Title: The Winter Prince
Author: R. Cooper
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 24, 2016
Genre(s): Fairy Tale/Fantasy
Page Count: 147
Reviewed by: Vallie
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.8 stars out of 5
His heart stolen by a powerful pari’s magic, a young prince’s veins slowly fill with ice. That is what the stories say. Three years have passed since, and all efforts to save Kisin have failed. He won’t survive another winter. To save the prince’s life, Razin, the court wizard and Kisin’s childhood friend, plans to seek out the pari. But unbeknownst to Razin, Kisin’s heart was never stolen; he gave it freely to escape the pain of impossible love—his love for Razin.
Razin won’t accept Kisin’s fate, for reasons obvious to anyone who knows anything of love. Kisin agrees to the desperate quest, out of duty and a need to protect Razin. But it isn’t long before Razin realizes saving his prince will require more than simply retrieving his heart. Razin will have to convince him to want it..
If you can help it, don’t read the blurb. It actually contains a few spoilers that I could have done without.
This is a story about prince Kisin who gave his heart away because he couldn’t handle the pain of loving someone else and assuming that his love wouldn’t be reciprocated. Razin, a powerful wizard who grew up with Kisin, is the love interest that could. Razin loved Kisin but never realized Kisin felt the same way. You see how a classic story of misunderstandings and miscommunication is set to go? Kisin started literally freezing to death without his heart and Razin decided they would embark on a mission to claim the heart back.
There is a lot of adventure in this story –battles with mythical creatures, a lioness who joins their group and protects them fiercely, life lessons, all things fairy tale, and amazing nature descriptions. But it got tiresome. Almost every chapter began with a temperature/weather update because of the harsh climate the group was travelling in, and a lot of page time was devoted on conversations between the secondary characters and the main characters. I longed to see more private interaction between Razin and Kisin because their characters were full of unexplored potential. Razin was fearless, especially when it came to Kisin, very sarcastic, but full of compassion and wit. Kisin was a very self-deprecating character who could have used a boost in my opinion, but what with his arc being that he’s slowly freezing and feeling less and less, I could accept that his contributions were brief and superficial.
When Razin and Kisin finally admitted their feelings toward one another,–a moment I had been waiting for for the majority of the book by the way- I was very underwhelmed. It was just so anticlimactic, not even a private conversation, and I couldn’t get into the scene because I was left wondering “so everyone else is watching them right now?! What?”
Similarly, the resolution to the prince’s salvation was somewhat what I was expecting but very subdued. I wanted explosions and passion. There were a couple of sex scenes that failed to impress or convey the depth of emotion the two main characters harbored for one another, based on what they did for each other, anyway.
The writing was good but I wondered a few times whether the focus of the story was the romance or the fairy tale adventures of those antiheroes grouped together by fate. The ending disappointed me because there wasn’t a clear cut HEA in my opinion.
If you enjoy fantasy novels with a strong fairy tale flair without being too fussed about the romance, you’ll probably enjoy this more than I did, so give it a go.