Witchlanders by Lena Coakley

“An assassin’s first murder is himself. He kills the man he was.”

I have to admit that out of all the YA fiction I’ve read recently, Witchlanders has the most original concept. (I keep wanting to call it The Witchlanders, I don’t know why).

The story’s perspective switches back and forth between two very different young men. Ryder is a simple farmer. A Witchlander. His mother is an outcast boneshaker who thinks she can foretell the future. Too bad she’s addicted to a mind-altering flower, so when she predicts disaster befalling the village… Ryder and his two sisters have a hard time believing her.

Falpian is the lone surviving wealthy son of a Baen lord. His twin brother, supposedly his magically “soul mate” is dead. Not that they could ever produce songs or magic together anyway. 9917925

The two young men are enemies by birth. Witchlanders are the sworn adversaries of the Baen, and neither side trusts the other. So, it’s pretty crazy when they chance upon each other and find that their minds are connected in… mysterious ways.

Not to mention, Ryder’s skepticism about the witches who live in the mountains above them. He thinks they’re lazy con artists. But he may have more in common with them than he once believed…

I don’t really know how to feel about this book… It had some major good points and had some major… “eh” moments. I liked that Coakley used a more original form of magic–song. I also liked that she focuses on the (platonic) relationship between these two boys and the whole story wasn’t bogged down with some hopeless teeny-bopper romance. It’s nice to have someone steer away from that.

(Boys aren’t everything, young readers!)

I also liked the drug addiction of Ryder’s mother. That made it extra hard on him since his father was dead. I really liked Falpian’s dog Bo.

I don’t generally like high fantasy, so I won’t really delve into that, but this book was kind of a shrug to me. The idea of the song magic was cool, but it seemed strange coming from two guys. I could picture them breaking out into some Disney-esque power ballad, and that’s just awkward. There was never a moment where I felt really invested in the characters, and I think the witches’ culture could’ve been explained in more detail.

I also hated that Falpian’s twin brother was named Falbian. Kinda cheesy. Plus Falpian just sounds like a new anti-depressant. (Feeling tired? Sad? Like you just don’t care? Ask your doctor about NEW 10mg Falpian!)

The ending just kinda left me hanging. It seemed like there should be a sequel because of the stopping point, but when I researched it, turns out Coakley is not under contract for a sequel and is currently working on a different story. Hmmm…

I’m also not sure why the cover has a girl or a sword on it, because this book didn’t focus on either of these things.

I could take it or leave it.

2 maiden’s woe of 5

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About Chelsea McDonald

As an avid reader since I was big enough to hold a book, I continue to enjoy losing myself in the thrall of a good story on a daily basis. Since many of my cohorts do not share the same passion, Cracking Spines will be the perfect outlet to express my adulation or frustration concerning the books that cross my path. In this way, my loyal followers will be able to enjoy the stories that are worthwhile and avoid the duds altogether. I also have a Shelfari account at http://www.shelfari.com/chelseamcdonald15 View all posts by Chelsea McDonald

One response to “Witchlanders by Lena Coakley

  • treehugger8700

    Elizabeth Hayden’s Rhapsody trilogy uses music as magic. Practitioners are called Singers (derp) and the best of the best are called Namers. The magic itself is referred to as “lore”. The title character can make instruments play themselves indefinitely. She uses her magic for pretty much everything: she can heal people by “singing their namesong”, can create illusions and disguises by singing the namesong of the item she wants to be seen, can create forcefields and create and control fire, etc. Still not a great story though.

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