Winter. Is. Coming.
Those three words kept popping into my head as I read this book. This settlement revolves around the coming of winter and the cruel weather that it brings.
Where Emmeline lives, you cannot love and you cannot leave…
The Council’s rules are strict, but they’re for the good of the settlement in which Emmeline lives. Everyone knows there is nothing but danger the other side of the Wall, and the community must prepare for the freezing winterkill that comes every year.
But Emmeline struggles to be obedient under the Council’s suffocating embrace – especially when she discovers that a Council leader intends to snatch her hand in marriage.
Then Emmeline begins to hear the call of the trees beyond the Wall…
I picked up this book from the library because of the cover. Not gonna lie. It looked wintery (duh) and I really wanted to do read something that felt ‘seasonal’. As far as winter goes, this book definitely envelopes that chilly, crisp, slightly ominous feel that it can have.
I’ll try not to get too heavily on my opinions on ‘walled cities’ and a woman’s place within them because I’m writing a post dedicated to exactly that. But Winterkill is a prime example of how the image/metaphor has been used. It keeps getting recycled because there’s still an issue to be discussed there.
Phew! Ok. Moving away from that for now.
I really enjoyed the growing relationships in the book. Emmeline is a solid character, even if I did find myself growing a little frustrated with her towards the end. But I liked how her interactions with other characters were described and explored.
Winter literally breathes down the necks of the settlement throughout the whole book. Everything they do is in preparation for it. They need to be ready in order to survive, not to mention the constant ‘threat’ from an unseen, outside monster picking them off.
For me, this book echoes Red Riding Hood as well as The Handmaid’s Tale. And I liked that. What frustrated me was how Emmeline had this adventurous and daring spirit; it was obvious she wanted to rebel and yet she spent so long thinking about it. I think it was because it so glaring what she needed to do, and how she could do it, and yet she didn’t. And sure, she had some strong ties to break if she were to just up and leave; things are never that easy. But she had so many opportunities! But she didn’t take them, not until she was right on the edge of having choosing her life behind the walls, or a new life outside of them.
(And then she has to go back, doesn’t she? GAH!)
There were some interesting plot twists. I’m not going to give anything away but I did enjoy how her trust and her faith in certain people was tested and, in some cases, completely torn to shreds.
I love love love the writing style. There is something crisp and almost ethereal about the narrative in some parts. It fit the setting and I also felt it fitted me too. The way nature is always on the edge of everything, both geographically and also narratively (which isn’t a word, but I’m making it one) was a wonderful entwining of themes and environment and text.
And the cover is gorgeous! I’m a little sad that they changed them- I think the newer covers pick out that fairy tale/folklore element really well. But I like the romance and wistfulness of the older covers.
Anyone seen that Red Riding Hood film with Amanda Seyfried? That’s what this cover is saying to me.
Anyway, I’m really looking forward to reading Darkthaw. Have any of you read it yet? Is it a good ‘un?
Concept – 4/5
Plot – 3/5
Ending or Twist – 3/5
Overall – 4/5
*(borrowed from my local library. Opinions borrowed from no one)