“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.
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