Winterkeep (Graceling Realm #4) by Kristin Cashore

‘Giddon was carrying a sleeping child through a rocky tunnel when he got his first clue that something was wrong in Winterkeep.’

It has been seven years since I read the third book in this series, and I was very keen to read this one. ‘Winterkeep’ opens five years after ‘Bitterblue’ ends, and the known world has expanded. Torla, northeast of The Dells, is where Winterkeep is located. While there has been contact between the Royal Continent and Torla, the mysterious disappearance of two of Bitterblue’s men on a mission there has Bitterblue and others travelling to Winterkeep.

Welcome into a fantastical world where the story will unfold through five different perspectives: Bitterblue, Lovisa Cavenda, Giddon, a telepathic fox bonded to Lovisa’s mother Ferla, and a mysterious sea creature. Welcome to a world, both similar and dissimilar to our own. The people may be different in some ways but many of the issues are the same.

I found Lovisa intriguing: observant and manipulative, both caring and dismissive. She has an important role to play in this story and I grew to like her well before the end of the book. And Bitterblue? She has challenges to face and grows as a consequence. I also enjoyed the magic of the silbercows and the telepathic foxes. Alas, it all ended too soon, and I had to return to (my) real world.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith