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Winter's Orbit

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4.06  ·  Rating details ·  7,939 ratings  ·  2,114 reviews
While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat's rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam's cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two wo ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published February 2nd 2021 by Tor Books
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Popular Answered Questions
Jamie Yes it is. Everina states she is queer in her twitter bio.
John Walker I found this quoted from the author:
"I’m working on a sort-of-sequel-but-not-really, which is set outside the Iskat Empire but in the same universe. I…more
I found this quoted from the author:
"I’m working on a sort-of-sequel-but-not-really, which is set outside the Iskat Empire but in the same universe. It stars two queer characters who are even bigger disasters than Kiem and Jainan and includes more about the Remnants, the quasi-magical alien artifacts that briefly turned up in Winter’s Orbit."
Personally dissapointing for me because Jainan and Kiem were my favorite part of the book :/(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,939 ratings  ·  2,114 reviews


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chai ♡
There is truly nothing the restive embrace of a good story cannot fix.

I had the opportunity to read an early copy of Winter’s Orbit a few weeks ago, while caught in the dreary throes of finals and deadlines, and the story was like a rope thrown into a churning sea, mooring me to some semblance of sanity. Those moments when I would step outside myself, and step inside the story were the only moments my mind shut off its rigor, and everything in me settled like silt. I yearned for the escape I kne
...more
jessica
Mar 09, 2021 rated it liked it
i feel a little duped. i saw quite a few reviews firmly stating this is a romance with a sci-fi setting, but i actually have to strongly disagree. this is very much a sci-fi story with a very small side of romance.

the romance is used more as a minor plot devise rather than the actual plot. add to that the slowburn nature of it all and it becomes practically non-existent. this isnt a bad thing, but i picked this up with the intention of reading a romance story and this was not it.

setting my per
...more
Ash | Wild Heart Reads
Once again Tor shows up for the gays
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
There's been some discussion within the SFF community recently about books with romance as the central focus and the SFF aspect as a backdrop, rather than the other way around. I'm mentioning this because WINTER'S ORBIT is exactly the kind of work that slots itself neatly (in my mind) as a sci-fi romance rather than sci-fi with romance. And so is exactly the kind of romance-focused SFF work people (including myself) are interested in seeing pop up more.

It's been pitched as many things: Ancillar
...more
Philip
Officially released as of 2/2/21! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

4.5ish stars.

To categorize this as a "romance novel" would, I think, be doing it a disservice, (especially to SFF readers who might be put off by that label, although maybe that’s just my implicit bias) because that would discount how good it is as a science fiction novel. It is equal parts tightly plotted, imaginative space opera, and intimate, significant relationship study. Very impressive.

I was looking forward to reading
...more
Hamad
Jan 13, 2021 rated it liked it
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷 Support me

Winter’s Orbit theoretically is something I would love, I mean from the amazing cover to the settings and the fact that it is published by Orbit aka my favorite publisher. And I am saying theoretically because it ended up being a lit underwhelming. You should take this review with a grain of salt though because I know it will be successful and the majority of readers will love it.

The story follows prince Kiem who finds himself facing an arr
...more
Frankie
2/2/2021
GOOD MORNING, WORLD!! THIS AMAZING BOOK RELEASES TODAY! You might want to grab a copy soon ;)

Or read my review down below:

11/19/2020
Winter's Orbit feels a lot like coming home. This slow, soft, and utterly romantic space opera is unlike any other sci-fi novel I've read before, and I hope that it starts a trend, because it's something special.

This was originally published on AO3 and you can tell. It reads like a fanfic in the best way possible. Familiar tropes done in a fun way; longer, s
...more
C.G. Drews
Apr 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
I finished this a bit ago, but am just gathering my thoughts for the review! I really loved this one. I enjoyed the absolute thoroughness and depth of the world building, the politics, the intricate details that not only enveloped me in the tale, but made it feel so real. I mostly read YA, so this did lean more heavily into the politics than I anticipated, and it gets quite detailed into sciencey things. It is an intelligent book that carries a plot with high stakes, as well as really delves int ...more
K.J. Charles
Jul 07, 2021 added it
Shelves: m-m, dnf, sf
Sci-fi romance, heavier on the romance, with a lot of pining and hurt/comfort. I wasn't surprised to see this originated on AO3: there's a very distinctive quality in the setup, structure and pacing. Someone ought to do a full linguistic study on this, because it's fascinating how this entire genre has developed. Ideally comparing it to the early lays/medieval romances in the use of tropes and stylistic gestures. Or something. ...more
Lauren Lanz
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, 5-stars, adult
Winter's Orbit was such a lovely story, the perfect blend between interplanetary politics and heartwarming romance. The protagonists were so sweet, and the worldbuilding was truly spectacular!

