Publisher: Starling Publishing
Source: ebook from author for review
~Becoming a winter queen will make Ilyenna as cold and cruel and deadly as winter itself, but it might be the only way to save her people from a war they have no hope of winning.~
Mortally wounded during a raid, seventeen-year-old Ilyenna is healed by winter fairies who present her with a seductive offer: become one of them and share their power over winter. But that power comes with a price. If she accepts, she will become a force of nature, lose her humanity, and abandon her family.
Unwilling to pay such a high price, Ilyenna is enslaved by one of the invaders, Darrien. While in captivity, she learns the attack wasn’t just a simple raid but part of a larger plot to overthrow her entire nation.This reads more like a fantasy in the way the world is built. Not the kind of fantasy where too much information is thrown at you, but in the way the world is lushly built. You follow Ilyenna who has just become the female aspect leader of her clan. Her job is to rule over the home and hearth and lead her people if the men have to go off to war. There is a political and war-like move within the clans and Ilyenna finds herself dying. She is saved by the fae, but there is a price to pay. The question becomes is if she will pay it by the time winter rules the earth again?
With the enemy stealing over the mountains and Darrien coming to take her to his bed, Ilyenna must decide whether to resurrect the power the fairies left behind. Doing so will allow her to defeat Darrien and the other invaders, but if she embraces winter, she will lose herself to that destroying power—forever.
This fantasy was very gripping in terms of the adventure of Ilyeanna doing her best protecting her clan. She is kind and loving and is willing to sacrifice herself for others. I did like her character and found that many of the other women characters were quite strong as she was, but I didn't care for the lamentations that they were "only" women. It was understandable because of their society, but I would have loved it more if they just concentrated and celebrated their strengths as women a bit more. Their actions proved that they were strong.
My only other complaint for this fantasy was the ending... and yet I enjoyed it at the same time. The ending was a bit contrived and a bit too easy. Still, I enjoyed it because it gave me an HEA and a solid ending. No cliffies here! I think this is a good introduction to this world and I'm curious where the story goes next. I give this book 4 stars and recommend it to those that love an older YA (there is mention of rape and sex, but nothing graphic) fantasy.