Review: Amid the Winter Snow by Grace Draven, Thea Harrison, Elizabeth Hunter & Jeffe Kennedy

Reviewed by Jen

This anthology was a great mix of new worlds and familiar favorites for me.

In the Darkest Midnight is set loosely in the world of Grace Draven’s Wraith Kings, though this story stands up completely on its own. It follows young Jahna, a nobleman’s daughter with a sizable birthmark, who falls head over heels for her brother Sodrin’s instructor in swordsmanship. Radamir is a swordmaster of Ilinfan, a line renowned for its skill. He has committed to four years training Sodrin, but he is quickly taken by the intelligence and fortitude of the young woman derided by others for her appearance. It isn’t romantic between them, at first, as Jahna is only 15, but over time, they form a friendship and much later, it develops into something more. This is a very slow burn and I was a little put off at first by how long Jahna was too young for their relationship to take off. But Draven does a fantastic job crafting the longing Jahna feels for Radamir. By the time they got together, not only did I want it, I needed it to happen. Now that’s over, I’m still wanting more.

Thea Harrison’s The Chosen exists in the world of her Elder Races series, but this story felt a little more fantasy than Harrison’s more standard PNR. It’s set in the otherworld of Y, where Lily is the Chosen among her people. She speaks to their goddess, has visions, and leads the men and women who live in their isolated keep. For a long time, her visions have warned her that a choice was coming; there would be a war between a man who was a wolf and one who was a tiger. She would fall in love with one of those men and it would lead to her salvation or her ruin. Wulf brings his soldiers to her land, hoping for an alliance against his enemy. Lily must use her observations and gifts to figure out whether he can be trusted and later, whether he is the man who she’s dreamed of spending the rest of her life with.

I thought by the blurb that this one might be a love triangle. Thankfully, it’s not. We never even meet the other guy. What this is… is more of a beginning of a love story than anything else. I liked these two together, but a lot of the connection came from Lily’s visions and other-sense. As always with Harrison, the world-building is awesome and the writing kept me turning the page. The relationship didn’t give me super-feels, but it was a story I enjoyed reading.

The Storm is not my first story by Elizabeth Hunter, but it is my first foray into her Irin Chronicles series. I knew I liked her writing, but it took me a little time to catch up and get in sync with what was happening here. I understood the basics, that these folks were descended from angels… that the men were warriors and magical scribes while the women sang their magic. But there was a lot of history to cram into a short space here, not only in the near annihilation of their women, but the relationship between these characters. This is a second chance at love story for Maxim and Renata, and to add yet another layer, he’s not her soulmate… another man was, but we meet him in flashback before he dies. If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it was. That said, when I finally caught up to it all, there were some lovely parts of this story that I found quite touching. I have no doubt that readers familiar with the series would like it a lot, since they could just enjoy the ride without having to keep up so much with past events. Even though it took me a while to connect, Renata’s transformation made it worth the read.

Jeffe Kennedy was the only author in this set whose work I had never read. The Snows of Windroven made me want to change that. This is part of her series The Twelve Kingdoms and I felt like I was jumping in to the last chapter of a book I hadn’t read… one I very much wished that I had. After a little digging, I found out the couple here, Ash and Ami, were the main characters from The Tears of the Rose, which I will definitely check out. Ash is a damaged hero who is below his love in social status. She’s a beautiful queen and he’s a scarred former convict. They love each other but he believes it can never work.

Not only did this have some great tortured hero vibes, it’s told entirely in the hero’s first person POV. This was right in my lane.

A great anthology. Would definitely recommend for fantasy-romance fans.

Rating: B+

*ARC provided by author

Click to purchase: Amazon

Amid the Winter Snow
by G Draven, T Harrison, E Hunter, & J Kennedy
Release Date: December 12, 2017

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