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Saturday, November 9, 2019

Book Review: Winter King (The Wyth Courts, #1) by J.S. Dark

Winter King (The Wyth Courts, #1)
by J.S. Dark
October 9th 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
His court is dying, and she’s his only hope …

Monsters of the Tywyll Forest have poisoned the Winter Court, unleashing a prophecy that demands a human sacrifice to save the withering land. Willing to do whatever it takes to save his people, King Cadewyn of the Winter Court ventures to the human world in search of one insignificant life to claim…

Amber was used to her life being in shambles, but getting kidnapped and whisked off to a magical fae realm was a new low even for her. While feeling drawn to the fae King by a sizzling attraction, her apprehension builds to a panic when she finds out why she was brought there.

When Cade discovers that Amber is his mate, can he carry out his plan to sacrifice her? Or will the malicious plotting of others within the court leave Amber trapped in the mystical realm with nowhere to run?

Winter King is a standalone steamy paranormal romance with a HEA. Each book in the Wyth Courts series will feature a different couple, with a complete story, and a HEA. Suited for readers 18+ due to language and sex scenes.

Reviewer: Bianca Greenwood

2 ½ sheep

Amber is down on her luck. Although she’s unemployed with no friends, family, or prospects, she possesses an unparalleled kindness even in her most desperate times. That kindness draws King Cadewyn, ruler of the Winter Court in the fae dimension of Wyth. Cade needs a pure-hearted human sacrifice to stop a rotting curse besieging his land. Initially, Cade has no qualms sacrificing an innocent human, but soon Amber’s light and love prove irresistible to the winter king. 

Winter King is a quick read with lots of sex appeal. The beautiful cover and synopsis drew me in. The fantastic fae scape described for readers is creative and engaging. Unfortunately, I found both the plot and characters to be unfortunately underdeveloped. The premise is problematic. Amber’s secondment to the fae kingdom is abrupt. She asks startlingly few questions while in the winter court. As a reader, I prefer a female main with more spark and intelligence. It’s almost as if Amber’s remarkable kindness and purity render her uninteresting and overly docile. I was distracted by inconsistencies in both Amber’s character and the book’s diction. The author combines an antiquated courtly structure peppered with modern colloquialisms I found awkward. These aspects made it difficult for me to suspend my disbelief. I was wholly aware I was reviewing throughout this read instead of being immersed in the text.

Winter King had promise. I love romance, fae fantasy, and exploring brand-new series. I’m optimistic that with some polish and enhancements Whyth Courts could gain traction.

Reviewer: Adria Reyes
3 for the overall book
2 ½ for the romance.
The Winter Court needs a sacrifice to stop the spread of a curse that is set to destroy its people. The sacrifice needs to be a human who is pure of heart and Cade, the King of the Winter Court is ready to do that until he finds out that the human who is to be sacrificed is his mate.

Winter King had a lot going for it with its intriguing plot and characters BUT it didn’t quite reach its potential and that was a shame to me for many reasons. I liked the story well enough but I could see areas that could have benefitted from more fleshing out.

For starters, Winter King is terribly short for a fantasy book. For me, the fantasy genre is synonymous with attention to details about the world that the author is building which includes fully fleshed out characters. That means more pages that spend just the right amount of time immersing readers in a world that seems so real you could reach out and touch it. JS Dark kind of rushed through that part of the book in order to jump into the duty vs love conflict Cade had going on. However, rushed as it is, the author managed to create a vivid picture of the Winter Court that whets the appetite. I can only imagine what the author could have done with a longer book.

Winter King is also told in dual first-person POVs, which is not my favorite thing. First-person POV makes me feel like I’m only getting a partial picture, a biased version from that character’s eyes. Both characters felt a little underdeveloped with Amber being the least likable to me. It’s not that she was terrible but I suppose because she was the “pure of heart” character, that meant that depth, realism, and dimension had to be sacrificed. Amber was too much of an innocent, goody two shoe type character which in my book equals dull and forgettable. And when one of the lead characters is forgettable then the romance suffers. I wasn’t into the romance between Cade and Amber. Cade was more fleshed out and realistic between the two and I didn’t feel that Amber was an adequate match for him.

Overall, Winter King reads more like a novella. It’s a full story with a HEA but for a fantasy it does fall flat in several areas where fantasy usually excels. After reading this book I was left a tad unsatisfied but with the hope that this author will take the time to write a fully fleshed out fantasy series because the talent is there, I got a sample of it in a handful of pages where some scenes are brought to life in quick flashes of shimmering details. But in order for it to shine, time and attention to details and characters need to be paid. The fantasy genre demands a solid platform and I believe this author can meet those demands and create a niche all their own.

About the Author:
J.S. Dark is the pen name of a USA Today Bestselling author. As J.S. Dark, she writes steamy paranormal and fantasy romance, with red hot heroes and their sassy soulmates. Her passion for books started when she was very little, and her first novel was penned at only thirteen years old. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two kids, and way too many books!

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