Published: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Riyria Enterprises, LLC
Series: The Riyria Chronicles #4
Pages: 453 (Paperback)
My Rating: 4.5/5.0
A daughter vanishes. Two rogues are paid a fortune to find her. It isn’t enough.
When Gabriel Winter’s daughter mysteriously disappears and is presumed dead, the wealthy whiskey baron seeks revenge. Having lived in Colnora during the infamous Year of Fear, he hires the one man he knows can deliver a bloody retribution – the notorious Duster.
Ride with Royce and Hadrian as the cynical ex-assassin and idealistic ex-mercenary travel to a mysterious old-world city filled with nobles claiming descent from imperial aristocracy. Riyria’s job appears easy: discover what happened to the missing duchess and, if she lives, bring her home . . . if not, punish those responsible. But nothing is simple in the crowded, narrow, mist-filled streets of Rochelle, where more than one ancient legend lurks.
The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter both was and was not what I expected. As with all MJS books, I was thoroughly entertained from beginning to end and laughed out loud on many occasions and held back laughter on many more. The storytelling style and the character chemistry is superb once again, further justifying my love for all things Riyria. I’ve found the audiobook experience for each of these books, including this one, utterly engaging and Tim Gerard Reynolds is one of my very favorite narrators.
I think I’ve covered what I expected (and got), but what I didn’t expect is more related to the actual story. From the outset, I expected the titular Winter’s daughter to be a young, fair, newlywed noble lady… what I got was a lady in early middle years, who can throw a cask of whiskey, cut a sharp trade deal, who is also still a damsel in distress. Ginny Winter certainly didn’t sit idle while she was kidnapped (for that’s how she disappeared, obviously) but rather learned of her captors, and worked on her escape plan. As the synopsis so wonderfully covers, Royce and Hadrian are hired by her father, Gabriel Winter, to either find her or make the city of Rochelle know fear like to that felt by Colnorans during the Year of Fear.
I also didn’t quite expect this book to be the historical info-dump that it was. There was a great deal of additional information on the history of Elan, the city of Rochelle, the fall of the Novronian empire, dwarves, Myr, local myths. SO MUCH STUFF. It was inserted into the story in a way that didn’t feel like tripping over a rock and falling into a bottomless pit of infodump, but there was so much that it was still obvious. That’s really my only negative opinion about the book overall, and why I knocked off half a star but it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the story because it was a wild ride from beginning to end!
One of the central plot points in this book (other than the kidnapping) was the social and economic oppression of the dwarves, myr, and Calaians particularly in the city of Rochelle. These make up the destitute, downtrodden of the city and they’re tired of being forbidden to live, so the three groups form a loose coalition to push for change. This is quite understandable, but every revolutionary group has at least one bad egg that ruins everything. In this case, one person doesn’t want reform, but rather war and usurpation of the current ruling class. Throw in a bit of ancient tech/magic and a gathering of nobles and you’ve got a recipe for a classic fantasy disaster.
The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter was a fantastically entertaining read and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who will listen! You’re bound to love Royce and Hadrian just as I and so many other readers do. This book is currently not available from a traditional publisher, but is available on Audible and as a physical copy on the author’s website. I like these so much that I have both the audiobook and print copies!!