~★~ What is this book about? ~★~

Every twenty years, the Iskat Empire renews peace treaties with its planetary colonies. The deadline for a renewal is creeping up fast, but the sudden death of Imperial Prince Taam halts procedures across the galaxy. In an attempt at patching up interplanetary relations b
...more
Mariah
This was so hecking ✨soft✨
My elevator pitch for this book is: oblivious gays in space and they're both in dire need of a hug.
...more
Amy Imogene Reads
A last-minute arranged marriage between a royal and an ambassador days before a treaty that relies on their successful marriage...oh yeah, nothing can go wrong with that... Cue Winter's Orbit and its tense journey through intergalactic politics, interpersonal pitfalls, and a murder conspiracy.

Romance: ★★★ 1/2
Plot: ★★★★
Pacing: ★★ 1/2 (too slow for my preference)
Enjoyment: ★★★★

So from the top, you can probably tell that this story is a DOOZY. Winter's Orbit has it all, and that was kind of its pr
...more
solanne
Nov 17, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2021-reads
when I tell you I’m OBSESSED with both this cover and this premise I mean I would sell my actual soul of a copy
Marieke du Pré
Kiem and Jainan are so cute!Although Sci-Fi is not one of my most favorite genres, I liked this one! A lot! I pick up Sci-Fi books when I know the author, the premise seems interesting, and when I think the Sci-Fi part will be easy to understand. From the moment I saw Winter’s Orbit, I loved the cover and the blurb. And it was compared to ‘Red, white and royal blue’! I have to admit I had to get used to the world-building first, but afterward, I loved the story.

Kiem and Jainan are lovely togethe
...more
Books with Brittany
Mar 06, 2021 rated it liked it
I absolutely loved some things about this book & really didn’t like others....
Evy
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
UPDATE February 09/2021: I FINISHED!!

JUST AS GOOD AS I REMEMBERED! Oh goodness, I missed these delightful characters.

I feel like since my review somehow has a bunch of likes already I should write some kind of deep and nuanced thing here, but... Really, this book is just 1000% exactly my jam.

It has: Angsty forced marriage; political maneuverings in space; deep worldbuilding; a whole ton of wonderful characters; adventure; and oh yeah, it's super gay.

But the thing this book does above all that's
...more
Madison
Jan 07, 2021 rated it liked it
It's too complimentary to compare this book to a gem like Ancillary Justice, but I think the comp to Red, White, and Royal Blue is right on the money. Women writing santized gay romance set in sanitized political environments is apparently the thing now, and I am not into it whatsoever.

This book has the advantage of being set in a fictional society, which automatically makes it far less cringey than RWRB, a book I admittedly absolutely hated. The worst part of that one, for me, was the fact that
...more
Sahitya

CW: past domestic violence

I still remember how excited I was when I first saw the cover and premise of this book and couldn’t wait to get to it. Now that I’m done, I can just say that I have a wide smile due to how much I enjoyed it.

When someone says that a book reads like fanfiction, I find that to be a compliment because fanfics have been the ones that have gotten me through the year from hell. The writing in this book does resemble that, being very easy to read and accessible. It’s a space
...more
Starlah
actual rating: 4.5 stars

This book is the perfect mixture of science fiction, mystery, political intrigue, and of course, romance. We're following a tumultuous political alliance between several planets within the Iskat empire, namely Thea. When the Imperial Prince Taam tragically dies, his Thean widow, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam's cousin, a disreputable Kiem, in hopes of taming hostilities between the empires and continuing the peace treaty between people. On top of fo
...more
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
I've been going back and forth with my rating for Winter's Orbit but in the end, 3 stars doesn't feel right, so I'm rounding it up to 4 stars.

Kiem didn't even try to hold her gaze. If she chose to make it an Imperial command, he could be imprisoned for disobeying. "Of course not," he said. "Very happy to- to-" He stuttered to a halt. To forcibly marry someone whose life partner just died. What a great idea. Long live the Empire.

