Can science and magic ever exist in harmony?
It was with that simple tagline, just eight simple words, that my interest in Everwinter was first kindled. It sounded like an interesting tale, and I was more than willing to give Elizabeth Baxter a chance to tell it. I had a hard time getting into it - in fact, several false starts kept it on my 'currently reading' list for far longer than I would have anticipated - but the investment of time and effort turned out to be worth it.
In terms of setting and world-building, Everwinter is glorious . . . and cold. Ral Tora is a city of science - a land of intellect, ingenuity, and invention. Chellin, on the other hand, is a city of religion - a land of faith, devotion, and following. Somewhere between the two lies the core story, part conflict and part compromise. It's not quite the adversarial confrontation of ideas that I expected, but Baxter develops it well, weaving a story that's fresh and original. I had some early concerns with Bram as a main character, but Baxter balances his scientific pragmatism with his honest optimism, lending the story a spirit of open-mindedness that's infectious.
The characters are interesting (if not spectacular), and the story's a little anachronistic in terms of dialogue, but overall the people strong enough to carry the plot. That's where the story truly shines, especially once the groundwork has been laid and the events are give free reign to race forward in the latter half of the book. It's fun, it's entertaining, and it's got more than a few surprises along the way. I would have liked some more physical detail, and I wish the opening chapters had been a bit better paced, but overall this was a fine effort that finished strong.
Published November 19th 2012 by Kindle Direct Publishing