ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Winter's Orbit Rating**Thank you to Orbit Books UK for providing me with a physical ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review**


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.


In a galactic empire where political partnerships and treaties keep the peace, the renewal of the agreement with The Resolution – the mediator between all ruling powers – is fast approaching. All vassal planets of the Iskat Empire must be represented.

So when an Imperial Prince is killed in an accident, the Emperor appoints Prince Kiem, her much more wayward, socialite grandson to be thrown into a hasty arranged marriage with his widower – Count Jainan, the diplomat of the planet of Thea – in order to uphold the alliance. But it soon comes to light that the accident may not have been an accident after all… And so Kiem and Jainan must quickly learn to work together and trust one another in order to both keep the peace between their nations and get to the bottom of a potential conspiracy.

“I think,” Jainan said slowly, “that it’s very possible to spend all your energy doing the right thing but still miss something obvious. I think that doesn’t make your effort meaningless.”

I enjoyed this book so much!! It is a light and easy read that predominantly follows the relationship between Kiem and Jainan – miscommunication and yearning at its finest. Though the political intrigue and uncovering mystery are so intricately woven into the narrative that I couldn’t help but get drawn in to that side of the plot too. It really keeps you on your toes until the very end.

Maxwell has crafted some beautifully nuanced characters. Take one playboy prince with a heart of gold and one introverted academic who just wants to follow the rules, both convinced the other can’t stand them and what do you get? The softest space slow-burn romance ever!

I fell in love with these two idiots as I soon as they were introduced and I guarantee both their relationship and their individual personalities will tug on your heartstrings too!

“It was oddly restful, the way Kiem would fill all the awkward spaces just by talking if you let him. Jainan let it wash over him as he sat down, momentarily banishing the ever-present doubts about Taam and Thea.

The world building wasn’t overly complicated and definitely gave the feel of a cosmic setting. However, I can’t help but wish that it could have been a little more extensive. The cultures and customs of the individual civilisations that were introduced, from Iskat’s gender-neutral society to the Thean clan practices, were really intriguing and it would have been great if we had gotten to further discover some of the other colonies and corners of the Empire.

But I guess there is only so much detail you can go into in a standalone. If Maxwell were ever to return for more adventures in this universe, I’d definitely be down!

Winter’s Orbit is OUT NOW!



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