When one of the settlement leaders asks for her hand, she could wipe the slate clean, ridding herself and her family of the Stain of her grandma’s crimes. But there’s something out there in the woods…and it’s calling to her.
First Sentence: Out here, I can feel the dead in the trees.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
Winterkill, Winterkill, Winterkill. Oh, how I wanted to love you. When I first saw Winterkill‘s gorgeous cover, I needed it in my life asap. The cover just looked like a little Red Riding Hood retelling even though the summary of Winterkill says it’s anything but a little Red Riding Hood retelling. But who cares, the gorgeous cover could make me read anything it contained. Too bad in the end, I’m crying over the failed potential this gorgeous book had and how its summary lied to the world.
“Almighty!”…I’m not in any real danger; it’s not dusk for near three hours or more. But no good can come of taking His name in vain, alone in these woods. (ARC 1)
Honestly, Winterkill should come with a warning – it is a religious book disguised as a dystopian. In fact, I personally think that Winterkill can barely even be labelled as a dystopian. At least 75% of the book and world-building was about and revolved around the settlement’s religion. The Council (the people in charge of the settlement) gives Virtue Talks (it’s like going to church and listening to sermons), being “Wayward” (it’s another word for breaking the rules and being sinful) will get you punished, the characters talk about finding salvation, being gay is not okay and you need to hide it or you’re Wayward, when you are “Stained” (aka someone in your family line was Wayward and sentenced out to Crossroads to their death) people think you’re dirty and look down at you, committing adultery will sentence you to death in the Crossroads, the settlement’s God is called “Almighty,” when talking to one another in the settlement you call each other “Sister” and “Brother,” and I can just go on and on. It felt like I was reading the Bible while reading Winterkill, except Winterkill had different terms/vocabulary. Winterkill wasn’t preachy, but if I knew religion would play such a huge part in the book, I wouldn’t have read it at all since I’m not interested in books with such a huge focus on religion. I would go more in depth with this religion topic, but if I do, this review would be at least 1,000 words long and it’s long enough already.
Discovery is using the brains Almighty gave us to find ways to improve our lot – without risking everyone’s safety. (ARC 8)
Besides the religious aspect of the world-building, the rest of the world-building was confusing and lacks explanation. There isn’t any solid answers on how the settlement came to be the way it is, how they get the materials they need when the settlement locked themselves behind walls, how did the settlement build those said walls, and the “reveals” toward the end of the book made no sense along with many other unanswered questions. I don’t know if Kate A. Boorman will go more in depth about the world in the sequel (apparently this book will be in a trilogy), but all I know is that Winterkill is really lacking in world-building.
The plot wasn’t any better. It basically consists of Emmeline and the love triangle drama, Emmeline breaking the rules by leaving the settlement, seeing something, coming back to the settlement, Emmeline and the love triangle drama, breaking the rules by leaving the settlement, seeing something, coming back to the settlement, Emmeline and the love triangle drama, rinse and repeat, until it finally ended with a fight.
“Em,” he says. “I made a mistake. I thought I was protecting you.”
“And I want to protect you because…because I love you.” (ARC 220-221)
And yes, you read that right, Winterkill has a love triangle. For me, it is pretty obvious who Emmeline will end up with at the end, but that doesn’t change the fact that the love triangle is still there. An aspect in the romance that really annoyed me was the fact that the guy Emmeline really likes and always thinks about proclaims his love for her…yet they barely even know each other. You should have seen my shocked face when he told Emmeline, “I love you.” Like, whaa? When did this happen?
I also don’t even get why Winterkill is called Winterkill. Winter didn’t even arrive yet and the last chapter fast forward from the fall, which is the majority of the book, to the Thaw, aka the end of winter. So my question is, why on earth is this book titled “Winterkill?”
Also, according to the author’s website, this book will be a trilogy. Wait, what? Why? Winterkill ended perfectly as a standalone – why is it a trilogy? All I know is, no thank you. I won’t be reading the sequel after reading the mess that Winterkill was.
Overall, Winterkill is an extremely disappointing book. If I knew what kind of book it really was, I would have never requested it and read it the first place, even with that gorgeous cover.