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The Winter Duke

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  1,263 ratings  ·  361 reviews
An enchanted tale of intrigue where a duke's daughter is the only survivor of a magical curse.

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 underwa
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Cora Several non-binary characters. A major relationship with two girls. Mentions of boys appearing to possibly marry another boy. Probably more.

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Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,263 ratings  ·  361 reviews

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Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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Ever since I finished Holly Black's The Folk of the Air series, I've been dying to get my hands on other mature YA fantasy books that capture that same breathless atmosphere of sensuality, back-stabbing, and court intrigue. So many authors try for this vibe, but miss-- hard-- because they either aren't good enough writers to fully sell the worlds they're building, or because they try to dumb everything down to be inoffensive and uncontro
Jun 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, sapphic-read

- the world was really unique: it was divided between the Above (an ice palace in an almost uninhabitable frozen world) and the Below (an underwater kingdom with mermaids and monsters)
- there was zero heteronormativity: all the titles were gender neutral and being queer was never questioned
- the romance. the ROMANCE. sapphic excellence

- the villain was basically a mustache twirling caricature and the main character spent more pages talking to him than she did the love interest. i
Jul 23, 2019 marked it as dnf
DNF @ 15%

I'm sorry I just can't do it lol I don't like the MC or anyone else for that matter, I just can't bring myself to continue

"lesbian political fantasy on ice" sure is a combination of words that I never knew I needed!!!
Mar 16, 2020 rated it liked it
I'm giving this lesbian political fantasy on ice 2.5 stars, but don't let my rating mislead you:

If you like plot-driven books, not in the sense of "fast-paced" (this isn't) but meaning that you like complex and unpredictable political intrigue while character development can come second (as in, the characters are well-built, but the character arc moves at a... glacial pace), you'll love this book.
If you like character-driven books and the most important part of political intrigue for you isn
Dannii Elle
Ekata is one of thirteen siblings and distant heir to the throne. She does not long for this powerful seat like the rest of her family and dreams of dissections, anatomy, and laboratory experiments instead. Her dreams are to escape the icy confines of their castle home and attend university to further her studies and her passions. This becomes impossible when, one morning, she becomes the only member of her family to awaken. Every other member is held under a magical curse none can break. Ekata ...more
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
rep: lesbian mc, sapphic li, nonbinary side characters

3.5 ☆

pretty cool worldbuilding, great concept for a girl mc, good romance, mediocre plot
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
Ekata is this close to freedom from her murderous family—once her brother is named heir and betrothed to some sucker of a southerner, she'll be fast on her way to the university and her dream of higher knowledge. But on the night of her brother's betrothal, her entire family is pulled under a mysterious curse, and Ekata is named the Duke of Kylma Above. Set upon by snooty courtiers, pushy advisors, an angry prince and the threat of war, Ekata is beset. Can she survive the week—can she pass the d ...more
Sherwood Smith
Feb 05, 2020 added it
Shelves: fantasy
I actually finished this a while back, but my desk time bottlenecked. Catching up with reviewing now, I can think back and recollect so many stunning images from this book, which I devoured over a few days. It has stayed with me all this time.

That cover really conveys a sense of the broody, cold beauty of the story. Bartlett's worldbuilding is trenchantly magnificent (oh those frozen roses!), and strong characterization contrasts the complexity of the world.

Teenage Ekata is the only one awake af
Dec 27, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
full review to come! but I loved the worldbuilding in this one - a magical kingdom of ice lying upon an underwater kingdom full of magic? very cool.

thank you to the publishers for gifting me a review copy in exchange for an honest review! <3
Leelynn (Sometimes Leelynn Reads) ❤
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Fantastic Flying Book Club, Netgalley, and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.

Okay this book? Wow. It was right about making me intrigued with that plot. There was so much in this book that I really liked, from our MC to the plot to the some of the
rachel ☾
this came in the mail today 🙏
Feb 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
[ARC Provided by NetGalley, my review is unbiased]
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📗 This fantasy novel is basically my least favourite genre, Court Politics, and the only thing barely saving it was the lesbian romance, of which I shipped heavily and loved every moment of. The rest of the story was a somewhat confusing mess with very little world building, which is a shame because there was hints of something greater.

📕 The LGBT rep was so good, with lesbian, sapphic and non-binary characters.
Oct 28, 2019 marked it as to-read
She inherits her brother's warrior bride, you say? ...more
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it

Okay, at its heart, this is kind of basic YA. Our main character is THE ONE and she switches from boring to bold at the drop of a hat. I didn’t really get the geography of our world. (No spoilers but the identity of the folks from Below was…a strange choice) and didn’t understand how the kingdoms (dukedoms?) worked in this world or why…well, why anything at all.

I loved, loved, loved our main character’s wife. In fact, I found myself thinking that the book would be kind of amazing written fr
Annie (Sad Water Bottle)
May 29, 2020 marked it as to-read
So...there's court intrigue and it's sapphic.

I must read it.
Bookphenomena (Micky)
I’m rounding this one up to 4 stars.

This was a YA fantasy with a historical feel. It had some foundations in Russian royal history and I enjoyed that element and this was some brutal family right here. The dukedom were out to kill one another for power, and the protagonist Ekata, felt justifiably out of the running as an insignificant daughter about to travel away to university. A curse hit and she found herself in a new position.

“Long live Her Grace.” Impossible, impossible. I was a middle chil
Dec 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5/5 Stars

I’m going to start this review by saying that I absolutely adored this book! I’ve been feeling a bit distanced from fantasy over the past year, despite it having always been my favourite genre, but this book reignited the love I have for fantasy novels! Despite this being one of my most anticipated 2020 releases, I was a tad apprehensive about picking this one up, after seeing so many people whose reviews I trust, rating this book a 3 stars or lower – but I really shouldn’t have been
♡ Dakota ♡ (Sarcasm is my middle name)
Excuse Me?!? Who said you could be so gorgeous?!? And have the audacity to have an amazing premise too! You truly have it all, don’t you? How dare you. ... Also please take my money in 2020 ... and be good.
Jamie Dacyczyn
3.5 stars. I have a lot of wishy washy thoughts about this book, so prepare for rambling...

In some ways, this is a very standard YA fantasy. A 16 year old princess (or, whatever you call the daughter of a Grand Duke) named Ekata is preparing to watch her heir-to-the-throne older brother go through the process of choosing a political marriage partner, when suddenly the entire royal family (except her) falls into some kind of cursed coma. Since her father, mother, and all of her siblings are incap
Oct 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
She survived the curse. Now she must survive the throne. All Ekata wants is to stay alive--and the chance to prove herself as a scholar. Once Ekata's brother is finally named heir to the dukedom of Kylma Above, there will be nothing to keep her at home with her murderous family. Not her books or her 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 ...more
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ekata lives in a icy castle that sits on a frozen lake. Underneath the lake is another world. All Ekata wants to do though is stay alive. Her family are known for killing each other off. She just wants to make it until she can leave and become a scholar. Ekata’s brother is the next heir to Kylma Above and is to choose his bride. One night after the bridal welcome Ekata‘s parents and twelve siblings fall under a unknown sickness and haven’t woke up from it. This means Ekata must become the duke a ...more
The Bookish Life of Laura
This was good! A good solid read. It wasn't amazing or a new favourite or anything but I'm definitely glad I read it

So what’s going on here?
Ekata Avenko thinks she has her life planned out, or the next several years of it at least; in a few days she will travel south, away from her kingdom made of ice, attend the university there, and eventually study biology for the rest of her days. However everything changes in an instant when, in the middle of the night, she is suddenly crowned grand duke of
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
“I do not want promises,” she said in a rich, sleepy voice. “I will not give them, and I will not take them.”

Actual rating 2.5

On my blog.

Rep: lesbian mc and li, bi side character, nonbinary side characters

Galley provided by publisher

In a way, I didn’t expect to love this book, so I suppose this rating isn’t hugely surprising. I have struggled with YA fantasies this year, although granted a lot because they were opening books in a series, so I went into this with my expectations appropria
Sara (A Gingerly Review)
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: physical-2020, 2020
I really enjoyed this one!


This story was captivating. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I felt as if everything was very well done – the world building, the character development, the pacing, all of it. The world building and the magic within this dukedom stood out the most to me. I was surprised that magic did not have a bigger role to play in this world but it was added in just enough to make the read that much more enjoyable. Image, a world of ice ruled by a fam
Ahhh I did not want this to be over!!
michelle (magical reads)
read on my blog + a playlist I made for the book + a giveaway!

**I received an ARC for this blog tour. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

My favorite tutor said that other people’s siblings were noisy, argumentative telltales. My siblings tried to murder one another.

I’ve been so pumped for this book since the cover reveal; I mean, just look at it! It’s gorgeous! And then I found out that this book is sapphic, and I was even more excited for it. Thi
Caidyn (he/him/his)
CW: plotting, severe illness of family, severe family rivalry, violence, and deception

Wow. This was such a fun ride, and my first queer book of Pride 2020! I definitely could have read this in a single day, but I split it up into multiple ones so I could really enjoy this one.

Ekata is the middle child in her family and, really, her goals are pretty simple. First, stay alive from her plotting siblings who would do anything to get closer to ruling. Second, study science. But, all of that goes to h
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was super cute. I loved how the author portrayed the unknown in a new relationship, the joking and teasing. Also as well how our MC struggle to conform to the life that they have wanted for her, and what she ultimately want for herself. I did not see some of the twist that came my way with this book, and I did not think some of like totally made sense but it didnt matter bc the root of the book felt like it was for the relationships portrayed. Both good and bad. Def some really fucking bad ...more
Kal ★ Reader Voracious
"My siblings tried to murder one another.

But not this night. Tonight we had a strict no-murder policy."
The excerpt has me so hyped for this book! You can read the first chapter here on the NOVL's cover reveal!
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Claire Bartlett lives in an enchanted forest apartment in Copenhagen with too many board games and too few cats.

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