*I received this book as an eARC from Amber Argyle in exchange for an honest review.*
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Title: Winter Queen
Year Published: 2013
Synopsis: ~Becoming a winter queen will make Ilyenna as cold and cruel and deadly as winter itself, but it might be the only way to save her people from a war they have no hope of winning.~
Mortally wounded during a raid, seventeen-year-old Ilyenna is healed by winter fairies who present her with a seductive offer: become one of them and share their power over winter. But that power comes with a price. If she accepts, she will become a force of nature, lose her humanity, and abandon her family.
Unwilling to pay such a high price, Ilyenna is enslaved by one of the invaders, Darrien. While in captivity, she learns the attack wasn’t just a simple raid but part of a larger plot to overthrow her entire nation.
With the enemy stealing over the mountains and Darrien coming to take her to his bed, Ilyenna must decide whether to resurrect the power the fairies left behind. Doing so will allow her to defeat Darrien and the other invaders, but if she embraces winter, she will lose herself to that destroying power—forever.
Review: This book was everything I hoped for, and more. There was adventure, mystery, heartache, romance, twists and turns, magic, and just everything a good story should have (in my opinion). I absolutely love Argyle's writing style, and her world building is phenomenal in this book. As I was reading, I felt like I was actually in Ilyenna's world, and that I could see the fairies the way she sees them. Which I also thought was excellently done, I'm so glad they were disguised and could only be found if you knew where to look. I think it adds to the magic of them, and to the magic associated with Winter and Summer.
I also really loved the characters in this book. Although Darrien is a total jerk and deserves every bad thing that happens to him, he's actually a really interesting character. I wish we had seen more of his brother, because I pictured them to be dynamic opposites and I'm really interested to see how that would have played out. I enjoyed reading about Ilyenna's transformation from being so unsure of herself to becoming a strong, powerful, independent woman, and I'm so glad she never lost sight of her honesty and trustworthiness. And then, of course, there's Rone. I liked his character, but I wish we had seen him more in depth. I feel like I don't really know him as much as I would have liked.
Although it took me a few chapters to get into this book, the story really gets going after that and I didn't want to put the book down until the very end. There's just so much happening, and so many layers (like a parfait!)that I had to pull a late night in order to appease my curiosity. And that really didn't help too much, since now I want to know what's next for Ilyenna and Rone. And the Shyle.
I could seriously gush about this book all day, but I really think you should go read it for yourself. Especially if you're interested in fantasy novels with strong heroines. Or females that end up being strong heroines. Or if you just really like Amber Argyle's other books, because this is definitely the best one yet. 5/5, and I can't wait for the sequel!