Winterwood (Rowankind #1) by Jacey Bedford
Published by DAW
Publication Date : February 2nd, 2016
Available as Paperback & eBook – 432 Pages
Source : Purchased in Paperback
Set in 1800 in Britain, Mad King George is on the throne with Napoleon Bonaparte knocking on the door. Unregistered magic users are pursued to the death, while in every genteel home resides uncomplaining rowankind bondservants who have become so commonplace that no one can recall where they came from.
Meanwhile, Rossalinde Tremayne is satisfied with her life as a cross-dressing privateer captain on the high seas. But a bitter deathbed visit to her estranged mother changes her life completely when she inherits a magical winterwood box. Now, not only is she confronted with a newly-discovered brother, and an annoyingly handsome wolf shapeshifter, Rossalinde has to decide whether or not to open the box to free rowankind and right an ancient wrong—even if it brings the downfall of Britain.
This brand-new series is perfect for fans of Elizabeth Bear, D.B. Jackson, and Marie Brennan, as well as readers of historical fiction who are looking for an accessible gateway to fantasy.
I swear, this was going to be up ages ago, but strep throat and the work month from hell struck. Nothing goes down the pooper faster than critical thinking after the month I’ve had.
There is nothing like pirates, magic, and faeries to get me excited about a book. Winterwood has all three in spades. Set in an alternate King George the Third’s Britain Rowankind gives us a world that was occupied both with the Fair Folk of legend and with man. The story is almost a ‘what if these people had existed alongside us’. While I’m no expert at all on this particular mythos and I do believe Mrs. Bedford takes a lot of liberties with the stories and tales I found this incredibly fascinating and I loved it.
I’ll throw a disclaimer on here, there is a bit of a learning curve and a slow start to this (the lost star is due to this). This is a book you have to commit at least a 100 pages to before it starts to make sense and it starts to pick up and get interesting. Until that point you’ll be wondering what the hell you’re reading but (like me) won’t be able to quite give up. Take my advice and don’t. The story’s world is deep and very vivid. I can still, even a month and some change later picture the woods, the cities, the boats. It’s all extremely vivid in my mind. The characters as well have a fleshed out feeling to them that has kept them kicking around in my brain long after the book is over.
The story itself is one I really enjoyed too. Our main character, Ross, returns home to visit her mother on her deathbed. The two have never had a good relationship so Ross is a bit surprised when her mom gives her a box. As she’s leaving she discovers more family than she expected she had, and we discover she’s long been holding the guise of a Pirate Lord. Ross continues on her merry way and becomes the definition of an unwilling hero. Her ‘destiny’ if you wish to call it that continues to haunt her and returns over and over much like the ghost of her late husband (who I grew to hate, stupid ghost). Along the way she learns about her family, to love her family, and there is even a light romance subplot in there. It’s easy on that particular aspect, and though I was a little weirded out by the seeming suddenness of that particular relationship, I loved the rest of the character dynamics.
Overall this was incredibly enjoyable, I’m really excited about the next book and I’m planning on picking up more Jacey Bedford in the future.
***I purchased this book for myself, all thoughts and opinions are my own.***