The Winter Road by Adrian Selby

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Rating 9.3/10
The Winter Road is a luminous tale. Vivid and powerful, gritty and emotional. It’s astounding that this is only Selby’s second novel.

“He falls and I get down on his chest and my good hand seeks his face, shoving it into the earth to stop its writhing, drive my one good thumb through an eye far as it’ll go. A shout behind me, I twist to jump clear but the spear goes through me. Out my front it comes, clean out of my guts.”

Oh, my heart.

This is one of those books that I held to my chest while tears poured down my face once I had finished. It was such a beautifully brutal story. I was both emotionally exhausted and physically drained when I was done, as though I were knifed and had my guts spilled all over the floor. The Winter Road was the exact-right book at the exact-right moment for me. I was left completely and utterly smitten!

The story takes place primarily set against the backdrop of a savage forest, known as The Circle, which spans a thousand miles. It focuses on the irrepressible clan wars that take part throughout this wilderness, which one woman wants to overcome. Teyr Amondsen, a former mercenary, is on a mission to lead a rag-tag crew of mercenaries in a merchant caravan across these dense forests. She wants to build roads and other outposts, which will aid in uniting them all and producing a more prosperous land.

The Winter Road was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and I have to say that I was astonished by this story. It’s a masterful work of art! Adrian Selby has written a fully-realized standalone saga that is crackling with energy.

Much like life, it was achingly bittersweet.

“There’s a stillness only snow makes with the air, brings a hush. It falls on the trees above me.”

Teyr is one of the most remarkable characters I’ve ever read. These are the type of characters that matter that will leave a lasting impact on a readers soul. Within a few pages into the narrative, I knew that she was going to become one of my favourite characters ever! She’s this gloriously flawed badass with a big heart. Well-rounded, passionate, intelligent, ambitious, broken, hopeful. She has faced incredible obstacles throughout her life and she has made mistakes. She is just, well, she’s everything I adore in a character and more. I love her so freaking much!

The Winter Road is a luminous tale. Vivid and powerful, gritty and emotional. It’s astounding that this is only Selby’s second novel. The world he has created within a thousand miles of claustrophobic forest is vast and immersive.

Truly, this book is made of magic.

(Massive thanks to Orbit Books for sending me a copy in advance to flail over!)

The review was originally posted here on The Grimdragon when The Winter Road was released on November 13th 2018. 

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