A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos and Hildegarde Serle (Translator)

Hardcover, 468 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Europa Editions
Source: Editor

Disclaimer: It is 2:15 a.m. and I am only partially responsible for the following. The majority of the responsibility goes to the night.

So, this is the back copy of A Winter’s Promise:


Where once there was unity, vastly different worlds now exist. Over each, the spirit of an omnipotent and immortal ancestor abides.

Long ago, following a cataclysm called the Rupture, the world was shattered into many floating celestial islands, known now as arks. Ophelia lives on Anima, where inhabitants can read the pasts of objects. What’s more, she is also a “mirror-traveler,” possessing an ability that has been passed down to her through generations. Her idyllic existence on Anima is disrupted when she is promised in marriage to Thorn, an influential member of a distant clan. Still only a girl, Ophelia must leave her family and follow her fiancé to Citaceleste, the capital of a cold and icy ark called Pole. But there, her future husband seems indifferent to her and she slowly realizes that her presence on Pole is part of a much bigger plot and has far-reaching ramifications not only for her but for her entire world.

Sounds fantastic, right? I think so too!

I don’t rightly know where (and how) (I’m a bit rusty) to begin this review but be assured this is not going to be some well thought out critique with cited sources. It might not even be sharply articulated. As I said it is past 2:18 a.m.

Anyway. So this book is, I believe, being marketed as YA and I don’t really know why? I mean, neither the characters nor the story mark it as being YA so I really am curious as to what marketing strategy led to this decision. To me it reads more adult than YA specifically because of the romance. Oh, I have a lot to say about the romance but that will have to wait for a few more paragraphs.

I really do like the worldbuilding in this one. Dabos has built a fantastically complex world that is as convoluted as a matrix with layers upon layers. The multiple worlds and their hints at the original world give glimpses of a deeper story. The naming is interesting–look writers, pay attention to names. No matter what Shakespeare said, a name is important. If you name your characters something other than Bill, George, Kirsten or heck even then, do some research because names say a lot even when you don’t intend them to.

I don’t know about the main character except that she thinks appearing intentionally dowdy is somehow helping her which it really isn’t? All I got from her was a sense of dampness and a shawl. Despite that, I felt for her because arranged marriages suck unless you choose to have an arrange marriage. The politics is interesting. The violence is upsetting and whoa. I feel like since this book is a translation, it may reflect its culture of origin in tone and execution (which is different from the story itself).

The romance is…I don’t get it? I really don’t. First of all, that love interest….can you really call him a love interest if he has the personality of a discarded dishrag? I mean, she seems to be asexual which would be interesting had there been more discussion on it and SPOILER but all of a sudden she decides he is in love with her while I was staring at the book wondering if there were chapters I had missed or if she was the worst at reading between the lines because at no time ever does he give even a smidgen’s worth of indication he has any feeling for her other than a simmering loathing. Whooo, that was a long sentence. Other than the romance, I did enjoy her adventures and I do so love the world in which the story is set so I’m probably going to read the second on in this series just to find out more about it.

Now whether I would recommend it to you or not is…hmm, I don’t know. To be honest, there are no strong female friends and the MC is not my fave.  But apparently it sold very well in France so it might just be missing things. Read at your own discretion.