In this debut novel, Prince Kiem—a famously disappointing minor royal—is commanded to renew the empire's bonds with its newest vassal planet by marrying Count Jainan, the recent widower of another royal prince of the empire whose death hides some secrets. Can Kiem and Jainan get past the awkward arranged marriage and come together to protect both of their worlds?
Everina Maxwell's Winter's Orbit did every single thing I expected it to do and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it ... The world and its politics are ably developed, but they are very much not the point. Jainan and Kiem’s relationship is spot-lit and center stage, every misstep and hesitation both building and delaying the reader’s satisfaction. I gulped the slow burn down, the lengthy and implausibly sustained misunderstandings ... One doesn’t fault a sonnet for having a rhyme scheme—and in a world so relentlessly uncertain, there’s a powerfully simple pleasure in the experience of a promise kept.
Queer romance, space opera, and political intrigue combine in Everina Maxwell’s 2021 novel, Winter’s Orbit for an immersive and sparkling adventure. Whether you’re here for the Star Trek fanfic vibes or the clever worldbuilding, Maxwell is sure to deliver—but it’s the combination of the two that makes Winter’s Orbit such a delight ... This romance does not come at the expense of fantastic worldbuilding. Winter’s Orbit has a deceptively simple premise that Maxwell cleverly spins out ... this gradual reveal of Winter’s Orbit’s staggeringly vast universe makes for delicious storytelling ... With fantastic side characters, sophisticated storytelling, and compelling readability—and even a hint of sexiness—Winter’s Orbit is not to be missed.
... an interesting history ... a very promising debut. Its characters are engaging and believable: not just Kiem and Jainan, but secondary figures ... Maxwell is deft at dropping hints about the wider world and political scene, so that even though the emotional core of this story is domestic, the bigger picture never quite fades from view. And there’s space in that bigger picture for plenty more stories ... Well-paced and deftly written, it’s one of the most enjoyable space (or planetary) opera romances that I’ve had the pleasure to read, and I look forward to seeing more of Maxwell’s work in the years to come.