Winter Warriors has that essential element that keeps me coming back to David’s books over and over again. I was tired, visiting my parents-in-law, and going to bed. It was around 11pm, and I thought I’d read a couple of pages, since I wasn’t really in the mood to read too much.
At 4am, I put the book down, finished, every page read. It’s an indescribable element of David’s work – that must continue reading quality that I really miss in other authors like Goodkind, Jordan, Martin, etc. Oh I enjoy the books they write, but I can pause for weeks between chapters and not really feel like I’m missing out. Winter Warriors on the other hand, I just *had* to finish, I needed to get to the end.
Emotional, passionate, thoughtful, insightful, and carrying those things along,
a story about heroes and heroism. Someone recently mentioned that it didn’t feel like a Drenai novel to them – too much magic. For me, Winter Warriors has all the core Drenai elements. People sticking to their guns, come hell or high water, doing the right thing, painful as it might be. To me, that’s the Drenai nation in one.
The story is intriguing, and all the more interesting for the high magic content, the characters are colourful, interesting, three-dimensional. Some might argue we have stereotypical characters here, the mighty and swift killer, the huge bear-like swordsman, the reserved thoughtful archer. Yet, each of those characters brings something new. To give one example, our ignorant, abusive, huge obnoxious warrior, also delivers a baby half-way through the story. David uses those extra details to flesh out the cliches we want, demand and love.
I felt the ending given by the ‘good’ demon was somewhat obvious perhaps, although I do wonder if that was the point – that the ‘bad’ demon was so engulfed in selfish revenge that he could never consider his brother being so selfless. There were many excellent highlights during the book, the relationship between the young lad and the archer is excellent.
The surprise with the amulet at the end is a nice touch, and Antikos comes through to prove that you can change the nature of man! All-in-all, an excellent story, bringing some of David’s favourite themes together, possession, age, usefulness, revenge, good vs evil and what is evil, and lumping them in with more demons than you can shake a stick at.
We also had a very short siege to keep those folk happy!
(This review was written sometime in the late 90’s for the original Gemmell Mania website)