Book Review: BARROW OF WINTER by H. M. Long

Title in white on brown with blue shilouette of a cloaked person with a spear
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: book 3 (companion)

*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for HALL OF SMOKE and TEMPLE OF NO GOD*

Blurb:

Book cover for BARROW OF WINTER: title in white on brown bear head with blue outline of person on mountains

Thray is the Last Daughter of Winter, half immortal and haunted by the legacy of her blood. When offered a chance to visit the northern land of Duamel, where her father once ruled, she can’t refuse – even if it means lying to the priesthood she serves and the man she loves.

In Duamel, Thray’s demi-god siblings rule under the northern lights, worshipped by arcane cults. An endless winter night cloaks the land, giving rise to strange beasts, terrible storms and a growing, desperate hunger. The people of Duamel teeter on the edge of violence, and Thray’s siblings, powerful and deathless, stand with them on the brink.

To earn her siblings’ trust and find the answers she seeks, Thray will have to weather assassinations, conspiracies and icy wastelands. And as her siblings turn their gaze towards the warmer, brighter land she calls home, she must harness her own feral power and decide where her loyalties lie.

Because when the spring winds blow and the ice breaks up, the sons and daughters of Winter will bring her homeland to its knees.

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

BARROW OF WINTER is an icy tale of finding yourself and your family.

I really enjoyed how this book tackled facing down the uncertainty of immortality, the fear of losing loved ones to old age and not knowing if or when you’d pass to see them in the afterlife. There was so much nuance in it, how it would affect relationships if that was hanging over you. Plus there was the horrible predicament of knowing that the only way to find out if you were immortal was to not die when you should – but if the gamble was wrong and you did die, that was it.

This book is more of a companion than a sequel to the previous two books (HALL OF SMOKE of and TEMPLE OF NO GOD.) While there are some spoilers for them (how they ended, particularly with regards to the gods), BARROW OF WINTER follows a new protagonist rather than Hessa and the returning cast are secondary characters who are hardly on the page. Therefore you could jump in at this entry rather than the first book.

This third entry once more explores the various faiths of the world. We see the consequences of Hessa’s actions in the previous books on various faiths, and what steps in to fill religious voids. There are also some hints about what could be in the third book as we discover more about the third of four “pillars of the world.”

It is a perfect book for winter, set largely in an icy world with an unnatural night and full of demi-gods with power over ice and snow and wind. It’s cold in a biting way, full of treks through snowy-bound forests and journeys across icy seas.

There is one more book to come in this series, PILLAR OF ASH, another companion book, this time about Hessa’s children. Something to look forward to next year!


Read my reviews of other books by H. M. Long:

Hall of Smoke (this series):

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