The thing is, I did like following Kiem and Jainan and will for
...more
Virginja ↢ 99% imp
3🌟

I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


The writing style was really accessible and simple, so if you are looking for a light-hearted and quick read this may be what you are looking for.

Winter’s Orbit is not a bad book, however I found it very lacking, both plot wise and in regards of developing a solid relationship between the two main characters.

The main problem, for me, is that Winter’s Orbit feels too much like a fanfiction. This book is the direct de
...more
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
rep: mostly poc cast, bi mc, gay mc, wlw, mlm & nonbinary side characters
tw: past domestic abuse, past rape, mental torture, murder

3.5

If you’re a fan of the fake dating and/or arranged marriage trope, this is definitely a book for you. If you’re not (why though?), you would still appreciate the court intrigues and cool space opera vibes. (Even if you don’t usually read sci-fi novels, like I don’t.)

A lot of books these days use the fake dating trope, but not all of them succeed, and it’s pretty o
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Mar 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: Becca N
My local library has a service called Next Five Faves where you answer some questions and they recommend five books they think you will like. My librarian recommender also checked against my Goodreads list, which was above and beyond! All five books were great recommendations; this was the book on the list I'd never even heard of, science fiction with political intrigue and a romance, about a minor royale who has to marry an ambassador from another planet the day they meet, to keep the empire in ...more
michelle xie ✧
Jan 29, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-star, arc, read-in-2021
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for giving me this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Believe me, giving this book a 1-star rating upsets me greatly. I love the blurb and I thought I would really love this book. In fact, it was one of my highest anticipated 2021 releases. I love science fiction. I love space opera. I love the political arranged marriage trope. Basically, at first glance this should've been the perfect book for me. Unfortunately, it turns out to be a really disappoin
...more
Elizabeth Turnbull
Everina Maxwell's Winter's Orbit absolutely blew me away with its intricate world-building, complex political structure, layered characters, and twists and turns. I adore Sci-Fi as a genre, and this story slots right in with some of my all-time favourites!

Winter's Orbit begins with the revelation that our protagonist, Prince Kiem, has been promised to widower Jainan in an arranged political marriage to maintain relations between worlds in the grand Iskat Empire. Kiem, an unlikely choice for a di
...more
Anniek
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book was a 5 star prediction for me, and I'm so glad I was right!

I took my time reading this so that I could really savour it, and I loved the slow build-up of Kiem and Jainan's relationship. I was hesitant to put much faith in the comp to Red, White & Royal Blue, as this is a sci-fi novel, but honestly, I could really see the comparison from the start. Of course it's a very different book, but it does have a similar feel to it. And it's for sure a new favourite for me.

Reading this book was
...more
Lata
A disappointing book that I was looking forward to because of the comparison to Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice. Ancillary Justice is worlds better.
The world building in this book was not believable, so I never felt the fear the characters expressed about the treaty situation. Also, other than Jainan and Kiem, the characters were not well developed.
The only thing I liked about this book was (view spoiler)
...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2021/02/11/...

Well, this wasn’t awesome, but it was still pretty good! If you are looking for a fun and engaging sci-fi read that goes down easy, like a big bucket of buttery popcorn, then Winter’s Orbit might just fit the bill. That said, managing expectations is sort of critical with this one, as is being aware of its origins on Archive of Our Own, the open-source fanfiction website. For while you can take the book out of AO3, you c
...more
Bethany
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
So...this book is easily going to be one of my favorite releases of the year! Winter's Orbit is a stunning sci-fi debut that merges loads of political intrigue, mystery, culturally intricate world-building, and a political marriage of convenience turned slow-burn romance. It's everything I hoped for and would be a great crossover book for romance readers trying to get into sci-fi, or for sci-fi readers wanting a little more romance.

Kiem is an outgoing, playboy prince known for his escapades and
...more
Kaa
So I liked this, although I think either I'm more critical of published books than online fiction, or I'm a more critical reader now than I was a few years ago. (Both? Both is good.) I still adore the arranged marriage tropiness and a lot of the world-building, but, hmm, I do have some questions about the politics.

Longer review after I ponder, maybe.

advance reaction: Y'ALL I ONLY JUST NOW REALIZED THAT THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE AO3 STORIES IN TRAD PUB FORM. (For clarification - it was always or
...more
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