Daughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonald
Genre: Fantasy, Adult
Please note in an exchange for an honest review, I received a copy from the publisher (Tor Books). Thank you!
I saw this book pop up here and there in Goodreads. It was marketed as a "if you like Dungeons & Dragons" you'll love this book. Well I was very interested but this further piqued my interest when I saw Nicholas Eames praise it in Goodreads. So when the author of your favorite book likes it, yeah you're definitely going to want to read this!
Luckily (almost like fate!), they reached out and asked if I would like an ARC and I could not stop myself from saying yes so fast!
The Daughter of Redwinter did not disappoint!
The story follows Raine, the seventeen year old protagonist who has what is known the grave sight. The grave sight, which is the ability to see the dead, is viewed as a curse throughout the land due to centuries of it being associated with the beings (think demons) from the Night Below. Revealing yourself guarantees your death.
After a close call with a demon that was handled by the Draoihn (warrior magicians), one of them – Uluvar – indebted to her– took her under his wing and gave her a home in Redwinter. Raine has to learned to navigate the city and keep her curse hidden from the very people who can kill her.
"Honestly, I'm tired of old men telling me what I've done wrong". - Raine
Raine is a wonderful realistic female protagonist. She is not all-knowing, she is flawed, and, more importantly, she acts like how a seventeen year old would act given her circumstances. In many books the main protagonist is just good for no reason besides the fact that they are the "chosen one" which is okay but I get bored of that. Raine? Nope, never got the chosen one vibes but certainly 'wrong place, wrong time'. She is likable, mature, and yeah sometimes I get annoyed by her choice of words but that's what makes me like her even more. Seeing her overcome the abuse she withstood without letting it define her forever? -chefs kiss-
The plot is interesting. I do think the Daughter of Redwinter's plot was not completely in the fore front. In my opinion, it followed more of Raine's character growth and her response to things going around her. So if you don't like character driven books where the plot takes a back seat, you might not enjoy this--especially if you don't end up liking Raine. As for me, I loved it! McDonald did a magnificent job explaining the world, its history, and its characters. I think introducing them now, watching them interact and response to things is a great entry for a series. The series can then focus more on the plot without having to sacrifice characters for it.
The romance is cute, slow burn, and definitely not the focus. I don't mind romances, love them when done well and this book just did that. It wasn't the focus of the novel like so many female led books tend to do. It acknowledges that she's a seventeen year old girl with hormones, fines people attractive and can't help herself from being a seventeen year old.
The world building is awesome. So if you read any of my previous post, I love world building. The Draoihn are interesting, the history snippets we get are cool, and reading about the setting and its people just satisfies my needs. I can easily imagine how imposing Redwinter is versus the other small villages, the mentality of someone from a small village vs someone from a noble clan, the affects of war on all its people, and even the differences between regions. The information wasn't an onslaught of exposition and the tidbits of history shared made sense in world.
Do I recommend this book? Yes, definitely! I even tried to find this on my local Barnes and Nobles and no avail so I'll be trying again.
If you're into the fantasy, I think you'll enjoy the first entry to The Redwinter Chronicles. I enjoyed this book so much I made it my mission to checkout the authors other work!