Winter's Orbit

320 pages

English language

Published March 17, 2021 by Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom.

ISBN:
978-1-250-75885-9
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4 stars (31 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 worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam's death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.

3 editions

Ga-aays in Spa-aaace!

4 stars

By the end, I really liked this. Up until then, it felt a bit YA in how it treated the leads’ feelings for each other. Why draw things out with the whole “not talking to each other honestly” trope? I have nothing against prolonging things, but it needs to be deftly done to not feel cheap. This wasn’t cheap though! I loved these boys. Their marriage (not a spoiler) feels hard-won. Plus, look at that cover. SO gay.

Review of "Winter's Orbit" on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

Going by the Goodreads star ratings "it was okay" is appropriate here. I found myself really intrigued as the relationships are introduced explored, conspiracies are uncovered and seeing how this all ties to impacting politics on a galactic wide scale.

I enjoyed the awkward introduction between Jainan and Kiem. They stumbled through their first hours and days not knowing what to say to each other, how to react and each assumed they were at fault in how the other reacted. This was done with humour but also highlighted how challenging an arranged marriage can be.

Is it a romance novel with sci-fi or sci-fi with a romance subplot? I'd say the latter but my patience for Jainan wore thin as the book crossed the 60% mark and brought down my enthusiasm for the rest.

Although Jainan has reasons to be mistrusting, docile and appear meek, which you learn …

Review of "Winter's Orbit" on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This book is, honestly, extraordinary.

When I started it, I did think more intro was needed. There was a lot of “as you know, Bob” in the first chapter and I just let it wash over me without trying to understand the worldbuilding going on in the dialogue. And I continued reading.

Very soon, I decided that the book must have been originally a fanfiction that got the serial numbers filed off – it was familiar, and the sudden start almost presumed you already knew the characters. Imagine my delight when I realized that it is indeed original fiction, but the very first drafts were posted to a fannish forum I frequented at the time, where I’m fairly sure I read and commented on a few of them! Obviously, this only predisposed me further to it.

What’s extraordinary to me is the fact that in 2021 we can actually have …

Review of "Winter's Orbit" on 'Goodreads'

1 star

Starting off Pride Month with a less than stunning book, I guess… this book had an alluring cover and my library had a copy, so I was curious—that and the fact it was published by Tor Books, a mainstream publisher, gave me pause. Surely, this must be worthy of its mainstream status. The blurb was not that interesting but it did hint that there might be fascinating political elements or perhaps some suspense. I like my science fiction to have compelling world-building or at least some decent science as well as interesting characters, but this book failed on both of those counts.

The book unceremoniously inserts the reader into the world, throwing different planetary names and alliances at you before you really understand what is going on. This isn’t that unusual of a tactic so I took it in stride, but the author never managed to truly establish appropriate context …

Review of "Winter's Orbit" on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

I remember reading this when it was free. I give it about 3.5 stars, I guess: it was solidly OK, and depending on what kind of fiction you like this might be great for you. It can be hard to find gay scifi romances. I read it with half my brain activated, and I profess I have a fondness for a bit of 'fanficlike' 'comfort food' writing now and then. This is one of the better writings in that category, although I've read better, honestly.
edit:
Looking back, I only barely remember this novel at all, and not with great feelings. Not a good sign for it.

Review of "Winter's Orbit" on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

A hurried arranged marriage between 2 lovely, broken men; a diplomatic crisis to forestall; and a suspicious accident, all in a queernorm space empire.

The first thing we see is a playboy prince being forced into an arranged m/m marriage with the widower of his cousin, because that’s how the empire binds its vassals’ loyalty. And it’s not so bad: Kiem and Jainan could be a great couple, if either of them could believe they were worthy of the other. But somehow, they have to save the galaxy with nothing more than charisma, persistence and diplomacy. As Maxwell told BookPage, her “goal was to write the joy in healing, even when it’s been so hard, and even when there’s so far to go.”

Originally picked up from Maxwell posting early draft chapters to AO3 (where it was originally known as The Course of Honour), the world-building is nicely …

Review of "Winter's Orbit" on 'Goodreads'

No rating

This is a book that didn't really pique my interest the first few times I saw it mentioned. But it just kept showing up in lists of recommendations on Twitter. The synopsis didn't appeal to me but it kept being billed as Red, White, and Royal Blue in space. I did love that book. I finally gave in.I ended up really loving the romance aspect of this book but not being a huge fan of the sci-fi aspect.I don't generally read high fantasy where there are kings and queens and empires involved. It just doesn't interest me. This is the sci-fi equivalent. There is an empire and there are treaties that are being renegotiated for ... reasons... and there need to be alliances because ... it said so.... I wasn't sure as I was reading this if the political world building in this book was weak enough that it didn't …

Review of "Winter's Orbit" on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

*I received a free review copy in exchange for an honest review of this book.  

This features someone in a new relationship after suddenly losing their partner, paired with someone who's never been married before, with the fate of the empire depending on their success. Both pairings were political, and the new partner has a passing familiarly with the former one, enough to know who they were but not how they were. Part of why I love this book so much is for the way it portrays someone in a relationship after an abusive (or at least controlling) one, after being gaslit and diminished, discounted until he couldn’t trust his own thoughts and barely dared to have opinions but wouldn’t dream of voicing any. Watching him come alive and grow throughout the book was wonderful, and the way his new partner tries to get to know him and figure out …

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