Book Review: Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Publisher: Orbit

Publication date: 04 February 2021

Genre: Science fiction romance

Page count: 448 pages

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler-free.

Winter’s Orbit was one of my most highly anticipated books of this year. A science fiction romance featuring some of my favourite romance tropes? Yes please. I ended up absolutely devouring this book and totally fell in love with the world and the characters.

The Iskat Empire rules its vassal planets through a system of treaties – so when Prince Taam, key figure in a political alliance, is killed, a replacement must be found. His widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with the disreputable aristocrat Kiem, in a bid to keep rising hostilities between two worlds under control. But Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and when Jainan himself is a suspect, he and Kiem must navigate the perils of the Iskat court, solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war . . .

The developing relationship and romance between Kiem and Jainan is absolutely the main aspect and appeal of Winter’s Orbit. The first half of the book is a little light on plot because it really focuses on these two characters, establishing them as individuals and as two strangers thrown in to an arranged marriage. I really loved the dynamic established between them, with Kiem as the kindhearted disaster and Jainan as the stiff and formal man with a haunting past. Watching them grow and learn to love each other was so incredibly rewarding and I cheered them on from page one.

The second half of the book kicks the plot into gear, and I really enjoyed following the threads of the mystery that Maxwell laid out. The plot was simple enough to allow the romance and characters to shine, but also layered enough to keep the story interesting. I am always here for political intrigue in my science fiction, and Winter’s Orbit was a really fun and compulsive read.

You’re going to want to pick up Winter’s Orbit if you love the following tropes as much as I do:

  • Opposites attract – disaster main character falls for a serious love interest.
  • There’s only one bed.
  • You must get out of those wet clothes, you’ll freeze.
  • An arranged marriage…but the fate of the empire rests on its success.
  • Slow burn romance.

This book feels like a standalone, however I’d absolutely love to read more set in this world. I’m eager to see what Maxwell writes next!

CW: Domestic abuse, PTSD


Want to try Winter’s Orbit for yourself? You can find it at the following sites (affiliate links): 

Book Depository | Blackwells

Have you read Winter’s Orbit? What did you think? Let me know!

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