Read-along: Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell (week 4)

Winter's Orbit a SciFi Month read-along

After the revelations of last week everything has moved pretty fast in this final quarter of the SciFiMonth read-along and the Empire looks very different now. More importantly, Kiem and Jainan have finally worked each other out and have an exciting future ahead of them, both personally and politically.

So without further ado, let’s tackle Lisa’s prompts for the concluding chapters of Winter’s Orbit.




Week 4: Chapter 23 through to end

We learn the truth of who was behind the fake remnants, the Kingfisher thefts, and Taam’s murder… What did you make of Aren Saffer’s motivations? Surprising, or not?

I was beginning to form some suspicions about Aren’s involvement with Taam’s scheme, but I didn’t quite piece it all together and I am appalled at the lengths he was prepared to go to cover his worthless arse. So yeah, mostly surprised, with a little bit of a groan and a forehead-slap for not seeing it sooner.

As for Aren’s motivations (lowlife) I think I’m just terribly disappointed in him. That the military, as represented by General (scumbag) Fenrik wanted to start a war with Thea is bad enough, but that this greedy little floater was skimming money as well just takes the biscuit. That it all comes down to one person’s greed is just so … typical and frustrating and infuriating.

Aside: Was I the only one who laughed out loud when Gairad asked what a kingfisher was and Kiem delivered that description? Hilarious! (Especially as I was wondering why a military operation would be named after what I understood to be a small iridescent bird in the order Coraciiformes).


So. On a scale of 1 to PROTECT, how did you feel about Jainan’s ordeal and his conversation with Kiem?

My poor heart is wrung out! Everything that we saw within the Tau field was just further fuel for the fires of hell that Taam should be burning in. I have some first-hand experience of Jainan’s situation, so I’m not going to say anything else.

Instead, let me gush with overjoyed squeeeee about Kiem and Jainan in the last couple of chapters when they’ve finally figured it all out and are able to be their best selves together. I love that bubbly feeling when all the big obstacles have been overcome and an author allows us to wallow in the warm bath of loveliness while tying up loose ends and bringing the story to a close. Mmmmmm.


How do you feel about what the Tau field does/what it’s used for here? Is this misuse of a tool, or scientists creating something they should know better than to create?

Flipping heck! Just don’t make things that can rewrite a person’s memories, OK?!

Actually, I can see how the Tau field, in another setting, could be used for therapeutic treatments perhaps; but that if something can be turned into a weapon then it will be turned into a weapon is a fundamental truth of human nature, so I’m going to go with an emphatic should not have been created in the first place. That it uses remnants – alien, dangerous, unknown quantities – is the big warning bell here. If you create something using an alien thing that you don’t fully understand, then bad things are absolutely going to happen. Another fundamental truth for you there.


We’ve had some opinions about the Emperor in previous weeks; how do you feel about her now, following her … discussion with Kiem?

Well I need to take back my thoughts on her being just a figurehead, I guess. She was pretty clearly in up to the elbows during the chaos following Jainan’s rescue, Kiem’s arrest and then Jainan’s confession to the press. Still, I don’t really like her much. When I try to figure out why, it really comes down to her lack of a sense of humour and the fact that she doesn’t really like Kiem very much. So it’s really not based on anything rational. If I try to be impartial, I can see that she handled Thea’s proposition of a complete overhaul of the Empire very well (i.e. no tantrums, beheadings or invasions).


And lastly: This might be a standalone book, but that never stops the fannish imagination! If you could have a sequel/second story with any of the other characters we’ve met in this book, who would it be and why?

Bel totally deserves her own book so that we can explore the raiders’ portion of the Empire and watch her perform more code-cracking, security-busting awesomeness. And I’d love more of Gairad’s story too, which would naturally mean a trip to Thea, and a deeper dive into their clans and culture. Oh, oh, or maybe a sequel in which the Auditor is the central character, which would take us out into the wider universe of the Galactics and remnants.




  1. I was thinking of whether the Tau Field actually had any good uses, and you’re right it has potential but should probably just not exist to avoid anyone else having to deal with what Jainan did! I’d also love to see Thea and learn about the clans. It sounds like Thea has an interesting geography/nature aspect too. Maybe a bit more earth-like?

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    • Yes, Thea does sound more earth-like (I think there was mention of lots of good farmland at some point?). I’d like to know more about all the planets tbh, I like that kind of thing. 😁

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