Blood Winter Mass Market Paperback – Dec 26 2012
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"Maximum attitude, maximum action. Who can deliver on all that and more? Max to the max, that's who." --Rob Thurman, New York Times bestselling author of All Seeing Eye
About the Author
Diana Pharaoh Francis has written the fantasy novel trilogy that includes Path of Fate, Path of Honor and Path of Blood. Visit DianaPFrancis.com or follow her @dianapfrancis.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Blood Winter is the latest and final (according to author's interview) book in the Horngate Witches series, centering on Max and her covenstead ,Horngate. The book takes place 4-5 weeks after Max survived a challenge against the Korvads in Chadaré, and arrives safely home to Horngate following the completion of Scooter's request. Things in Missoula are getting worst and worst with food shortage, and people scrounging for whatever they can find. With the Magic in the air already creating havoc, a preacher who says he's the right hand of god is stirring up trouble by creating a following to condemn all witches, demons, or just about anyone who isn't with him. What the Earth's Last stand cult doesn't know is that their leader is a witch himself, and he's targeting Horngate.
Max and the gang are all back, and like the first book everything takes place at Horngate/Missoula. No more leaving to another state or another dimension like the other books. Francis does an amazing job at creating another emotional-action packed novel that will have you flipping nonstop till the end. Max definitely has a lot on her mind this time around, still grieving over the deaths of ---, her relationship with Alexander, and the Earth's Last stand cult. The pacing of the book was on the dot as usual, there's never a dull moment in the book, and the author packs an emotional punch in every scene. While the majority of the book was well-done/written, there were two things that bothered me in this book; Max and Alexander's relationship and the story/plot. After the ending of Shadow City, I thought Max knew what she wanted, Alexander.
In Blood Winter, Max and Alexander are together but not really official. Max would show her affection for Alexander in private, but brushes him off/gives him the cold shoulder when in front of the other blades/sun-spears. Max constantly questions herself for treating Alexander the way she does, but doesn't fix it till near the end of the book. At one point in the book Alexander gives Max the same treatment she gives him, and she gets really butt-hurt and puts on a front that she doesn't care. I just wished they talked about their feelings to one another instead of just waiting around till someone makes the next move. I also found the story plot line not that interesting (Sterling and his cult) but towards last couple of chapters things started moving forward, and the real reason behind the attacks are revealed which made up for the previous half of the book's problem (my frustration with Max and Alexander's relationship).
Overall it was a good read, but it didn't meet my expectation. While this is the final book in the series, I felt like there were still unanswered questions (or at least questions I had). For example, where did the Salamanders/Grims go? What happened to the angels Tutresiels and Xaphan? Regardless of it being my least favorite of the series, it is still one of the best urban fantasy series I have ever read. I highly recommend this series and if you plan on starting it, it is best to start at the beginning with Bitter Night. This is a unique urban fantasy with a complex world and realistic characters that build on top of one another and readers will be missing a lot if books are read out of order. Hopefully this will not be the last of this world and characters; Francis says she might one day visit this world again whether it be short stories or novellas. With all four books already available, it might be a good time to check this series out now...you won't have to wait a year between books like I had to!
I enjoyed the idea of the mad preacher going in. The apocalyptic setting is an interesting backdrop and i was glad for the chance to view life at horngate. Especially for a group of warriors that need thousands of calories a day to function during a food shortage. Max continues to be a badass with style. But the angst between Max and Alexander has reached the point of contrived repetitiveness. Our view of horngate and its inhabitants turned out to be minimal. The action jumps from point to point with very little connection. I just wanted more from it.
Unfortunately the author revealed in an interview that this is the last of the Horngate books. Its hard to be specific without revealing to much, but it leaves a number of plot points dangling with little or no meaning. It seems as though some items or companions were introduced in previous books that were leading somewhere, and yet here they just petered out or disappeared into a giant crack in the universe. In fact, it seemed to me that the author originally had an overall plan for this universe and was building up to something big, but just fell short.
Perhaps she just became bored with it and decided to throw in the towel rather than keep plugging away at something she wasn't passionate about. Maybe the story ended up going in a different direction than she originally intended. Or maybe this was her intent all along and I simply misread what she was working on. Regardless I am left with a sense of lingering disappointment at this "climax" to what started out as such a promising series.
"The Lord of Heaven and Earth bids us not suffer a witch to live," the man declared in a singsong cadence. "We must not suffer evil in our midst, or we will become evil; we will defile our Lord's name by our very existence. We must do His work, no matter the cost. He sacrificed His only son for us; we must be willing to sacrifice no less for Him!"
Someone claiming to be the right hand of God is threatening Horngate and the surrounding communities. They've managed to bypass Horngate's wards and have made their intentions clear. What the "preacher" doesn't say is the bible also warns to beware of false prophets, which the man wearing sandals and a long beige cotton robe belted with a rope clearly is. In fact, the "prophet" himself is a witch for otherwise he and his followers would never have been able to breach the wards which protect Horngate from outsiders.
Additionally, Divine creatures, some of which were thought to be extinct, are popping up all over the surrounding areas. If all that is going on can be attributed to the witch claiming to be a prophet of God, then he is a powerful witch indeed. It may take all or more power than Giselle and her coven possess to overcome this enemy. With the previous attack still fresh in her memory, Max vows, "No one--no one--was going to get away with attacking her home again. She didn't care what she had to do to protect it and the people within. This was her home, her family. She'd kill anyone who threatened them."
This is the fourth book in the Horngate Witches series. Because there is so much to the Horngate series' world, I highly recommend you read the previous books to the series. While some may be able to pick up enough without reading the previous stories, I feel you'd cheat yourself out of the whole experience the series has to offer by doing so. I was first introduced to this series a year ago by the publisher, and when they told me they had copies of Blood Winter available for review, I immediately put in a request for one. Ms. Francis never fails to entertain me with this series.
While the name implies the books focus on witches, Max, a Prime Shadowblade, is the primary focus of the series. Shadowblades are individuals who were once human but have been magically altered by a witch to never age, be physically stronger and faster, and to have the ability to heal from just about any injury. In trade, they are unable to disobey the witch who created them, are no longer able to have children, and cannot venture out into sunlight. Additionally, they originally needed to leave their friends and loved ones along with their old lives behind. A witch is supposed to get permission from the individual they turn and, while technically Giselle did ask, she'd gotten Max drunk and the question was posed more as a hypothetical one than a true question. For thirty years after her transition, Max had hated Giselle, her one time best friend, for what she'd done and what she'd taken from her. When the Guardians, however, unleashed the flood of magic back into the world, Giselle allowed Max to save her family and bring them back to Horngate to keep them safe. Since then, she no longer hates, but neither does she like Giselle, and she's come to terms with what she is, a Shadowblade.
In Blood Winter, a so called religious sect called Earth's Last Stand is displaying cult like behavior and being lead by a witch claiming to be a "prophet" of the Lord. The group is bringing murder, mayhem and corruption to Missoula and threatening Horngate. The man in charge, Benjamin Sterling, seems to have no problem killing and torturing witches and humans alike under the guise of the Lord's will. While sometimes bringing a religious angle into a series can be a poor move on the part of an author, I felt it fit in nicely with what is going on in the world Ms. Frances has created. With a magical apocalypse taking place, it seems almost natural for a magical entity to attempt to gain power using religion to mask their evil doings. Desperate times tend to blur the lines between what some people will consider acceptable behavior, especially when survival becomes their utmost goal. People will follow whoever can offer them the best chance at survival, which can force them to follow the wrong person or people. To defeat this enemy, Max will have to use both her might and brains to rescue herself and others and not everyone will come out of this one alive.
Besides trying to save Horngate and the surrounding areas, Max's personal life is in disarray. Alexander senses Max is holding back emotionally from their relationship and wants her to break down the barriers between them. Considering her last relationship, which incidentally was thirty years ago, left a lot to be desired, she's not sure how. She's guarded her emotions for so long, she seems to know no other way.
Why is the book called Blood Winter? Well, I believe it's because the book takes place in winter and there are so many lives lost that the author chose to name it Blood Winter. A winter so bloody with death, no other name would do.
Overall, I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses. Plenty of monsters, drama, action, close calls, and seemingly impossible situations. There is a major twist in this one which I didn't see coming and enjoyed watching unfold. I highly recommend the book and the series. I love Ms. Francis' imagination and always look forward to seeing what she'll have up her sleeve for her next book. If your looking for a roller coaster read with characters you can relate and bond with, you may wish to give this series a try. This series definitely ranks among my favorites. I'm forgoing the romance rating because while there is a touch romance going on, I don't feel justified in calling it or rating it as a romance. Romance is not the central focus of the series and, for the majority of the story, the two seemed to be trying to define and solidify their relationship. So while there was a little bookie nookie at the beginning, I felt it was just used as a means of providing us a view into the dynamics of Max's and Alexander's relationship.
I continue to devour this series, my only disappointment being that there this was the last book in the series.The story is far from over IMHO and I won’t lie, I’m VERY upset that it’s over! In all seriousness, I think this may be the main reason I can’t give Blood Winter 5 stars – it’s not a satisfactory ending to a series, as much as I loved every minute of it.
In Blood Winter Max, Alexander, Kyle, Tory, and Carrie are preparing to go into town to see how the townsfolk have been dealing with the Change when disaster strikes. An unknown witch has gathered followers around him, making himself into the next Jesus – but his self-proclaimed work as “the right arm of God” is to wipe out the evil among them, namely Witches and those who consort with them. He brings his mission to Horngate’s doorstep – passing through their wards with four “witches” nailed up to burn. Of course Max and her crew resolve that something must be done about the unspeakable horrors he’s perpetrating against the helpless, but the more they work to defeat him the more powerful they realize he is and the more hopeless the situation seems. The Angel’s are still out and the Grimms (and Spike) take off, leaving the Coven ill equipped to fight without losing more of their family. Not to mention their still reeling from the loss of Niko. All the stress threatens to tear Max, Alexander, Tyler, Thor, Giselle, and the entire coven apart.
Like the rest of the series, Blood Winter was non-stop action, complete with painful descriptions of every horrible blow Max, Alexander and the rest of the crew took. For me, Blood Winter surpassed the others in the added element of mystery. Who was this preacher-dude and what hope did they have to defeat him? There were so many twists and I really never knew what was going to happen next, keeping me perpetually on my toes. Diana does an amazing job of capturing the feelings of despair that Max and really everyone were feeling and I definitely had a few teary eye moments. And watching this haphazard family come together at such a depressed moment to fight was arm-tingly, goosebumpy at times. Did I mention I loved this book?
A really wonderful read. Diana Pharaoh Francis continues to weave incredibly unique fantasy with heart-wrenching and painful detail. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for deals on any other books she’s written for sure!
*This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.*