Series: Weathermages of Mystral, #1
Published by Avon on July 29th 2014
Genres: Romantic Fantasy, Fantasy
Source: Personal Copy
After three long years of war, starkly handsome Wynter Atrialan will have his vengeance on Summerlea's king by taking one of the man's beautiful, beloved daughters as his bride. But though peace is finally at hand, Wynter's battle with the Ice Heart, the dread power he embraced to avenge his brother's death, rages on.
Khamsin Coruscate, Princess of Summerlea and summoner of Storms, has spent her life exiled to the shadows of her father's palace. Reviled by her father, marriage to Wintercraig's icy king was supposed to be a terrible punishment, but instead offers Kham her first taste of freedom—and her first taste of overwhelming passion.
As fierce, indomitable Wynter weathers even Khamsin's wildest storms, surprising her with a tenderness she never expected, Kham wants more than Wynter's passion—she yearns for his love. But the power of the Ice Heart is growing, dangerous forces are gathering, and a devastating betrayal puts Khamsin and Wynter to the ultimate test.
The Winter King – the first book of the Weathermages of Mystral series – was an unbelievable mash-up of romance and fantasy. At 600 pages, this polar bear of a winter-themed book has a bit of everything – magic, snow monsters, a few good battle scenes and of course, a great romance. I had been ‘eh’ on reading this because of the somewhat cheesy cover. However, the Fantasy comes through just as strong as the Romance in this Romantic Fantasy novel by C.L. Wilson.
Khamsin Coruscate is the youngest waethermage and princess of Summerlea. Most commonly known as Storm due to the volatile nature of her weather powers, Khamsin has lived as an outcast in her father’s palace since she was three – when her mother was killed in an accident involving Khamsin’s powers. Many years later, Khamsin’s brother betrays Wynter Atrialan, King of Wintercraig and murders his brother. Set on revenge, Wynter obtains the power of the Ice Heart and defeats Summerlea after three-years of war. Khamsin becomes Wynter’s bride and travels to Wintercraig, where she gradually falls in love with the cold warrior king. However, the Ice Hart’s power threatens to take-over Wynter completely, bringing back with it the god-like Ice King’s frozen reign.
Overall, this was a strong read that I’d highly recommend to Fantasy fans who 1) enjoy a heavy dose of romance or 2) are in the mood for a wintery book without the often required Christmas/Holiday vibe. My only qualm was the pacing as with any Fantasy novel, I’m always looking for good action scenes. The majority of the book was Khamsin adapting to her new land and working through her relationship with Wynter, with big action scenes not picking up until the last 10% or so. This may not bother most readers; however, I found myself getting anxious for the battle against the Ice King.
Here is what I loved:
- The Beauty & the Beast Vibe: Khamsin is sacrificed by her father to mary the Winterking and ensure the kingdom’s peace. Wynter had deeply loved his family; however, his obtained Ice Heart powers made him harsh and ruthless. These same powers also created a window for the Ice King to gradually take over Wynter’s soul. The only way to defeat the Ice King is for the “power of love” to melt Wynter’s icy heart before it’s too late. (I promise – it comes across as much less cliched in the book).
- The World Building of Mystral: Mystral is a large universe of several distinct realms – including Summerlea and Wintercraig. Each royal family has unique powers – Summerlea’s is control of the weather and Wintercraig’s is communicating with winter animals. Wintercraig feels very much how you’d imagine Arindale from Disney’s Frozen to be, and I highly suspect that fans of Kirsten Ashley’s Wildest Dreams would also enjoy Wintercraig as well.
- Khamsin and Wynter are Two Side of the Same Coin: I enjoyed how alike the two main characters were. Both are incredibly lonely – Khamsin from her father’s rejection and Wynter from losing his family – but need to overcome their distrust of each other to find their happiness. They’re also both incredibly stubborn and headstrong. These two could have overcome their issues much sooner had they just figured out how to trust one another!