My apologises, this post is very late, I intended to post this on Saturday but I had a hectic week last week and only finished this book last night. Today I am reviewing ‘Winter Be My Shield: Children of the Black Sun Book One’ by Australian author Jo Spurrier, published by Harper Voyager. This is the fifth book I have read for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A complex, adult epic fantasy from a new Australian author … original, dramatic, unputdownable …
Sierra has a despised and forbidden gift — she raises power from the suffering of others. Enslaved by the King’s Torturer, Sierra escapes, barely keeping ahead of Rasten, the man sent to hunt her down. Then she falls in with dangerous company: the fugitive Prince Cammarian and his crippled foster-brother, Isidro.
But Rasten is not the only enemy hunting them in the frozen north and as Sierra’s new allies struggle to identify friend from foe, Rasten approaches her with a plan to kill the master they both abhor. Sierra is forced to decide what price she is willing to pay for her freedom and her life …
Original, dramatic and unputdownable, Winter Be My Shield is the first in an epic fantasy trilogy from brilliant new Australian talent Jo Spurrier.
An amazing epic fantasy. 5 out of 5 stars.
I loved this book. To say this book was well written is an understatement. Jo Spurrier is a very talented writer whose writing style is utterly captivating, her voice holding me in awe in some places.
Winter Be My Shield is a richly imagined and dark tale of Sierra, a woman with a very rare and lethal power – she gains power from the suffering of others and can tear a person to shreds with a bolt of that power. In her land, Mages, people like Sierra, are despised, and thought of as demons. If a child with the ‘taint’ is discovered they are put through rituals to suppress the power within them.
Sierra has been held captive by the Blood-Mage Kell and his apprentice Rasten. They work for the king as tortures and use Sierra to make their own power stronger.
Sierra escapes, using the harsh winter to aide her escape and hide her tracks – The bone-chilling winter described in this book was so vivid that it leapt of the page and wrapped around you. Her path crosses with the fugitive Prince Cammarian, ‘Cam’, and Isidro, Cam’s foster brother that has suffered at the hands of Kell, leaving him crippled.
Kell sends Rasten after Sierra, offering a large reward for her capture. He will stop at nothing to get her back and Sierra will do anything not to be recaptured.
Sierra finds she doesn’t have many friends in the world, fear turning many, almost everyone, against her, which means she fights to keep the less than a handful that she does have safe at any cost, even if it means doing the unthinkable and trusting one of the last people she ever thought she’d trust.
This book contains a cast of fault filled, human characters that walk the line between being good and bad. It is these characters and the relationships they form that will draw you into their world and captivate you and leave you dying to know what their fates hold, even the seemingly evil Rasten will have you warming to him by the end.
This is a must read book and I cannot stress that enough. I am shocked that it has only 87 ratings on Goodreads. More people need to read this book. If you love epic fantasy than this book is for you.
I cannot wait for book 2 in this series which comes out on June first.
You can add Winter Be My Shield on Goodreads here: