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eARC Review: The North Wind by Alexandria Warwick



Andromeda Press Release:  13 January 2022

S & S/Saga Release Date:  14 May 2024

Rating:  3.5/5

Synopsis:  Inspired by Beauty and the Beast and the myth of Hades and Persephone, this lush and enchanting enemies-to-lovers fantasy romance is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Jennifer L. Armentrout, and Scarlett St. Clair.


Wren of Edgewood is no stranger to suffering. With her parents gone, it’s Wren’s responsibility to ensure she and her sister survive the harsh and endless winter, but if the legends are to be believed, their home may not be safe for much longer.


For three hundred years, the land surrounding Edgewood has been encased in ice as the Shade, a magical barrier that protects the townsfolk from the Deadlands beyond, weakens. Only one thing can stop the Shade’s fall: the blood of a mortal woman bound in wedlock to the North Wind, a dangerous immortal whose heart is said to be as frigid as the land he rules. And the time has come to choose his bride.


When the North Wind sets his eyes on Wren’s sister, Wren will do anything to save her—even if it means sacrificing herself in the process. But mortal or not, Wren won’t go down without a fight…


The North Wind is a stand-alone, enemies-to-lovers slow-burn fantasy romance, the first in a series sprinkled with Greek mythology.

 

Review


I’ve had Warwick’s The North Wind and The West Wind on my shelves for about two years, and I’ve reasonably avoided reading it because I’m slightly off romantasy right now.  The genre of late churns out so many books that they all resemble one another quite closely and suffer from slapdashery.  I wish I could say differently for The North Wind, but alas, I cannot.  While not quite as vapid as other books in the genre, the plot closely resembles the events in Beauty and the Beast (the Disney version). Although a retelling does not necessarily make for an unentertaining book, it does if it too closely resembles the source material.  Despite its derivation and repetitive nature, I do quite like Wren and Boreas.  They grew on me (and each other—whoa), and I found myself rooting for them both by the third act.


My main ‘druther about The North Wind lies in how much it follows the plot of Beauty and the Beast.  “Inspired by” does not describe what goes on.  I could connect the scenes from the movie easily to The North Wind’s plot.  I also had a difficult time with the transitions from one scene to another, as the transitions were either nonexistent or one or two words.  Despite how quickly I paced through the book, the clunky transitions had me backtracking quite a bit and pulled me constantly out of the story.  It felt like the scenes were written ahead of time and then jammed together whether it worked or not.  Many times, it was not.


The characters, at least the main two, were pretty well developed.  Wren (though she closely resembles Feyre with her abject poverty, cabin in the woods, skill with bowhunting, and sister to take care of) displays more facets than most romantasy FMC’s, and she’s a grown person to boot.  She’s tough but not unreasonable, and she realizes that those she spent her life force taking care of were good-for-nothings and didn’t deserve it.  On the one hand, I love the honesty she gives to Boreas; on the other hand, much of the conflict resolution felt campy.  People only really say those things after hundreds of hours with a therapist and quite a lot of coaching to pinpoint exactly what they need to apologize for.  Anywho, I digress.


Boreas, though not my favorite main squeeze out of all the romances I’ve ever read, still possesses some nice qualities.  He has vulnerabilities that aren’t farfetched and doesn’t present as a completely narcissistic “alphahole.”  He has considerable baggage, and I’m pretty interested to see how things play out in the next installment of the series because his lovely brothers have some things they also need to work out.  I am intrigued for sure.


Overall, I’d give it a solid 3.5.  It wasn’t out of this galaxy remarkable, but I started it and finished it in one day, and it weighs in at over 550 pages in the edition I own.  Considering how difficult it is for me to stay focused when physically reading books lately, that’s certainly a feat.  


My thanks to S&S/Saga Press, Edelweiss, and Macmillan books for the eARC, for which I willingly give my own, honest opinion.


**For those who want to read but don’t like graphic sexual content, I have listed (hopefully) all of the chapters below as a heads up for those who skip those parts:


Chapter 22

Chapter 33, after the first scene break

Chapter 39


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