A Winter's Promise' book review

Title: A Winter’s Promise
Author: Christelle Dabos
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Europa Editions
Publication Date: September 27th, 2018
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
I received this book as an ARC from the publisher, so I
would sincerely like to thank Europa Editions for this book! It is absolutely
beautiful and looks amazing on my shelves.
I feel that my expectations for this book had been too high,
and that I was also expecting a different story, so I was let down for very
superficial reasons to begin with. I had gotten into it in the beginning as I
saw real potential for a good, whimsical story with its flow and style,
however, it just fell a bit short in the areas of action and development.
As beautiful and extravagant the writing was, it did come
with its flaws. It was clear the author was going for an old English flare and
was recreating a classic style — I am a big fan of this style and love seeing
it when used well. While it had been used well in this book for the most part,
there were many times where I could tell the author was trying too hard,
especially in dialogue.
I also would like to take a moment to highlight one sentence
I never thought I would see in a novel:
“One really doesn’t organize an orgy in honor of an
expectant mother.”
One really doesn’t.

Through the entirety of the novel, there was far too much
commentary and day-to-day tasks. There was so much so that there was no time
for climax to build as our main character, Ophelia, was preoccupied with her
chores and such. Those tasks also happened to be incredibly redundant and
really just busy work, and it got to a frustrating point that I skipped pages
at a time, near DNFing the book, because it clearly meant nothing to the plot.
As well as not having any climax or action, I really had no
idea what world we were in or what these powers were that these people had.
There was no clear explanation of the world’s politics that seem very intricate
and complex and there is also no explanation of mirror traveling, which seemed
like more a convenience factor for the character than a real power. I still
don’t really know how anything works because the various powers and nobility
were treated as if they should have been prior knowledge.
One of my favorite things in a fantasy novel is the world
and the sense of space the writer creates, however, in this book there was
really no description of anything. I like when there is room to interpret the
world despite the author’s explanation, but there was nothing to base my
imagination on.
The characters were very problematic in this book as well. I
have one word that classifies everyone except Ophelia and Thorn: horny. A Court
of Thorns and Roses is one of my absolute favorite series, so I have no problem
with those kinds of characters, but it was written in a very uncomfortable and
disturbingly provocative way. And what may be even worse is that Ophelia fairly
blatantly slut shames one of the female characters because she enjoys being
with men. Ophelia is also pretty flat with no growth or development, not unlike
every other character.
And as far as characters go… who the hell is Thorn? We
learn nothing about him, yet he’s a very big character in several ways. And I
feel that the author had been tossed in how she wanted to craft Thorn because
he switches sides and changes his mind every time he has dialogue. And finally,
how does he all of a sudden fall for Ophelia? He had hated her, had shown her
zero attention, but then professes his attraction.
So, I had a lot of problems with this book, and I’m not
quite sure why this book is still floating at a 2.5 rating. There was so much
potential and there was a very creative idea to work with, but it just wasn’t
at the level I wanted it to be at.
What have you all been reading lately? Tell me about it down
below. And if, by chance, you have read this book, let me know below what you
thought of it.
Thanks for reading,

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