Author: Sally Wiener Grotta
Publisher: Pixel Hall Press
Publication Date: November 6, 2014
Number of Pages: 508
How I Got It: contacted by publicist
Reminiscent of Margaret Atwood, Mary Doria Russell and Ursula K. LeGuin, "The Winter Boy" explores important political and social issues within a dynamic, character-driven otherworld. The Valley of the Alleshi is the center of all civilization, the core and foundation of centuries of peace. A cloistered society of widows, the Alleshi, has forged a peace by mentoring young men who will one day become the leaders of the land. Each boy is paired with a single Allesha for a season of intimacy and learning, using time-honored methods that include storytelling, reason and sex. However, unknown to all but a hidden few, the peace is fracturing from pressures within and beyond, hacking at the very essence of their civilization. Amidst this gathering political maelstrom, Rishana, a young new idealistic Allesha, takes her First Boy, Ryl, for a winter season of training. But Ryl is a “problem boy,” who fights Rishana every step of the way. At the same time, Rishana uncovers secrets and conspiracies that could not only destroy Ryl, but threaten to tear their entire society apart. And a winter that should have been a gentle, quiet season becomes one of conflict, anger and danger.
My Review:What a great read! I was excited about this book as soon as I was contacted to review it. I was drawn in as soon as I started reading the story but was worried that 500+ pages would cause me to lose interest somewhere along the way. That was not the case. It is hard to describe this book because I haven't really read anything like it. This is a book that is difficult to fit into a single genre but I will try. The setting is not dystopian nor post-apocolyptic but occurs in a time after The Great Chaos. The village is modern yet rustic, (there is a library and upholstered furniture but no technology.) I got a feeling of "The Lord of the Rings" in that there are other villages, journeys, and deeper lessons in every action, but this novel contained no magic or fantasy creatures. There are sex lessons but this is not erotica. The story is a feminine retelling of warrior training stories. Where other such stories focus on physical strength, brutality, pain, and imminent battle, this story tells of young men being trained to maintain The Peace by being taught to honor other tribes, to read someone by their body language, use their intelligence, and resort to combat as a final option in defense of their villages. I'm pleased to hear that the author is currently working on another book to accompany this one that will tell the story from a handful of other characters' points of view.
Read an excerpt and get more info about The Winter Boy here
** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **