Title: The Winter People
Author: Rebekah L. Purdy
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication date: September 2, 2014
Source: Arc received from Publisher – thank you!
In a nutshell: mediocre paranormal read
|An engrossing, complex, romantic fantasy perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore or Maggie Stiefvater, set in a wholly unique world.
Salome Montgomery fears winter—the cold, the snow, the ice, but most of all, the frozen pond she fell through as a child. Haunted by the voices and images of the strange beings that pulled her to safety, she hasn’t forgotten their warning to “stay away.” For eleven years, she has avoided the winter woods, the pond, and the darkness that lurks nearby. But when failing health takes her grandparents to Arizona, she is left in charge of maintaining their estate. This includes the “special gifts” that must be left at the back of the property. Salome discovers she’s a key player in a world she’s tried for years to avoid. At the center of this world is the strange and beautiful Nevin, who she finds trespassing on her family’s property. Cursed with dark secrets and knowledge of the creatures in the woods, his interactions with Salome take her life in a new direction. A direction where she’ll have to decide between her longtime crush Colton, who could cure her fear of winter. Or Nevin who, along with an appointed bodyguard, Gareth, protects her from the darkness that swirls in the snowy backdrop. An evil that, given the chance, will kill her.
Have you read the synopsis? Yes? Then you certainly know why I just had to get my own copy of this book. Lots of romance + a little bit of magic? Heck, yes! I was in the perfect mood for reading this book although it is – in retrospect – a little bit strange now I was reading a book set in winter while it was like 100° hot in Europe.
But there is also another reason why I was really eager to read The Winter People: I don’t like the cold. In fact, if there happened to be a new ice age in modern times again, I believe I would be the first person to die of exposure. I’m serious. To put it straight, my expectations for the book were pretty high since I saw great potential for (as German people like to put it) identifying myself with Salome, the MC in The Winter People.
Then I opened the book, happy to let myself get enchanted by the world building and…I was confused. To say I had some trouble getting into the story with the prologue would be almost an understatement — it was just too unclear from whose POV the story was told, and to be honest, I did not even know if the person was female or male.
The writing, however, improved rapidly (mostly because the POV quickly changes back to Salome’s) and I quickly found myself engrossed in the book. The first 40 pages or something were just magical — I was mesmerized by the winter theme in the book, the danger and yet fascination it posed. I did not even know yet that faeries would play a role in the story — I was simply intrigued with Salome’s curse, the strange voices in her head and I even grew to accept the love triangle in the book (I am not saying I was not annoyed by it…it is just that you quickly figure out with whom she is more likely to end up with.)
I did not like it AT ALL. It was an annoying twist to the story. It caused unnecessary fuss in the plot. It made me realize that the romance so far was actually really sweet, in all objectivity, however, really cheesy.
Here’s the thing: All three love interests were just so…mundane. That Nevin guy mentioned in the synopsis? He was like a girl on period and if not, acted like a woman in her menopause. In fact I sometimes even wondered why Salome did not just slap his face because his ambivalence…no thanks. Colton? Please, he was just such a vanilla person — rich, attractive, wannabe-alpha. And the third mysterious guy? I really wish I could have liked him but I just came to simply not care about him.Salome’s character development since then was like nada. I really hoped she would at least learn from her mistakes, to not always trust her “The eyes of love are blind”-heart but ultimately, I felt like she was digging her own grave. She was just another love-crazed character, unable to perform a reasonable action because love solves all problems, right? NOO, I’m not such a naive reader! I would not even dream to sacrifice myself for a boy I only meet a couple of weeks per month.Also, I often felt that the plot was missing some action. I know the book is more about love and romance, but yet I was hoping it would focus more on the curse / paranormal aspect; that we would learn more about The Winter People or the faerie folk in general. I mean, we do get a lot of hints who Salome’s mysterious attacker could be, but in the end, the character only appears for ten minutes or something in the final showdown. You see, underdeveloped plot line with badly-elaborated curse.
And that’s when I realized that the paranormal aspect in the book basically sucked. The faerie theme was really predictable, with its Summer and Winter Court and…well, Purdy basically just picked up on the classical faerie theme in A Midsummer Night’s Dream that many many authors have already used before, without augmenting it or something.
You might expect a bad rating now, but actually, I did enjoy reading The Winter People. Blame it on Purdy’s writing style, but I actually read the book within a day. In fact, I was devouring the book. The world building was clearly poor, but I guess the author has got some talent in depicting the fascination for winter and the invisible tug towards it everyone has certainly experienced before. To be honest, if I had written the review right after I finished the book, I would have definitely given it 4 or even 4.5 butterflies…but I guess my immediate excitement has just cooled down since then.
In the end, the book was more of a so-so read for me since many of Salome’s decisions were just too unrealistic for my taste, considering she is only eighteen years old by the end of the book..but well. Oh, and last but not least, I am happy I do not live in Salome’s world. That’s it.