Release Date: July 15, 2014
includes 5 autographed posters and 5 keychains
In a world divided by power and greed, seventeen-year-old Lilika harbors an intense desire to return to Winter in the Soul, the place her family left to escape the darkness that was manifesting from a coldness of the soul.
When she meets Talon, their connection is evident right from the start, and together they travel through the Black Kingdom to recover Lilika’s stolen locket. And in search of an answer to the mystery behind Winter in the Soul.
Lilika holds the key to stopping the darkness from spreading. The fate of their world lies in her hands. Will she stop the Black Kingdom before its darkness overtakes them all, or will they succumb to the darkness that is spreading across the land?
The Quick Review:
Winter in the Soul is good story not to be judged by its cover. The cover doesn’t reveal much, but the story is a great adventure-high fantasy, with magic becoming a focal point toward the end. I really, really liked the story line, it is fresh take in the high fantasy/magic genre. The second half of the story read at way too quick a pace.
The main characters are 13-14 years old. The story feel more geared in the juvenile age range (8-12yrs) rather than the young adult genre (13-16yrs.) I think young readers just getting into high fantasy will really enjoy this book. This book hits the juvenile reading level right on the mark.
The Longer Review:
Jennifer Novotney puts a fresh take into high fantasy. The region/town naming convention is based on seasons. The magic system introduced has the potential to be beautifully simple or very complex in later books. Either or, the magic did not feel typical to previous stories I have read. I feel like Winter in the Soul is only scratching the surface on magic and this series could really “blossom” into it. Some pun intended there 🙂
The relationship between Lilika and Talon starts quick, but seems appropriate. Talon is pure chivalry. I like his character and we got to know some about him, but i want to know more and get a little more into his character. Lilika is flighty and is a doer before she is a thinker. Best way to describe her personality, is “on a whim.” She is curious and brave, and her personality shows off well start to finish. She wants to be responsible, but her actions are often misguided and create much of the adventure of the story.
The story started off with good detail and set up. Lilika is introduced and immediately finds the locket, she goes to school and does chores and we get a decent feel for her. She accompanies her father to the market in the town of Summer Harvest, about a half days carriage ride away. Talon, the other main character, is introduced at his home, an inn in summer harvest. We get some background to him and his story. Some detail aside, they get to the market for trading day and then shortly after that the story slams on the gas pedal from there till the end.
The book is 130 pages according to my e-reader. I think the story needed another 100 pages of minor details; segues and transitions and minor and background details. The second half of the story felt like an outline of the major events taking place in a bigger story. I wanted more ‘in between’ content to link things together and provide some continuity.
The first 11 of the 21 chapters were paced well and had good detail; the second half of the book is those 100 pages need to be added. Take chapters 12-13, 11 pages total, as an example. I felt like 6 major story events happened in these 11 pages, pretty much a major event every page and a half. The very end met the same speed up, where I though the culmination of the story spanned too few pages.
My other critique is there were a few inconsistencies and some unanswered questions for me on the reader end; most of these stem back to the fast pace and my want of more minor detail. An example would be how far is Winter in the Soul from Summer Harvest? The characters walk there over the course of those 11 pages, which indicates it is very close, and Lilika and Talon do not rest or eat along the way. Everyone speaks as if it is a hard place to get to, and I got the impression it was far away. The rest of my questions come with the ending chapters, so I will omit them to not to be a spoiler.
I’m curious to see what towns lie past the few we were introduced in book one, since there are only 4 seasons, and three have been used. I also want to learn more about the magic. How are the protectors of the lockets bound to them, the extents of magic use in WITS, and so on?
The point is, I’m curious and want to know more. I hope there is a second book at some point, as he ending to this one suggests. Big things could happen and would be exciting to read.
Jennifer Novotney was born in Burbank, California and lived in Los Angeles for most of her life until settling in North Eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter. She attended California State University, earning a bachelors degree in journalism, and Northern Arizona University, earning a masters degree in English. After college, she spent several years writing and teaching, including at Pennsylvania State University.
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includes 5 autographed posters and 5 keychains