Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers on August 30th 2011
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.
I won’t lie, I honestly wasn’t expecting much out of this book. I picked it up because the cover looked pretty, it sounded decently alright, and I needed a couple of extra dollars to get free shipping on bookoutlet.com.
It started off slightly slow, but once it got going, it really got going. One of my only issues with Witchlanders is that it was too short. I feel like, if thoroughly developed, this actually could have been a really nice couple of books. I think it would have been so great to get a bit more about the culture and history of the two countries. Plus this would have made a great journey-fantasy, but for the length that it is, it’s great.
The characters were pretty well fleshed out. Ryder was a bit annoying, but only because I knew that what was going to happen in in the book centered around magic and he doesn’t believe in magic. But his reactions and feelings in the beginning (and even as the story progressed) made sense for him as a character. I couldn’t tell if I liked Falpian or not. His diva attitude got to me in the beginning, but he did come around as the story went on. I think his character definitely could have benefited from a more in depth backstory if there had been more room.
The plot itself was pretty engaging. The history between the Witchlanders and Baen got a bit confusing for me at points, but it was still interesting. I wasn’t able to guess what was going to happen before it happened, which I always appreciate in a book. I hate being able to guess plot points.
All in all, pretty decent! I’ll have to check out more of Lena Coakley. Have you read any of her work?