Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: August 30, 2011
Source: For Review from Simon and Schuster Canada (Thank you!)
Rating: 4 Stars - I Loved It!
High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlands by throwing the bones and foretelling the future.
It’s all a fake.
At least, that’s what Ryder thinks. He doubts the witches really deserve their tithes—one quarter of all the crops his village can produce. And even if they can predict the future, what danger is there to foretell, now that his people’s old enemy, the Baen, has been defeated?
But when a terrifying new magic threatens both his village and the coven, Ryder must confront the beautiful and silent witch who holds all the secrets. Everything he’s ever believed about witches, the Baen, magic and about himself will change, when he discovers that the prophecies he’s always scorned—
Are about him.
In short: Witchlanders by Lena Coakley is a fascinating and original high fantasy debut with a refreshing Bromance.
Even though I was expecting a much different book, I loved the book I ended up getting. Witchlanders is a high fantasy tale with a richly developed and creative world. Coakley created her own complex and involved history of the Witchlander and Baen people and their longstanding feud. I was just so impressed by Coakley's imagination, to create a whole new world, creatures, magics, and religions. The background information is integrated so well with the story; the reader is not removed from the action in the process of learning more about the lore. The world building was definitely the highlight for me in Witchlanders.
Something else that I really enjoyed and found refreshing in Witchlanders was the lack of romance. Instead, we got a hardcore Bromance between Ryder and Falpian. It was interesting to follow their story as they find each other and learn their destiny. Something I was less fond of was the character building which I found a bit lacking. I just needed a bit more. Sometimes I found myself confused with certain character motivations that weren't explained as well as they could be. One character that I truly loved though was Bo, Falpian's sabre-toothed Dreadhound, who was intelligent and endearing. Though if you know me, it's really no surprise that I would be so taken with a charming dog in a book.
The pacing was well done and flowed quickly and the final action sequence was especially intense and lengthy. The final clues as to the antagonist and the reasonings behind their actions were uncovered brilliantly. The immediate conflict in the story was wrapped up nicely and yet, a continuing conflict was left open. I am unable to find any evidence of a sequel, however, leaving me to believe Witchlanders is a standalone. I didn't even know standalones existed anymore.
Stalk the Author (not for serious):
*Read as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge