|Daughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonald
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: The Redwinter Chronicles (Book #1 of 3)
Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Pages: 352 pages (Kindle Edition)
Published: 28th June 2022 by Tor (US) & 30th June 2022 by Gollancz (UK)
Mysterious, honest, and exciting from start to finish, Daughter of Redwinter has the goods.
As a fan of Ed’s Raven’s Mark series, I had been looking forward to seeing what he had in store next. I’m happy to say that Daughter of Redwinter hits the bullseye in many satisfying ways.
Raine is a engaging character, with a strong and singular voice. She’s only seventeen, so she makes some dumb teenager mistakes that are relatable and honest. But she also has a heart of stone and a peerless resolve, which makes her very easy to root for. She has an extremely cool curse/power she was born into, and it gets more and more interesting as the story progresses. I enjoyed how it plays a key role in shaping the core of her worldview instead of simply augmenting it.
Another source of enjoyment was how unexpectedly different the writing was from Raven’s Mark. Ed writes a tight, clean prose and this felt especially well-edited and polished. Not a page or paragraph wasted; every passage was pertinent and compelling and drove the plot forward while developing the characters further. Raven’s Mark was grim, but I would not classify Daughter of Redwinter as a grim story, though it does have some dark moments and heavy themes. Altogether this book felt like a tightly-packaged, well-produced, very well-written story, start to finish. My only complaint is that I’m not a huge fan of the cover. The font and colors feel off-tone to what the story portrays.
This was less of a classical hero’s quest or a rousing good vs. evil story. More than anything, this book had the structure of a good, dark mystery novel. All grey characters whom you didn’t know what side they were on until they end, some good surprise reveals and misdirections, and some well-developed toxic relationships that are unfortunately all too tangible.
I could go on about the interesting magic system in the world, or the religion and lore, but it’s best to go into most of it blind. All in all, this was a real page-turner, one that kept me guessing, and pulling the rug out from under me. It’s a bit of a slow burn, but tensions are kept high while new questions kept rolling in. This is an exciting entry to a new series and I’m already looking forward to getting my hands on the sequel.