Winter’s Orbit is a book that I’ve been so hyped for since I first heard about it. An adult queer sci-fi that just looks pretty character-driven and a lot of fun? I seriously needed it then and there. The moment I had an opportunity to sign up for a blog tour, I was right on it. I just had to get my hands on this book, and I’m so damn glad I did. This a fantasy novel by a British author and, honestly, I’m here to be promoting fellow Brits. As I don’t think I read enough genre books by British authors.
Thanks again to Compulsive Readers and Orbit for letting me take part in this tour!
This book follows Prince Kiem, a man who is spending his time with charities trying to make up for his troublesome past; and Jainan, his new husband, who was recently widowed and part of a political deal. Prince Taam died in a crash, and Jainan is being accused of his murder. The accusations could not come at a worse time as a political alliance needs to be signed and soon.
If you’re looking for sci-fi with political intrigue, then this book is definitely for you. It was heavy on the politics with a lot of the problems that ensued being tied with the politics of this world. The story is set up across a few different planets though the settings outside of the stations feeling a lot like our world. But there are some animal name differences. By that I mean, an animal is mentioned, and what one character says it is, isn’t what the other character and we would expect it to be. It was a weird experience, that’s for sure.
With it being very political the other area that this book is strong in is, unsurprisingly character. My favourite character was definitely Kiem. He was a fun character. He’s had a troubled past, but he’s trying to change, and he’s just such a genuinely good guy. I really appreciated him and how hard he was trying. Jainan, on the other hand, was a little hard to read. This is because – and I’ll give a trigger warning for domestic abuse here – his life recently until now was difficult. It was obvious from his attitude towards his new marriage that he was treated terribly, and it’s just sad. It’s well done, but it made it hard to really enjoy a lot of his parts. Side-character wise I adored both Bel and Rakel. They were fun for different reasons, but they did bring something to it.
I’ll add here that gender is well-represented in this book and world. There is a mix of different characters with varied genders and sexualities but it is also explained how people show their genders in this world. It’s not just how someone physically presents themselves but might be a material they wear or a way of tying a scarf. This is explained well whilst still fitting within the narrative, and I really enjoyed that. Gender is definitely an area that can be explored more within sci-fi and fantasy, and I loved seeing it.
The world-building in general was pretty damn good. As I said before, many of the aspects did feel a lot like our world. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Even after a few days of stewing on it. I do want to say the world-building is good. Like, I love the gender aspect and that all the different planets are different but closely connected through this treaty. But I would have liked to know a little bit more about the planets and the remnants and things. I do feel like more information could’ve been provided, but at the same time, this is only a standalone book. So a lot of the information I wanted just…wasn’t necessary. It’s just me wanting to devour more of the world.
But I would love another book. Just saying.
The final thing I want to talk about, need to talk about really, is the romance. It was just adorable. Again, it could be frustrating due to Jainan’s past but it was nice to see him being in a supportive relationship. Kiem is so understanding and just? So good? It was just lovely to see something sweet and wonderful. It was just a lot of fun.
If you haven’t already picked this book up, then you need to grab it as soon as you can. You won’t regret it.