09 April, 2010

Review - A Betrayal in Winter by Daniel Abraham

After the fast-paced world of the Night Angel trilogy (latest review), A Betrayal in Winter [US] [UK omnibus Shadow and Betrayal] was a nice change of pace. I like to have a good mix and while not excruciatingly so, this was a much slower pace.

I love the world that Abraham's created here in The Long Price Quartet. It's something that's both familiar, reminiscent of eastern cultures, and altogether it's own unique creation.

While in English we no longer use "thou" for more familiar situations, I loved the use of formal vs. familiar speaking, as found in most languages besides English. (It would also be nice to have a way to talk to a group of people without having to say "you guys") I thought this added to the world of the Khaiem quite nicely.

Events occurring 13 years after A Shadow in Summer (Edi's review), A Betrayal in Winter focuses on those cities in the north (The Winter Cities). Here's the (condensed) Goodreads blurb:
As a boy, Otah Machi was exiled from his family, Machi's ruling house. Decades later, he has witnessed and been part of world-changing events. Yet he has never returned to Machi. Now his father - the Khai, or ruler, or Machi - is dying and his eldest brother Biitrah has been assassinated, Otah realizes that he must return to Machi, for reasons not even he understands.

Tradition dictates that the sons of a dying Khai fall upon each other until only one remains to succeed his father. But something even worse is occurring in Machi. The Galts, an expansive empire, have allied with someone in Machi to bring down the ruling house. Otah is accused, the long-missing brother with an all-too-obvious motive for murder.
In a society that celebrates the wholesale slaughter of the ruling family's sons, Otah Machi wishes only to live a life of quiet peace. But, because he is a son of the Khai he faces a life of decisions that only seem to hurt the people he loves.

I thought this was an interesting theme that Abraham spends a decent amount of time on. What happens when you try to do the right thing and it still ends up hurting loved-ones? It's a tough circumstance and gives Otah convincing motives for his actions.

As I mentioned earlier, A Betrayal in Winter is not quick-paced, but the plot moves at a good pace while providing interesting twists and turns. Plus, there's another love triangle, which worked well in the first book. :)

When Should You Read A Betrayal in Winter?

Read The Long Price when you want a well-written story that, while it may not keep you up late at night reading, it will keep you turning the pages. The characters and world-building are top-notch and well, everyone else is reading it. :)

Rating

4 out of 5 Stars (Loved it)

4 comments:

ediFanoB said...

Your good review reminded me that this book is on my shelf too. But this month (April) I planned to read nine Books. So no time for A BETRAYAL IN WINTER :(( Sigh!

Seak (Bryce L.) said...

Moved to May then? You gotta do it, great story here. Thanks Edi.

Jason Baki said...

First time I've heard of this one. Sounds interesting, thanks for bringing it to my attention with your great review :)

Seak (Bryce L.) said...

@Jason - Thanks, always happy to. :) Make sure to start with A Shadow in Summer, book 1 in the series. I just realized i wasn't at all clear about that.