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Winter's Orbit von Everina Maxwell
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Winter's Orbit (2021. Auflage)

von Everina Maxwell (Autor)

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
208999,795 (4.11)6
Titel:Winter's Orbit
Autoren:Everina Maxwell (Autor)
Info:Tor Books (2021), Edition: 1, 432 pages
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek


Winter's Orbit von Everina Maxwell

Kürzlich hinzugefügt vonprivate Bibliothek, Rennie80, ceci554e, briannad84, LGBTQIowaLibrary, novel.curations, Rose_F
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Sweet, funny*, and intriguing science fiction about an imperial prince and the husband assigned to him. Both need to figure out their worth in their society and to each other, how to stay alive when someone might be trying to kill them, and what might be threatening their worlds in time to sign a treaty overseen by the intergalactic Auditor.

Winter's Orbit deals with a few intense issues but keeps a light touch by portraying characters who might be too good to be true yet nevertheless interesting in their competency. No sex acts are explicitly described, all violence is either quick and subdued or happens off scene without gory consequences or realistic threats by higher authorities, and drug use doesn't go beyond the need for the usual PG, making this a good book for cautious readers who want to wade into M/M Romance. I'd recommend the story to readers 12 years and up.

Speculative fiction lovers who don't care about the gender of characters also have plenty of moments they can enjoy. The political tension is straightforward, so I can see this book being thrown in with a variety of vacation reads.

*"That is not a bear!" should be a meme. (X-D) ( )
1 abstimmen aspirit | Jun 12, 2021 |
There’s been a lot of hype around Winter’s Orbit by Everina Mawell, which was originally published as an online series. Comparisons to Ancillary Justice, Gideon the Ninth and A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (and Red, White and Royal Blue, which I haven’t read) set my expectations sky-high, but the author has definitely delivered.

Maxwell balances a complicated m/m romance with engaging interstellar politics. While romantic fic fans will likely be sold at the mention of ‘arranged marriage’, for me it was the notion of two gay male characters featured front and centre in an exciting sci-fi story (and yes, maybe a little because of the romance).

Winter’s Orbit can be divided rather neatly into two parts. The first half of the novel is where we get most of the ‘will they/won’t they?’ action, and it’s as adorable as it is pleasantly frustrating. Kiem and Jainan’s relationship is complicated; their awkward alliance develops mostly out of necessity rather than through episodes of moon-eyeing one another, which makes the romance feel well-balanced with the greater plot. The two men are incredibly different people, so it’s a lot of fun seeing them attempt to figure each other out. Maxwell’s characterisation is well-developed, and Kiem and Jainan are both full of surprises.

While I enjoyed this set-up to the plot, I did feel that it was perhaps a little light on sci-fi detail. But then the second half came along and completely changed my mind. Suspicions around Prince Taam’s death come to a head, and the newlyweds find themselves investigating a murder while racing against time to prevent an interplanetary war. The action escalates nicely, and there are a few unexpected developments that I loved.

The overall story of Winter’s Orbit is so freakin’ good, and its orchestrated perfectly. Maxwell has offered a fantastic entry in a subgenre of science fiction that I’m going to dub ‘bureaucratic sci-fi’ (okay, stay with me for a sec). Complex politics come hand-in-hand with space opera, but the term ‘politics’ often boils down to impending/on-going conflict and shady characters with ulterior motives. So, a plot, that happens to involve government officials. However, Maxwell gets into the actual nitty-gritty of court procedures, law, trade, public relations and even government auditing. I don’t think I made that sound very sexy, but it’s SO interesting and adds a different aspect of realism to this sci-fi book. This worldbuilding tactic reminded me of A Memory Called Empire and aspects of the aforementioned Ancillary Justice.

I’d recommend Winter’s Orbit to fans of any of the titles I’ve mentioned, or who are looking for a great sci-fi read with a healthy dose of drama, humour and romance. ( )
  jakeisreading | May 23, 2021 |
On the plus side, really well written m/m romance with mutual pining; sweeping political space opera. On the minus side, too many stories shoehorned into one, making it a hugely exhausting book to read. If you like the way that Lois McMaster Bujold tortures their characters, this book is for you.

Characterisation is great; detailed world building; too much plot; writing is great; pacing is a bit off at times. Spectacular for a first novel. ( )
  fred_mouse | May 9, 2021 |
On my own I would probably not have given this novel a second glance: slated as a mix between SF and romance, I might not have considered it as the right choice for my tastes, but a couple of reviews from fellow bloggers I trust convinced me to give it a chance, and with hindsight I’m glad I did. Granted, there is an element of “fluffiness” to this story that would not normally enter into my reading parameters, but sometimes it’s a matter of the right tone for the right moment, and since I had just finished a very intense novel, a lighter one felt exactly like what I needed.

