Daughter of Redwinter v Funky Drummer

Book: Daughter or Redwinter
Author: Ed McDonald
Published: 28th June 2022
Publisher: Gollancz

I absolutely adored McDonald’s debut trilogy, The Raven’s Mark, so as I leapt at the chance to read the e-arc of this as soon as I saw it on Netgalley. Subsequently, I was fortunate to attend an event in London where I got this picture, making him the first author to appear on my feed with the beer I’d picked out for his book.

The book itself lives up to the pedigree laid down by his previous work, though it is a very different beast. This is closer to the traditional epic coming-of-age fantasy that many of us will have cut our teeth on growing up, albeit with a signature dash of the weird and a bit trippy horror elements that fans of the Misery will feel at home with. Is a Mawleth as scary as a Darling? You tell me.

Raine has the grave sight, she can see ghosts, a fact that if known would single her out for execution in a gruesome fashion. Having run away from a mother who seemingly regretted having given birth to her, she joined a cult and has been sleeping with a man twice her age since she was a questionably young age. Life has so far not treated Raine particularly well and when the story starts it is not treating her any better.

After using knowledge gained through her illicit powers, Raine has unintentionally brought down the wrath of a local clan leader upon her friends. They are besieged in an abandoned monastery called Dalnesse, and because of her guilt, she has made it her mission to find a way out for them. It is while doing this that she runs into a strange woman on her own being chased by strange men with supernatural abilities. Raine makes the call to help the woman and all hell breaks loose.

Once the dust settles on events at Dalnesse Raine ends up travelling back to the eponymous Redwinter with the two men who’d been chasing the woman. A Draoihn and his apprentice. This is where the story really starts to hit its stride, as Raine starts to make a new life for herself as a favoured servant in the household of Clan LacNaithe. But it is an uneasy existence as one of the Draoihn’s key responsibilities is the suppression of their ancient foe the Sarathi, those with powers like theirs who also possess the grave sight. So even as she grows more comfortable around her new friends she also knows that she will always be an outsider.

One thing I will say about this that is not necessarily a negative, but which is worth mentioning, is that this book very much feels like the start of something rather than a self-contained book. Debut series tend to have more tightly wrapped up endings in their opening entries for obvious reasons. Here though I was left wanting to dive into book two immediately to find out the payoffs to things.

Overall though I was very impressed with the book. The start to Ed McDonald’s second epic fantasy series is every bit as awesome as I found his first and I can’t wait to read more about Raine and the Draoihn of Redwinter.

Beer: Funky Drummer
Brewery: 71 Brewing Co.
Style: DIPA
Strength: 7.5%

You might be forgiven for thinking that a blend of 6 very distinct hops would be overkill. It works though. Very well.

Powerful on the nose and a summery freshness in the mouth.

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