Windwitch by Susan Dennard

January 16, 2017 Reviews 1 ★★★★½

Windwitch by Susan DennardWindwitch (The Witchlands #2) by Susan Dennard
Published: January 12th 2017 by Tor Books
Format: Paperback, 384 pages
Genres: Fantasy
Source: Publisher
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4.5 Stars

Sometimes our enemies become our only allies.

The Windwitch Prince Merik is presumed dead, following a lethal explosion. He's left scarred but alive and determined to expose his sister's treachery. Yet on reaching the royal capital, he's shocked to find it crowded with refugees fleeing conflict. Merik haunts the streets, fighting for the weak. This leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.

Hunted by the Cleaved, Iseult is struggling to stay free while she searches for her friend Safi. When the Bloodwitch Aeduan corners Iseult first, she offers him a deal: she'll return what was stolen from him, if he locates the Truthwitch. Yet unknown to Iseult, there's a bounty on her head - and Aeduan intends to claim it.

After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. They find themselves amongst pirates, where a misstep could mean death. And the bandits' next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.

I devoured Windwitch. It was almost impossible to put down from the very first page!! This, folks, is how you craft a sequel.

While Truthwitch focussed on Safi, Windwitch lets Merik take centre stage. I admit I was wary about this change — a series with four protagonists can run the risk of shifting the focus away from characters I care about and want to spend more time with. Though I did spend less time with Safi, she had enough presence in the minds of the other protagonists that I didn’t have time to miss her. I was instead watching Merik grow up and admit some hard truths, witnessing Aeduan and Iseult step around one another in a careful dance, and learning that Vivia is more than Merik told us she was.

I think this is the strength of Windwitch. The characters we met in Truthwitch were flawed, each on their own ways, and it’s through these four books that we will see them become the heroes we need them to be. I feel each of the protagonists (and much of the supporting cast) has come a long way. Now I liked Truthwitch and could see potential in these characters. Perhaps Windwitch won’t change your opinion if you despised these kids in the first book, but I loved seeing them grow.

The plotting in this book is superb. The action did not let up, hurtling along at breakneck pace, but the author found time for moments of reflection and development that made the story realistic. Dennard has kept the magic of the first book alive while weaving in more elements and revealing a little more about this world and its history. I enjoy this type of storytelling where elements of the world-building and history are unravelled as the protagonists discover them, but as with Truthwitch, this may frustrate some readers.

As in Truthwitch, a major theme of this book (and perhaps the series) is that of the bonds between people (the Threads that bind!). They cover family, both blood and Thread, friends and lovers, communities and countries. It’s interesting to how each character reacts when forced to choose between these bonds, to see how each pushes and pulls them in certain directions.

I loved Windwitch!! I’m going down with the Iseult x Aeduan ship and you cannot stop me. I think this series is perfect for fans of YA fantasy and a must read for anyone who enjoyed Truthwitch. And now the agonising wait for Bloodwitch begins …

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