In our present day, we have little free time for reading a book. Many Fantasy books are over four hundred pages long. So, finding something short and quick to read is difficult. The Winter Queen by Devin Cary fits such time constraints. It is a shorter book, making for a fast read and it is very entertaining. The book's plot, characters and magical system adds to the intrigue, action and adventure.
The king has died naming his wife Elissa as regent to the kingdom until their son comes of age. Elissa faces a hard challenge because women are believed to be unfit to rule. She must meet the struggle with every resource at her hand. No one knows that she possesses magic. It's that talent and her intelligence she must learn to use in order to protect her son. Elissa does have the help of Geoffrey, the lord marshal and her husband's best friend. Sometimes that isn't enough. There are court intrigues going on as well as a threat from a rival kingdom. The author handles the story deftly with a swift moving plot and lots of action.
Characters add a sympathetic touch to this book. Elissa grows from a desperate, frightened woman to a strong, sword wielding queen. The lord marshal Geoffrey is a loyal friend who stands by her despite her mistakes. He has a growing love for Elissa, but has a sickly wife that he loves too. The villains include the king's cousin Randall and an ambitious church leader that try to find ways to discredit Elissa. The characters provide the plot good people to move along at a brisk pace.
Mr. Cary's magical system gives the book some intriguing complications. Elissa lives in a kingdom that abhors magic. The magic of her people seems to be some kind of psychic abilities though it doesn't play a big role until near the end. Among her people, the women have the magic and the men are the teachers. Elissa discovers a different talent involving shadow turning. Unfortunately, though it helps her, this magic has a price.
Plot, characters and magic combine to make The Winter Queen by Devin Cary an exciting fast read. The book can be read quickly and doesn't have a lot of complicated things going on like longer Epic Fantasies. This book leaves a few loose ends, which promises a possible sequel. I look forward to the further adventures of Elissa, Geoffrey and her son. Readers will too.