Daughter of Redwinter
reviewed by Pam Guynn
With Daughter of Redwinter, Ed McDonald brings readers an epic fantasy that has excitement, danger, and suspense. In this first book in the Redwinter Chronicles series, he introduces Raine, the main character, and does a fantastic job of building a world that is unique.
Raine can see all of and speak to some of the dead. However, this dangerous ability comes with a death sentence if others learn of it. She left her mother’s home, joined a cult, and through one act of kindness, has changed the course of her life and many others. The injured woman she rescues left Redwinter, the fortress-monastery of the Draoihn, warrior magicians intent on retrieving what she stole from them.
Raine’s mother did not like her and did not treat her well. When a group including three sooth-sisters gives her an opportunity to join them, she does. Then things go wrong and Raine learns that even an act of kindness can have consequences. She thinks she wants power so she won’t have to be afraid and so she can have true freedom. However, is this what she really wants?
Raine is a main character that readers will want to succeed in life. She tries to do the right thing, but isn’t always successful and she seems to be full of self-pity at times. However, she’s a dynamic character who changes and grows as the story unfolds. Both her attitude and outlook on life evolve throughout the book as actions take place. The other characters are less dynamic than Raine, but nevertheless vibrant, providing support or conflict to keep things interesting. A list of the many characters and a description of pieces of this mystic world are at the back of the book. I thought this would have been more helpful at the beginning so readers know they are there.
There’s a lot of time spent introducing the characters and some of their back-stories as well as world-building, but that’s not unusual in the first book in a series of this magnitude. However, there is a lot of introspection by the main character that slows the pace as times. There are action scenes, especially at the beginning and the ending, but the middle section could have been more potent. As readers become acquainted with the characters, both good and bad, it becomes clear that there is much more going on than the theft of an artifact. The author weaves themes of grief, empathy or its lack, domestic abuse, community, murder, magic, death, ghosts, fear, duty, honor, secrets, greed, friendship, and politics into this great start to the series.
Overall, this fantasy thriller is gripping and thought-provoking. The high stakes and smooth writing made it a page turner. While it’s the first novel I have read by this author, I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. If you enjoy epic fantasies with great world-building, an unusual magic system, and a diverse set of characters, then you may enjoy this novel as much as I did.
Macmillan-Tor/Forge – Tor Books and the author provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for June 28, 2022.