book, but having given it some time to digest, I've decided to talk a bit more about my feelings for giving this such a low rating.

Now, I really like the, say, first 200 pages of this novel. Enough that for a long time I was certain I was going to give this 4 stars. Neumeier had set up a really interesting novel, with two interesting (and one very flawed) protagonists, with a pretty clear conflict. While the magic system of the Immanen
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2017-faves, swoon
ahh, i haven't read a book like this in so long.

winter of ice and iron is exactly the kind of book, and the kind of fantasy, that i adore. slow, quiet, character-driven, and political. it won't be for everyone, just for those reasons. but it was written perfectly, exactly, for me.

the worldbuilding is fantastic: full, intriguing, and completely different. as is the plot, and the writing, wow, it was extremely elegant and gorgeous. i want to write like neumeier. but where this book shines is its c
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, rc17
A book to get lost in. Over 500 pages of magical worldbuilding and mermorable characters.
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Take your time with this book. If you do, you will fall in love with the intricate plot and characters. My first desire was to rush it, to try to read as much as you can. But you need the time to savor the events and names (there are intricate names and many have varying names, but just give it time). The book is worth the time if you love fantasy - especially Jacqueline Carey. I am amazed by the detailed plot and this was my most recent read that gave me the epic fantasy vibes in terms of world ...more
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy-read
Skimming through the the other reviews posted, you are either on team "I LOVE THIS BOOK", or team "I DID NOT LIKE IT". Me, I am with the first. This was such a refreshing change from the fantasy books I have read recently.

It was a bit difficult to catch on to the story . There was one reviewer who said "Neumier slowly builds her world without giving anything away..." and I think that is spot on.

If you are not a fan of high fantasy, this book is not for you.

There are only a few in this world w
Paula Zettel
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dark, fantasy-na
This book was a beautiful surprise. Firstly, I didn't expect the lush way the story is written, as well as the depth to which the plot and worldbuilding is explored. I'm truly blown away.
It's a very intricate book and at first it demands full attention so the reader can get a grip of everything that's happening, understand the magic and the politics that rule this world and manage to set all the characters apart ( I can't deny it was the hardest task, the names are very difficult to remember). B
Feb 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: maps, fantasy
“Now is the only time we will ever have.”

A better-than-average modern epic fantasy. Enough originality, despite it Medieval European cultural setting, to engage the discerning reader. Written as if for young adult readers, but some inappropriate subject matter.

“We cut our fingers to the bone/ On shards of passing years.”

Well-developed characters. The point-of-view characters had realistic internal dialogue. You cared about several of them. Good storytelling, though the plot--despite several par
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: masochists
this is a tough book for me to review, and not only because the copy i read was a library-loaned ebook version, and thus impossible to highlight or annotate as i read it.

it's tough because in some ways, despite its wall of forbidding high-fantasy jargon and complicated, vowel-choked names, winter of ice and iron was engrossing from the first page. the characters are well-realized, the plot and politics are intriguing, and even the magical elements, if sometimes vague or fuzzy around the edges, f
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book enthralled me from start to finish. It's a feat of complex world-building and riveting characters. Think elements of Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. ...more
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
When the Mad King invades, Kehera finds herself a pawn in a struggle between nations and their Immanent Powers. Innisth is a minor lord determined to keep his land under his control, and is searching for the best way to deflect his king's attention so he can be left to rule his lands as he sees fit. The two of them may be the only ones able to stop the world from plunging into chaos during the four days of winter when the Unfortunate Gods are strongest. . .

First, a content warning: although the
Chas Hunt
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in two days. The world building is excellent and the characters were complex and had unique voices. The only thing that fell flat for me was the romantic subplot. There was just a lot of tension building up to it and the result was a little anti-climatic. Having said that, I couldn’t put the book down and there was a lot to love about it.
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
I'm not going to repeat what a lot of people have already said; I disliked the book for a lot of the same reasons. I haven't written one review yet, but just had to get this out since it bothered me so much. One thing that reaaaally bothered me was the light treatment of slavery.

When Kehera joins with the group of slaves being transported from one city to further south where she needs to go, part of the group are several young girls, I think the youngest was 6 years old, and one of the girls is
Taylor Rose
Dec 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Going to be honest: the first third of the book was torturous. Tons of ambiguous wording, very little to "see", tons of stuff being "told" to the reader, unclear world building/culture. I would nix probably half the dialogue for the sake of clarity. Around 42% of the way in (according to my Kindle), there was a sudden and abrupt uptick in detail (and, IMO, quality). I enjoyed the last half much more than the first half. Sometimes it felt like certain things were too heavily emphasized, taking aw ...more
Debbie Gascoyne
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, kindle, 2018
Rachel Neumeier has been writing the best "classic" "high" fantasy that I've read in recent years, and she doesn't disappoint with this novel, which is really, really, good. The GR blurb reads "in the spirit of Jacqueline Carey," I imagine because one character has certain... um ... sexual proclivities that one might associate with Carey, but I think those expectations would disappoint real fans of Carey's and might put others off this book. Yes, there is a dark side to at least one character's ...more
very little happens in this book until like the last 150 pages (all the Big Events feel like they happen off screen) but i did love it because the strength of the book lies in its characters. i wish, honestly, that the whole book had been inniseth but i understand why not. anyway--i loved it, all 500+ pages of it and read it in a week which is a FEAT to be sure. i may now pick up the keeper of the mountain of memory.
Jan 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked this, but it's not as beautifully perfect as the Floating Islands was. I think I felt like the main female character lacked agency throughout, and I'm sick of female characters whose only move is to accept their fate because their love is needed to save the day. ...more
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
this is def one star higher than it deserves (the female lead is SO lazily underwritten + what r these names) but god, so few books hit the specific lush-fantasy-romance sweet spot so squarely, and that's p much all i ever want to read ...more
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Occasional bursts of fierce, beautiful writing could not save this overlong saga from a limp love story and convoluted worldbuilding.

Also, as a minor pet-peeve, I couldn't imagine how any of the names or places would be pronounced and so had a hard time keeping everything straight.
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sff, tfn
Very evocative, traditional-fantasy tale of kingdoms where the land is occupied by "Immanent Powers"-- magical spirits of the land who affect and are affected by the characters of their rulers. Our protagonists are Kehera, a princess who is forced to leave her idyllic home-kingdom as a hostage to the deranged king embarking on a disturbing plan of conquest and destruction of Immanents, only to become aware of a much bigger, much scarier magical threat from the Bad Kingdom to the North, and Innis ...more
Mar 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Love the world building and the Immanent powers. The way the powers become Fortunate or Unfortunate Gods is well done. The complex system of hierarchies between the Immanent powers and the way that affects the holders of those ties adds a fresh and compelling element to the narrative.

However, the writing constantly pulled me out of the story. There is a stiffness that does not wear off and sometimes the writing feels repetitive. Although I like all the characters on their own, their interactions
Melissa Hayden
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Rachel takes characters and gracefully glides them into positions they are perfect for, but don't want or think they are right for. There are hard moments they live through that brings out their inner selves, and these are the people they truly are and where they should be.

Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Actual rating: 3.5 stars
katayoun Masoodi
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, fantasy, favorites
as usual neumeier's storys and worlds are interesting and draws you in, ...more
Erin Smith
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy
I would definitely classify this as YA. It wasn't bad, just superficial. The concepts were not very developed, the story was incredibly predictable. I did not dislike this book, but for those looking for an in-depth high fantasy setting, with world building and character development I can't recommend it. Perhaps I have just read so many books with similar plots that I found this one to be lazy. The author introduces different types of gods, and entities that will someday become gods that are con ...more
Mar 28, 2018 rated it did not like it

Confession: I skimmed the last third of the book. This is a looonnngg book. Much too long for what it is, in my opinion. Despite numerous attempts, I could not get into it. The overall narrative felt long-winded and unnecessary. For such a lengthy novel, it felt like nothing really happened. I like the concept, but the execution did not work. Some notes...

- The names. Why? Just, why? Honestly, the over-complicated names turned me off a great deal. I found them heavy, clunk
Dec 16, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

This book had a lot of cool ideas, and I wanted to love it, but I didn't. The stuff I was hoping for just didn't happen, and the ways things played out just weren't the way I was hoping. I was pretty disappointed in the romance which was lackluster and passionless. Which is weird because there were a couple of good scenes of ust, just not between the main couple. It also suffered from fantasy naming issues where there were just so many umlauts. I also think it could have been shorter. T
Jul 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2019
So I did and did not like this book.

On the pro side: the concept is interesting, I thought the magic and world were very original, and the writing is really lovely.

On the con side: the characters felt like fantasy cardboard cut-outs, and the magic didn't entirely make sense - or, if it did make sense, it wasn't defined in such a way that I found it easily understood.

I liked Kehera, but her character didn't make sense; she's the 20 year old heir to a kingdom, and she knows nothing about strateg
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Rachel Neumeier started writing fiction to relax when she was a graduate student and needed a hobby unrelated to her research. Prior to selling her first fantasy novel, she had published only a few articles in venues such as The American Journal of Botany. However, finding that her interests did not lie in research, Rachel left academia and began to let her hobbies take over her life instead.

She n

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