17 January 2012

Witchlanders by Lena Coakley

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.

This was an excellent book, but it's one of those "excellent books" that really shouldn't work, or I feel like it shouldn't work, mostly because of the writing.  The story, though, was beautiful.  The characters were memorable.  The world was fantastic.  I am definitely buying this book.

The writing could have been improved in a lot of places, and considering that it was told in two different POVs, the voice should have changed changed accordingly.  I couldn't see a distinct difference between Ryder and Falpian except in their outlook on certain "controversial" subjects.  A lot of times, Coakley rushed through the action instead of taking her time.  I know that action scenes take practice to write well and this is her first book.  She has a lot of potential, writing-wise.  She paints her atmosphere well.  There was one part where I was literally going, "Holy crappp, this is freaking me out!"  Which usually doesn't happen when I'm reading.

The characters were so awesome.  Ryder was awesome.  Falpian was awesome.  Pima was awesome.  I loved seeing their struggles--I was struggling right along with them.  They seemed very real and very set in their own little niche in the world.  This is the sign that it was done well.

The world.  TALK ABOUT WORLDBUILDING.  I was supremely impressed with Coakley's ability to tell you information about the world without spoon-feeding it to you.  You just figured things out as you read.  I could keep the map of the two countries in my head without a map drawn out for me.  That's how well it's explained.  And by the time the ending comes around, I'm so engrained with the culture that the full weight of the climax hits me just as much as it hits the characters.

I'm surprised the book turned out to be soflippinggood.  Considering that one of the narrators isn't even mentioned in the summary.  And there isn't a romance.

I can't wait to get this book, but I'm going to wait until the sequel comes out (because there HAS TO BE a sequel, even though I can't find any information about one).  If publishers change covers, it's usually with the publication of the second book and I don't do mixed-edition series.

I highly recommend this book to those of you who love Tamora Pierce, Maria V. Snyder, John Flanagan, or Cinda Williams Chima.

Book Info:
  • pages - hardcover, 400
  • published - August 2011
  • publisher - Atheneum
  • genre - fantasy
  • rating - 5/5
  • received via - public library :)
  • series - there should be one (better be one)