Iskat is the pivotal world in a multi-planet alliance which is in turn part of the Resolution, a galaxy-wide confederacy managed by the mysterious (and not a little weird) Auditors: to insure political stability, the inter-planetary treaties between Iskat and the other worlds are sealed by marriages, whose validity is periodically scrutinized by the Auditors. The relations between Iskat and the vassal world of Thea have never been ideal, and close to the next Auditor’s visit, the Iskan half of the political marriage, Prince Taam, dies in a flight accident: to affirm once again the ties between the two worlds, the Iskan Emperor orders a swift marriage between Prince Kiem, Taam’s cousin, and the Thean widower Jainan.

Kiem is something of a loose cannon, always involved in some kind of mischief and therefore well-known to the gossip press: he’s far from happy to be tied in marriage with a person who looks his exact opposite, and is still in mourning as well, but politics require everyone to do their duty, so the two start their married life, not without a lot of awkwardness and great difficulties in communication. As Kiem and Jainan walk the uneasy path of shared obligations, a number of details about the deceased Team seems to point toward shady deals and the suspicion that his death might not have been an accident. While political pressures mount and the clues hint at a far-ranging conspiracy, Kiem and Jainan find themselves getting closer, and more and more involved toward uncovering what might turn out to be a great danger to the stability of their area of space.

Let me start by dealing with the proverbial elephant in the room, i.e. the romantic angle represented by the narrative thread that sees Kiem and Jainan move from total strangers, forced into a marriage of convenience, to lovers. This is a frequent theme wherever romance is involved, and there was no doubt, from the very start, that these two would walk in that direction: the uncomfortable personal interactions, the misunderstandings, the lack of proper communication - all these elements are the classic staples of this kind of story, as is the situation that sees them alone and in danger after a flier crash, and leads them to finally speak frankly and acknowledge their mutual attraction. I am now aware that this novel started as a work of fan fiction, and as such it contains many of the tropes that fuel this kind of work, but it is all handled with such a light touch that it’s easy to lie back and enjoy the ride, even when you know from the start where it will end, even if the transition from virtual strangers to lovers feels a little too swift.

There is however a section of the story that seems somewhat forced: Jainan is indeed the poster child for the abused spouse in a toxic marriage, including the feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy at the roots of his psychological makeup, but it seems strange that none of the abuse he suffered before ever surfaces when the story is narrated through his point of view. As a reader I saw the symptoms were there, in glaring neon light, but none of it is ever brought to the surface until the moment of the “big revelation”, that is hardly surprising for the readers, unlike what happens to the characters. And while Kiem, despite his outward recklessness, is shown as a people’s person, able to make easy connections in any social situation, he never suspects the real reason for his spouse’s self-effacing attitude until he discovers hard evidence of it. I understand the need to stretch things a bit to enhance the reveal’s impact, but I would have liked a more organic approach.

Still, despite these minor quibbles, the overall story turned out to be quite enjoyable, presenting a galactic milieu where economic and military interests are at odds with each other, and where politics can be dangerously cut-throat: of course the background takes second place to Kiem and Jainan’s journey, and sometimes the details of this world are shunted to the sidelines in favor of the main story, to the point I sorely missed a closer look at this galactic empire and its many intriguing customs, like the one where gender identity is expressed through the materials employed in ornaments, which in turn made me wonder whether there are no other distinguishing factors that point to an individual’s gender. This detail is not explained and it remains one of my top curiosities about the novel, and the main reason I remain somewhat dissatisfied with the background, even though the overall flavor of the book reminds me somewhat of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan universe, which in turn makes me feel quite at home, thanks to the blend between the serious and the humorous that lends a very pleasant quality to the story.

I don’t know if Winter’s Orbit is a stand-alone novel or the first in a series, but I hope on the latter because I would not mind a deeper exploration of the setting - maybe with a little less romance ;-) - and a focus on some of the secondary characters, like Kiem’s amazing assistant Bel, to get a wider and deeper understanding of this version of humanity’s future. ( )
  SpaceandSorcery | Apr 23, 2021 |
Forced into marriage with his cousin’s widower in order to secure a galactic peace treaty, a prince known for being irresponsible and happy-go-lucky falls hard for the tightly controlled man he’s married nearly as soon as they met. But mutual incomprehension and political conspiracy stand in the way. Mutual pining, very strong clam/not-clam dynamics. ( )
  rivkat | Apr 13, 2021 |
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AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Everina MaxwellHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Klimowicz, KatieUmschlaggestalterCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Lopez, MagdielUmschlagillustrationCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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To Em
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"Well, someone has to marry the man," the Emperor said.
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Winter's Orbit by Everina Maxwell is a significantly revised book that started out on AO3 titled "The Course of Honour" by the user Avoliot.
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Durchschnitt: (4.11)
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