H. M. Long: Barrow of Winter (2023, Titan Books Limited) 5 stars

Thrilling epic fantasy adventures set in the world of HALL OF SMOKE and TEMPLE OF …

My Review of Barrow of Winter

5 stars

Having loved the original duology, I started this book excited to continue the series, but quickly found myself missing the familiarity of Hessa and the characters in her orbit. There was nothing wrong with Thray or any of the characters introduced with her, but I started Barrow of Winter coming off of the high of the previous two books in the The Four Pillars series, and there was definitely an adjustment period. Once I remembered that change is good, I quickly found myself immersed in Thray's journey for answers. I loved the many callbacks to the first two books, and how those characters and events were woven into Barrow of Winter.

Thray is a woman being pulled in different directions by the two sides of her that make her who she is. There's the Eangen side that she's lived among all of her life, and then the Winterborn, who show up unannounced with promises that they can prove to Thray whether or not she's immortal like them. Surprises abound as she travels north to the Winterborn's home of Duamel, where there is a never-ending winter darkness.

Like her aunt Hessa in the previous novels, Thray undergoes a ton of growth in a relatively short period of time, going from a powerful Eangen warrior to something much more. I'm very interested to see how powerful Thray is in the next book, as she finishes this one already quite formidable. The story is a rollercoaster of action and intrigue, and Long does a great job with pacing and making Barrow of Winter an interesting read from start to finish.

I really enjoyed this book and hate that I have to wait a year for the release of the fourth book. Pillar of Ash is my most anticipated book of 2024 at this point, and I would highly recommend fantasy fans read Barrow of Winter and the previous novels before its release.