Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Well, here’s a nice way to end the year —

In the New York Times Book Review, from N. K. Jemisin:

Gods spring forth from the human heart in Rachel Neumeier’s WINTER OF ICE AND IRON, a sprawling epic fantasy of political intrigue and cold, bitter magics. Every polity in the Four Kingdoms generates magic, which wells up from the intentions and labors of its people and invests local rulers with hereditary, semi-sentient spirits called Immanents. When the ruler of Emmer decides to feed the Immanents of every other nation to his own, conquest isn’t the greatest danger. The real problem is that any one of the Immanent Powers in play might achieve apotheosis, transforming into a god — and in the process destroying the land that created it….

Neumeier’s writing has a spare, haunting quality …. Best of all are her characters — particularly Innisth, the conscientious duke burdened with a sadistic Immanent. This is Innisth’s story by virtue of the fact that he’s got more agency and layers than the princess Kehera, but they work together beautifully, and their romance has a number of interesting and unconventional complications. The characters hook; the writing holds. It’s comfort food, but more satisfying than most.

I should add that Jemisin also thinks WINTER is “traditional and predictable,” so no doubt she would usually prefer a less traditional setting or plot or both. It’s pretty snazzy that she plainly enjoyed it anyway.

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2 Comments Well, here’s a nice way to end the year —

  1. Evelyn M. Hill

    If someone who can write as well as Jeminsin likes your writing… wowza.
    I think she’s right, btw. About the writing, that is. I didn’t find it predictable, but maybe I don’t read enough fantasy?

  2. Rachel

    Evelyn, that was my reaction, too! Also, yes, I think reviewers in general probably start to find lots of books seem to have repetitive tropes and so on, whereas readers who are not reading professionally are probably less prone to that.

    For me, predictability in the big plot beats is not as important as the story’s journey to hit those beats; and I basically like any setting, traditional or otherwise, if it’s well drawn. So I may never get bored with traditional themes and plots and settings. Reviewers may be saying my books are very traditional forever, and if so I expect I can live with that.

    But in this case, you know, WINTER was very strongly based on the fantasy trilogy I wrote 15 or so years ago, which was the first thing I ever wrote, so probably that is one reason the setting is pretty typical.

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