Reviews

A Betrayal in Winter, by Daniel Abraham

archergal's review against another edition

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4.0

This novel continues the story started in A Shadow in Summer, albeit maybe 12 - 13 years later. It has a number of the same characters as the first book - Otah, failed poet and son of the Khai Machi; Maati, another failed poet. The location is in another kingdom, the kingdom of Machi in the far north of the world.

There's a lot of palace intrigue going on here. The normal route of succession for the Khaiate is for the sons of the family to kill each other off until there's only one left. (Exceptions are made for younger sons who are poets, or branded, or otherwise out of the picture.) But nobody - and I mean, NOBODY, suspects that a daughter might have a desire for the throne. In this world, women don't do that. But Idaan, daughter of the Khai, is ambitious. She thinks she might have a way to be at least part-ruler in this kingdom. But ultimately, is the price more than she can pay?

It's a good sequel. We meet another andat (Stone-made-soft) and its poet-controller Cehmai. There's not quite as much conflict between poet and andat in this book, but the tension is always there. Powers like the andat don't like being slaves.

Good writing. My personal taste doesn't run to palace intrigue/assassination/politics, but Abraham makes it pretty tolerable.

jason51's review against another edition

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slow-paced

4.5

niebieskie2's review

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challenging emotional mysterious reflective tense medium-paced

4.0

thediaryofabooknerd's review

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4.75

After finishing this second book, I'm convinced that this series will end up extremely high on my list of favorites. I can't imagine anything that Abraham could do that would change that at this point. 

Though it took me a little longer to feel invested in the new characters that are introduced in A Betrayal in Winter, one of them became one of the most complex, interesting, well-developed characters that I've read in a long time. Also, the politically-driven plot of this story is fantastic!! 

So gripping, so well written, SO GOOD!

dms's review

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4.0

http://dms.booklikes.com/post/382183/post

caterina_x's review

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5.0

This is what I love about this book:

The characters are superb. There are no people with supernatural powers or Chosen ones that from birth were meant to save the world. There are no omnipotent wizards with spells, sage mentors, and warriors that can't be beaten in battle. There aren't even villains who are evil just for the sake of it, laughing their evil laugh while twirling moustaches. Here instead we have real people with real life powers and limitations and motivations: a princess that suffocates under the patriarchy, a disowned son dragged to take part in a tradition he had refused to participate in, a disgraced poet trying to find the truth, a young poet falling in love while holding the greatest power of the city, the andat (an idea given form and flesh and will). These people make good and bad decisions like you and I would have made. They were not predetermined to greatness by some kind of mystic power, but take matters in their own hands and try to do the best they can given the circumstances.

The fantasy element here is unique and also not the focus of the story. Unique because the power of the andat (the idea given form) is something I haven't encountered before. It is a great symbol for the power of (advanced) technology. Someone holding the technology to make stone soft which can help the city's economy but also devastate an enemy nation. It's an immense power to weild and the poet that weilds it holds an exceptionally powerful position in the kingdom. But the andat is always in the periphery in the book, (although his existence does move the plot forward in one case) which I don't really mind. I am a fan of seeing the political machinations and the human drama unfold. This is a fantasy with no elves and spells and swords, so readers who are looking for these things will be disappointed.

The world of the Khaiem feels very real to me. One of the things I like about fantasy is reading new worlds and I liked being in this one. Abrahams is talented at giving evocative, vivid descriptions with just a few sentences.

The plot is tight and exciting. The first book was more languorous, perhaps to echo the hot and humid harbour of Saraykeht. The story here is tighter, the plotting is better and the ending more satisfying. I was surprised at some of the events and plot turns and there were times when I reacted to the events on the page with a NO! that made the family come check if I'm ok.
Spoiler Forinstance, when Cehmai tells Idaan that Otah is still alive.


Highly recommended (and if I could, I'd buy it for all my friends so I'd have someone to talk about this to.)

sophronisba's review

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4.0

I was lukewarm on the first installment in this series (which was also Daniel Abraham's first novel); I thought this book was much stronger and really showed how Abraham had grown as a writer. I thought the character of Idaan was particularly interesting and well-drawn, and I'm intrigued by the worldbuilding here.

popestig's review

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4.0


Solid character-driven fantasy. I'm curious as to how this series will pan out as a whole.

jdaigle's review

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4.0

Really enjoying this low-key fantasy series from Abraham who also moonlights with Ty Franck as James S.A. Corey of "The Expanse" fame. The setting is vaguely eastern/south Asian and the magic is interesting but both take the backseat to the strong characters and relationships. Will definitely be finishing the series and moving on to Abraham's Dagger and the Coin.

all_booked_up's review

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5.0

Warning super quick thoughts coming.

A Betrayal in Winter is the second book of the long price quartet, it follows on fourteen years after the end of the first book. In it we are introduced to a new cast and a new city, with just a couple of characters continuing on from the first book.

For a quick setting synopsis you can check out my A Shadow in Summer Review, I will be avoiding poilers for that first book during this review. What I will say is that this series really works for me. Book two took all the things I loved from the first one and refined them just slightly. The more I see of this world the more I love it.

This is definitely not your traditional epic fantasy, but Abraham does a wonderful job creating something different in this world of his. It enables us to really understand our cast of characters, so many have such conflicted thoughts and motivations, and many have to do the least badly they can in lose-lose situations.

The same slow plotting is prevalent from book one, although it is fractionally faster moving, so if you need action packed stories this might not be for you. If, however, you want to really understand and feel for the characters you follow I have no higher recommendation than the Long Price Quartet. Seriously, read it.

This book is just fractionally better than A Shadow in Summer and that tips it into five star territory.

5 stars

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