Sunday, September 2, 2012

Review: Witchlanders - Lena Coakley

Witchlanders by Lena Coakley
Genre: YA, fantasy
Published on August 30, 2011
Published by Atheneum Books
Pages: 400
Read From: 7.24.12 - 7.28.12

High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlanders by throwing the bones and foretelling the future. 
It's all 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, have 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 himself will change when he discovers that prophecies he's always scorned at about him.


Cover Blurb: I really like it. I love the ice-blue, the red banner, the sword - which is rather prominent in the story, - and how when you look closer, you notice the girl in the background. I love all these little hints about the story itself; it’s well done.

What I Liked: Both Ryder and Farien are very good male protagonists. I loved observing their developing friendship, how they came to realize that they were, despite being enemies, very much alike, and also accepting their differences. I also really liked the interaction between Ryder and the White Witch. It was blessedly lacking in flirtation! His observations of her beauty were very matter-of-fact, very Hey, she’s pretty, but that’s not important right now. And the White Witch herself was wonderfully practical and not toting at Attitude, and actually doesn’t play as big of a role as the Reader is led to believe. The Gormie Men were a little bit scary, for elemental monsters, and the thief spiders were so cute!

What I Disliked: Honestly, nothing.

Believability: Not very applicable to this story, except I will note that the beliefs and superstitions of the villagers felt genuine, as did Ryder’s doubts in the Witches’ powers.

Writing Style: It was good. I especially enjoyed her descriptions of winter, and how Farien’s people believed that everything in nature was connected to music. The Author had a very beautiful way of depicting all of this in words. I absolutely love that she chose winter as her story’s season. It really fit the tone. And I positively love the “brotherhood” relationship between Ryder and Farien; the Author develops it very well.

Content: None.

Conclusion: While the villain does give a monologue on what her dastardly plan is (villains should never do this), this didn’t bother me nearly as much as I thought it would. It kind of worked; she was trying to persuade Farien to her side while at the same time justifying herself to Ryder. The ending also gives a rather tantalizing hint to a sequel - a sequel that could actually be very good. But it also wouldn’t require a sequel.

Recommended Audience: Readers who aren’t into hard-core fantasy, but enjoy some of mystery that fantasy stories can have. This is a guy and girl read, and appropriate for any age.

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