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Pathfinder Tales: Winter Witch Paperback – 9 Dec 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Paizo Publishng Inc. (9 Dec. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601252862
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601252869
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 2.8 x 17 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 642,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This is a reasonably well-written, brisk romp through the Land of the Linnorm Kings and Irrisen. It's squarely aimed at fans of Paizo's Golarion campaign setting for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. It has a good mix of evocative description and transparency of mechanics - I never like RPG novels where the characters obviously can't be statted out as per the game they purport to come from - geeky I know, but it adds to my enjoyment when I can "see the stats" so to speak.

Most important of all - for a fantasy novel - it doesn't suck. I'm not a huge fan of fantasy novels, they're often over-long and turgid. This one is brisk, witty and has compelling characters. Props to the Authors for having good female characters who can kick ass and aren't caricatures.

If you like Pathfinder, this won't disappoint - it's not the most complex story in the world - but it is pacy and brings the setting alive.
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Format: Paperback
This is the second book in a series by Paizo in the land of Golarion. This book will bring you to the Land of the Linnorm Kings and Irrisien - the land ruled by the Witch Queen.
It is written by Elaine Cunningham who some might know better from her books in the Forgotten Realms setting. It is a solid story with an interesting twist on magic. It features a love story and betrayal. I don't want to give away to much of the story to spoil it. If you are looking for some light fantasy and you enjoyed Elaines writing in the past then you likely will like this book as well.
If you just look for a good fantasy novel - give it a try. There is another book out already with Amazon - Prince of Woolves that plays in the same fantasy world. A thrid one - Plague of Shadows is also out but will take a few more days before arriving with Amazon. It should be available by the time you read this and the Prince of Wolves. More books are planned in this series - but you will have to be patient as the schedule right now is rather slow.
In case you are also a Pathfinder RPG player you will enjoy the additional background and depths in which areas like Irrisien are explored. You will get a more succinct description in the Golarion Campaign setting. But this will never give you as much of a feel for a land as a novel can give you.
I did dither between four and five stars. Four stars for the story - a fifth as it also helps me to immerse myself into the RPG world. This will be helpful if I should GM some scenarios in the cold north and I need to represent some Berserker clans struggling against the cold and the witches.
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Format: Paperback
A typical Elaine Cunningham story. Good characters, moves along at a good pace and tells a good story. A new setting but this is classic sword and sorcery from an excellent storyteller. There is no need to buy earlier books in the series as this is completely stand alone. Hopefully there will be a further story about the hero and heroine.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9472a348) out of 5 stars 29 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94752204) out of 5 stars Most enjoyable 28 Nov. 2010
By Sheepy - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've read just about all of Elaine's fiction, dating back to when I got Elfshadow as a Christmas present and read the entire book that night. Elaine consistently delivers well-imagined, interesting characters that are easy to relate to -- it doesn't matter what the character or setting is, you like and understand her characters, and care about what happens to them. And the way she describes the setting itself brings it alive in a way few authors can match.

This book is the second of the Pathfinder books. The first is Prince of Wolves, another intriguing tale, but not one that needs to be read for this one to be understandable. Both books are good, but this is the one that really gives me great hope for the Pathfinder line -- with books like this, I can easily foresee a shelf full of Pathfinder fiction in a few years.

This book focuses on two characters, Ellasif and Declan. Neither is your stereotypical hero-type. Ellasif is a barbarian woman, but is not the towering Viking chic nor the top-heavy, fur bikini-wearing woman envisioned in so much fantasy artwork. Declan fits the standard molds even less; he's a former wizard's apprentice turned cartographer.

Declan's quest starts off fairly straight-forward: rescue the girl. Ellasif's quest intersects his in ways that aren't immediately apparent, though we know she hopes to rescue her sister. As the story unfolds, we find out more about Ellasif's past, particularly the truth about her sister. We also discover that Declan has some interesting abilities of his own, including a unique talent quite unlike anything I've seen before in a fantasy novel.

You don't need to be a fan of the Pathfinder setting to enjoy this novel... But if you're not, this novel will likely make you want to know more about Golarion.

And you don't need to be a fan of Elaine's to enjoy this novel, either... But once you read it, you will be a fan of hers!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9469f450) out of 5 stars Excellent RPG Fantasy 16 Jan. 2011
By Roy Sachleben - Published on
Format: Paperback
Elaine Cunningham has produce a wonderful bit of fantasy in the new shared world of Golarion. Engaging characters whose story focuses tightly rather than on a world wide event. The story develops from a rescue as the characters come together and learn about each other. Despite being set in the Pathfinder RPG world, I never once "heard the dice roll" as so often happens in these sorts of books.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9469f930) out of 5 stars Cunningham scores again 4 Feb. 2011
By JazzIsBlues - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've read every word penned by Elaine Cunningham that I can put my hands to. With "Winter Witch" she scores again with vibrant characters and a twisty plot that keeps the reader racing along to find out what happens next. As a player of the Pathfinder RPG she has grabbed hold of the world of Golarion and brought it to life. I always look forward to Cunningham's books but "Winter Witch" is a rare treat among rare treats. I highly recommend it as a read.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x946c2750) out of 5 stars Fantastic Fantasy 18 Jun. 2012
By Lou Anders - Published on
Format: Paperback
I loved this book. A collaboration between Elaine Cunningham and Dave Gross,I found it had a depth of world-building and a sense of fun to rival any non-tie in fantasy novel. I was surprised that one of the inaugural titles for Pathfinder's tie-in line would open with such a graphic and gruesome description of childbirth. From the start, that opening established that this wasn't by-the-numbers fantasy. The northern cultures described were fascinating, the characters were great, the plot well-divided between humor, action, and pathos. I was very, very impressed. I plan to both read Dave Gross's other works and to read more Pathfinder Tales.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x947396b4) out of 5 stars A great "Pathfinder Tale" for fans and new readers, alike! 12 Feb. 2011
By P. E. Crenshaw III - Published on
Format: Paperback
As a fan of the Pathfinder RPG, I was glad to hear that Paizo, already the publisher of the Planet Stories Library, was publishing a series of novels set in the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting. After reading Elaine Cunningham's stories in the Legacy of Fire Adventure Path, which began with Pathfinder Adventure Path: Legacy Of Fire #1 - Howl Of The Carrion King, I was doubly anxious to see how she would treat the lands of Irrisen and the White Witches who rule it. So, how did she do? Here's how:

Wow. Good story! I'm going to keep my comments generic, both because I don't want to ruin it for anyone else and because my impressions don't rely too much on the specific plot points.

1) Characters. I really enjoyed them. All of them. I particularly like the fact that Elaine portrays the Ulfen people as being far more sophisticated than the usual barbarian/Viking stereotypes. Sure, Ellasif starts off as being a counterpoint to those stereotypes, but when we meet other Ulfen characters, we get an image of all the Ulfen people that goes beyond "big dumb warrior" trope. Anyone who wants to play an Ulfen character in Pathfinder needs to read this book.

I'm also glad to see that most of the characters actually have depth. I moved away from the Forgotten Realms and other RPG-setting specific novels years ago because I couldn't get past the feeling that the characters were paper thin. Most of those stories felt like the author was trying too hard to show how they could write a story in that particular setting, rather than writing a story about characters who happen to live in the setting.

Elaine doesn't do that. She didn't do it with Channa Ti in the Legacy of Fire Adventure Path, and she certainly didn't do it in Winter Witch.

The characters of this Pathfinder Tale are fully steeped in the lore of Golarion. They are children of the setting and, as a result, seem authentic, both as Pathfinder characters and as people.

2) Pacing of the story was well done. It felt a little rushed toward the end, but I think that may have more to do with the fact that I wanted to see more of the characters than an actual pacing problem. In other words, the story ended too soon. ;)

3) I found Elaine's descriptions of the setting very engaging. She provided just enough detail to give us a good sense of each location without overwhelming us with details. The story does entail a long journey, but she managed to describe the various sites without making it read like a travel log.

4) Overall...this was a really good novel and a great showing for the second in the series of "Pathfinder Tales." I want to read the sequel as soon as possible!
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