Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell- Book review

I really enjoyed Winter’s Orbit by Evernia Maxwell ,  science fiction, space opera with intrigue, mystery, romance and the impact domestic abuse can have.

Genre: science fiction/romance

Source: My own book

While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.


I don’t generally read romance but occasionally I do like to read a genre book with a strong, romantic thread. I saw this book on another blogger’s Top Ten Tuesday and it fit the bill.

The romance isn’t too heavy and the main plotline is the mystery around Taam’s death the need to sign a treaty, so that Iskat isn’t thrown out of the resolution and what is going on with the Kingfisher project. I had to keep reading to find out more.

The world-building is good but familiar with good representation which is deftly woven into the story. Jainan and Kiem are the third points of view characters and it was easy to tell them apart without reading whose chapter it was. 

I liked Kiem voice, fun but thoughtful, a good counterpoint to the more serious and wounded Jainan. The romance between them is slow but realistic ( although the insta attraction is still there) and any steamy scenes are off-page.

The main difference between Winter’s orbit and the usual science-fiction or romance book is the description of the aftermath of domestic abuse. There are very few overt scenes in the book describing this but we know fairly soon that Jainan has been in an abusive relationship by his behaviour and his need not to upset anyone.

This seems to be a recurring theme with me at the moment but I seem to love the secondary characters more and I would have loved to spend more time with Kiem’s very efficient assistant Bel and the scatty but brilliant Professor Audel

Content warning

d Past descriptions of domestic abuse, cohesive control

Perfect for fans of 

Ancillary Justice ( but would have liked a little more romance) or anyone who likes science fiction romance.


Five stars-I enjoyed the mystery and the romance was just right- I will be keeping an eye out for more books by Everina Maxwell.

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