Read-along: Winter’s Orbit – week three

Welcome back to the SciFiMonth read-along of Everina Maxwell’s space opera Winter’s Orbit. Last week it became clear that our cinnamon roll newlyweds were surrounded by deadly secrets but make a pretty good team when they work together. But will they be permitted to stay together? Let’s talk chapters sixteen through twenty-two!

This week, Ariana of The Book Nook has set our questions for discussion. Beware spoilers!

Just over halfway through the book and it finally happened! Our boys actually communicated, and all of us that have been yelling at them to just kiss already have finally been rewarded! Thoughts? Reactions? How do you see the relationship progressing now?

FINALLY. I spent the first couple of chapters sinking into eye-rolling frustration as my romance trope patience ran out, but thankfully we are past that and can crack on. However, I appreciated that acknowledging – and acting on – their mutual attraction didn’t completely clear the air or fix all their issues (sex is not a universal band-aid, thank you). I enjoyed the tender concern and growing confidence of the day after; but also that Jainan still has a lot to work through. I think he can though – and I think Kiem has the patience and generosity to support him through it.

Iskat doesn’t seem to be the friendlies environment: the constant cold, the savage birdlife, and not to mention the “bear” that Kiem and Jainan encounter in the wilderness – are you enjoying the world building? Anything you’d like to see more of?

I like that it’s incidental, but considered – there’s a throwaway reference to how this region (latitude) of Iskat is so cold; and I’m taking from that that other regions may not be. Sure, distance from your local sun may create ice worlds or desert worlds, but I’m always pleased when inhabited fictional planets have a range of geographical and climatic features (side-eyeing you, Star Wars). I’m also enjoying that shared words don’t mean shared concepts or wildlife – the planets are distinct.

It does still feel like tinsel or sets though – I don’t have a sense of how it all hangs together. To be honest, this is one of those reads where I don’t particularly mind – it’s not relevant to the story, and I don’t need to see more. There’s just enough hand-waving to let me believe there is more, and that will do. I’d rather explore the rest of the Resolution than dive into the minutiae of Iskaran or Thean urban environments or economics…

Chapter 21 in particular bombarded us with revelations, most prominent among them the Revoked Status of all treaty representatives and the Auditor’s discovery that the remnants presented are fake. Who do you think is responsible, and what might they have planned to be messing with the Resolution like this? 

There was much yelping! I had not considered fake remnants in all my conspiracies, and I love it. I totally have my eye on General Fenrik here: I don’t think Taam acted alone – the conspiracy is too big – and I’m not sure what’s going on, but a broader military conspiracy seems likely. I don’t think Lunver is in on it though; and I am VERY curious about her sudden memory loss – has she been nobbled? Or was someone else on that flight and have we got doppelgangers in play?

I hate to say it, but I’m increasingly wary of my beloved Bel who is just so talented and who worked so hard to get herself assigned to Kiem and who has such a good reason for having to disappear as everything kicks off. She’s totally somebody’s agent; I just hope she’ll come through as the sort of protective agent who does actually have our boys’ best interests at heart.

And what is the Professor really up to? I am entirely unsurprised that Kiem (foolish, impulsive, curious Kiem) worked with her to hack the refinery (I do not think Internal Security or the Emperor will be cool about this or give him a pass because imperial, so he better hope they’re not in on the conspiracy and will be forgiving to a whistleblower), but I don’t quite know where all this is leading. I don’t really think Professor Audel is to blame for any of it though – I’m just not sure what her angle is.

I also have the suspicion that our conspirators are making the terrible mistake of not taking the Resolution seriously enough – unless (oh my brain is just firing off in every direction now) they either have a secret alliance with one of the big players; or are planning to blow up the gate and cut Iskaran space off from the Resolution. My bleak and extreme fears brought to you by someone rereading The Expanse and being exhausted all over again by the depths of self-interest plumbed by so many of its villains.

What do you think Kiem is going to do with the information he’s found about Jainan and Taam? How do you feel about it, for that matter?

This was pretty much exactly what I expected. Poor Jainan. I hope he and Kiem get the chance to be good to each other.

What do you make of Jainan’s encounter with the Auditor and his explanations on Galactic politics?

While the broader Galactic context was pretty much as expected from what we’d heard previously, there was actual screaming at the Auditor’s offer – I didn’t see that coming. There are so many ways things can unfold from here – I can’t wait to dive back in and see what Everina Maxwell has in store for us.

Thoughts from around the Empire

But wait, this is a read-along – what did everybody else have to say?

Links will be added once they go live.

Don’t see your blog here? I may have missed you are joining us – add your post to the SciFiMonth master schedule and I’ll pick it up and include you here!

Reading Schedule

Everyone is free to read at their own pace, but we have set chapters to discuss each week. If you don’t have a blog, you can join the discussion via the comments on the week’s host blog or the Goodreads topic (always use spoiler tags), or start a Twitter thread and tag us in. Wherever you post, please avoid spoilers for future weeks if you read ahead (or have read it before).

  • Week 1: Beginning through Chapter Six – hosted by Lisa @ Dear Geek Place
  • Week 2: Chapter Seven – Fifteen – hosted here @ There’s Always Room For One More
  • Week 3: Chapter Sixteen – Twenty-two – hosted by Ariana @ The Quaint Book Nook
  • Week 4: Chapter Twenty-three to the end – hosted by Lisa @ Dear Geek Place

Discussion prompts are posted by the host midweek each week. You can respond any day that suits you – just add your link to the SciFiMonth master schedule.