Winter by Sarah Remy took me by surprise. I haven’t read much urban fantasy and when it comes to fantasy, I don’t have much experience with fay folklore. It didn’t seem to matter much that I had little experience with either of these as the main focus of the story was on the arrival of Aine, who she was and what her arrival meant to the Manhattan Exiles.
The best part of the novel was that the author didn’t feel the need to share every bit of fay history. As the story moved along, bits and pieces of why the fay were stuck in our world were revealed when it was relevant to the plot. It wasn’t done with long winded explanations either. It was usually an off-handed comment which revealed that the exile wasn’t something that just happened yesterday and showed how characters really felt about each other.
While this approach worked for the overall history of this group of exiles, I did struggle that more of Winter, the main protagonist of the story, was not shared. I struggled to understand why he was in D.C. when his family was in Manhattan. What exactly did his fancy earbobs do? Why did he hate himself so much? Why are Gabby, Lolo and Richard even friends with him? There was a lot of backstory there that I felt I was missing to truly connect with the character.
It was the greater mystery that kept me reading Winter. The girl that emerged from the wall, Aine, shared my confusion regarding Winter and his crazy family (both his biological and adoptive families). While at first she seemed weak and whiny, as the story moved on, she became one of the strongest, most caring female characters in the book. Once she got her footing, she was determined to achieve her goal.
This novel would be for readers who don’t like a spoon-fed plot. Remy deftly hands out pieces of the Exiles history and only begins to reveal the psychology behind the actions of her troubled characters. This is a complex story where, at the end, not all is known and some readers might find that frustrating. For me, it was refreshing. I don’t mind open-ended plots when the story is well-written. Winter left me wondering if the characters will be able to overcome themselves as that seems to be their greatest obstacle. It made this urban fantasy seem real and alive.
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book review winter sarah remy