Red Winter by Annette Marie | Not feeling this one, may try audiobook

Posted June 6, 2019 by Sophia
16 Comments

Red Winter by Annette Marie | Not feeling this one, may try audiobook

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Red Winter by Annette Marie | Not feeling this one, may try audiobookRed Winter by Annette Marie
Red Winter #1
Other Books: Three Mages and a Margarita, Dark Arts and a Daiquiri, Two Witches and a Whiskey
Published by Dark Owl Fantasy Inc. on October 21, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Young Adult
Format: eBook
Source: Prime/Kindle Unlimited


Emi has spent her entire life hiding from the creatures that hunt her. The savage earth spirits are determined to kill her before she can become the living host of a goddess, so she stays hidden—until the day she saves the life of one of her hunters.

Shiro isn't the harmless fox spirit she thought he was. He's mysterious, cunning, unpredictable...and now hers to command. He's sworn to pay his debt to her, but he doesn't know who she is. If he finds out, he'll kill her.

But she can't send him away—not yet. Her future isn't what she thought. The lies surrounding her fate have begun to unravel, and she needs answers before time runs out—answers that lie in the spirit realm. Shiro can take her there...if she dares to trust him.

And only then will she find out how deep the gods' treachery runs.

Red Winter includes 10 full-page illustrations by award-winning artist Brittany Jackson.

Bookwyrms, I felt like I was heading toward a reading slump when I started Red Winter by Annette Marie because I wasn’t feeling the book at all.

After reading Three Mages and a Margarita and its sequel, Dark Arts and a Daiquiri, I was hoping I would have a new favorite author after reading Red Winter.

But alas, that is not the case, and Red Winter fell shorter than me attempting to get boxes at work without a step ladder. And you know you’re not in a reading slump when another book has given you a mindfuck for 12+ hours (I’m looking at you, This Mortal Coil).

We’re dragging with the action.

I tried my hardest to get through Red Winter. I swear I tried. But after nearly a month of consistently putting the book down and choosing 5+ other books, you know the book is not going to be finished. Thinking about it now while writing the review, Red Winter felt slow-paced. The amount of world-building, despite being intriguing, began to feel overpowering. There didn’t seem to be enough action to balance out the world-building, and while some don’t mind this at all, it’s not my type.

Much pity to Emi… but I’m sorry I don’t care.

There’s a lot of instances in the 36% of the book that I got through where we read the same thing in one variance or another. Chosen as a young girl to be the kamigakari, Emi is preparing herself for the descent and hosting of the goddess Amaterasu. Her life is essentially taken away from her as she is placed under many restrictions and shuffled from shrine to shrine to keep her safe. Red Winter is set two months before the descent when Emi is taken to another shrine.

We know early on that:

  • Being a host to the kamigakari is an honor.
  • No one likes the host because of much envy.
  • It’s an honor to have the host at the shrine.
  • Bodyguards all the time.
  • Can’t do this and can’t do that.
  • Kamigakari first, person second aka not exactly a person at all.

Which honestly sucks… except at a certain point with the slowness of the book, I didn’t care. I got very tired and there are other books that beckon and call for my eyeballs to peruse over.

Red Winter has gorgeous illustrations.

One of the best things I love about this novel is the gorgeous illustrations found in the novel. It’s the one thing I’m disappointed about because I would have loved to see how the illustrations correlate to the rest of the story. Unfortunately, that won’t happen. 😭

Maybe I’ll try the audio version?

I’m happy to say Hoopla and my local library has the audio version of Red Winter available which makes me thrilled. Sometimes the audio is a better version and I’m so hoping this will be the case with Red Winter when I get around to listening to it.

red winter annette marie

Sophia is a socially awkward Communications major who has a GIF for nearly everything and is frequently in a Hogwarts House Crisis. More of her bookish reviews can be found at The Arts STL.

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16 responses to “Red Winter by Annette Marie | Not feeling this one, may try audiobook

  1. I often find that slower books work better for me in audio, so maybe that will work for you. I enjoyed this book, but I definitely agree that there was a lot of worldbuilding! I’ve been tempted to buy these books for the pretty covers, and now that I know there are illustrations inside the book as well … I just might have to take the plunge!

    • Sophia

      Do it! They’re gorgeous and I absolutely love them. I’m hoping the audio will work for me – Laini Taylor for me writes slow books, and I seem to have better luck with her works, so I’m assuming (and hoping) Red Winter will go over well in audio format.

  2. oooof, it’s always so frustrating when you try another series by an author you’ve loved and it disappoints.

    this premise sounds interesting, I don’t mind slow pacing, and I love pretty pictures in books – so I might give this book a try myself. I hope the audiobook goes better for you!

    • Sophia

      Hahahaha, Emily Suvada takes the crown for that! Though at least it verified I’m not in a slump LOL. I’m hoping the audiobook will work out better too! (Also thank youuuuu.)

  3. The cover is gorgeous, and I love asian-inspired fantasies. I might give this book a try for these reasons – and because I’m curious about the illustrations inside of the novel. I have found that I enjoy some books better in audio. I hope that proves to be the case for you if you end up giving the audiobook of Red Winter a try!

    • Sophia

      I’ve found the same as well, at least in regards to first and second books, but hope it will be the case with Red Winter when I get around to it. Hope you’ll enjoy this when you read it (and I agree – the cover is amazing!).

  4. I’m sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy this one! I have found myself always looking at it on Amazon and debating picking it up, or at least borrowing it through Prime Reading. I love the idea of reading about a shrine maiden, as it has always been an interesting concept in video games but I don’t see often in books. I may still pick it up, but I’ll definitely keep the points you made before I do. Great review!

    • Sophia

      You’re right – it’s not often seen in books! If you have Prime, I don’t think there’s any harm in picking Red Winter up, especially if you don’t a book that primarily focuses on world-building.

  5. You know now that you mention it I remember that the first book was slow at first. I don’t think I got into it until around 50% but I had the second and third books burning a hole in my bag so I just got on with it. And if you weren’t intrigued by the fact Emi is a vessel for a god then this may not be the series for you… because its ALL about that TBH. ❤️ I hope you try again with the audiobook because it may get you through to a point where you start to care for Emi. Happy reading Sophia! Reading slumps are no joke.

    • Sophia

      OOF I’m glad I’m not alone with the slow beginning of the first book! That makes me feel better and more keen on trying again to see if I want to be truly invested in the series (and hopefully care more about Emi).