Wynter is a man who is struggling with the loss of first his parents to a Frost Giant and more recently, his younger brother who was killed by the Prince of Summerlea. To exact revenge for losing the only family he had left, he drank the waters of the Ice King. This gave him the powers necessary to defeat the Summerlea kingdom. After his victory, Wynter demands that Verdon (the former king of Summerlea) give him one of his beloved daughters to become his queen. Wynter is struggling to keep his humanity from the power he acquired and tries to maintain a shield around his heart to protect himself. I didn't particularly like Wynter at first, but his honor and later humility won me over.
Khamsin is the fourth princess of Summerlea that most people don’t even know exists. Because her magical abilities caused the death of her mother, Verdon has hated her for as long as she can remember. Verdon finds a solution to both of his problems by tricking the Winter King into marrying the daughter he despises instead of one of his beloved “Seasons” (his three older cherished daughters: Summer, Spring, and Autumn.) Khamsin matches Wynter’s stubbornness with a healthy dose of her own and refuses to let anyone see her weak. I loved Khamsin from the start! She was entertaining and her need to be loved and wanted had me rooting for her.
There is an instant attraction between Wynter and Khamsin. Their arranged marriage leads to quite a lot of intimate scenes starting very early in the book. I was very happy, though, that the two didn't ever claim love at first sight. Those types of stories are harder for me to accept and believe. The growth of their love is full of distrust and struggles that are right on point with their circumstances. I found their love story to be enchanting, beautiful, and minimally irritating.
The need for love and lack of family really brings Khamsin and Wynter together. They needed each other. The love story tied in amazingly with the fantasy plot. So well in fact, that I can’t really call either the behind-the-scenes story. The fantasy needed the love story, and the love story wouldn't have been near as good without the evil they had to fight together. There is a great magic system though it isn't the most unique by any means. The world was described in great detail which was wonderful. It definitely wasn't overdone like many fantasy books tend to do.
I loved this book because of its strong romance and strong fantasy. It definitely represents both genres individually and together very well. I wasn't bored at any time. This was my first read by C.L. Wilson, and I think she is a very talented writer who didn't disappoint me. I am looking forward to the release of the sequel, The Sea King.