A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos
Earlier this year, I treated myself to a book subscription. I had seen plenty all over bookstagram and the internet, and decided it was something fun I wanted to do. Thus, I started with Page 1 Books. A Winter’s Promise was one of the first couple of boxes, but it has taken me a few months to actually read it.
Long ago, following a cataclysm called “The Rupture,” the world was shattered into many floating celestial islands. Known now as Arks, each has developed in distinct ways; each seems to possess its own unique relationship to time, such that nowadays vastly different worlds exist, together but apart. And over all of the Arks the spirit of an omnipotent ancestor abides.
Ophelia lives on Anima, an ark where objects have souls. Beneath her worn scarf and thick glasses, the young girl hides the ability to read and communicate with the souls of objects, and the power to travel through mirrors. Her peaceful existence on the Ark of Anima is disrupted when she is promised in marriage to Thorn, from the powerful Dragon clan. Ophelia must leave her family and follow her fiancée to the floating capital on the distant Ark of the Pole. Why has she been chosen? Why must she hide her true identity? Though she doesn’t know it yet, she has become a pawn in a deadly plot.
A Winter’s Promise was wonderfully fantastical! Based on my research, they were originally published in France and have been translated to English. Unfortunately, there were a couple of spots where I believe something may have been lost in translation, but it didn’t detract from the book overall.
I loved all of the world building in this book as well. The concepts and how they worked together were unlike anything I had ever read before. Between The Rupture and the gods and the Arks…it was a lot to “build” through writing and it was done very well.
I had a couple of “cons” of the book though. At times, the main character Ophelia (love the name) was bothersome. It also wasn’t entirely clear how old she’s supposed to be. Her age may have been able to explain some of the behaviors. It was a big deal that she was not married for her age, but that could mean anything.
A Winter’s Promise is just the first book in a four part series (the fourth of which hasn’t yet published), so I cannot wait to get my hands on the rest! I enjoyed it as an adult, but it could also be a good middle grade read. (There are mentions of “stealing virtue” and “causing dishonor,” but nothing explicit in any way.)
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