Witchlanders by Lena Coakley

8:00 AM

Title: Witchlanders
Author: Lena Coakley
Release Date: August 30, 2011 (hardcover)
Publisher: Atheneum
Pages: 416
Source: ARC provided by publisher

Overall: 4 Stars

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.

My Thoughts: 
It’s been awhile since I’ve last read a fantasy novel, but when I heard about Canadian author Lena Coakley’s debut novel, Witchlanders, my interest was immediately piqued. I’m glad to say that Witchlanders didn’t disappoint. It was rich in details and had wonderful world-building… which then culminated into an exciting finish which left me constantly guessing the true villain! 

There was no romance in Witchlanders, which came as rather a surprise since the plot description seemed to hint at it. Instead, the novel focuses on friendship and family, along with the strengths and weaknesses they give us. Told in the dual voices of Ryder and Falpian, we were given perspectives on two very different ways of life. Ryder, a Witchlander, was practical and refused to believe in the prophecies the coven of witches spoke of. Meanwhile, Falpian, a Baen, doubted his abilities to use his voice to create magic that could be as beautiful as it was deadly. It was nice to see the pair overcome their prejudices as they learned more and more about each other while uncovering secrets about the history of their people...

I found that the pacing of the novel could be slow-moving at times as we’re eased into the world of the Witchlanders and the Baen, two very different ethnic groups whose truce is tied by a precarious thread… Lena Coakley kept up the intrigue though as she introduced us to the Witchlands and Bitterlands, all the while not dropping too much information on us before we could let it all sink in. So while a part of me was wishing to jump right into the action, another part of me was grateful that I wasn't overloaded with too many facts at once. I was glad to see events pick up more when Ryder and Falpian finally met, especially with the tensions running high! 

Lena Coakley’s debut novel will be sure to satisfy fantasy fans who love to escape into new worlds so unlike our own! While the novel is a standalone, Lena Coakley has left the doors wide open for a chance to revisit in a sequel. I’m hoping one will be written one day! With adventure, magic and steady storytelling, Witchlanders will easily appeal to both boys and girls looking for a novel to pass the time. 

Thanks so much to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing this review copy!

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  1. I've seen this one around a lot recently, glad you enjoyed it! I like how we get to see the POVs of both Ryder and Falpian. Great review, thanks!

  2. Glad you enjoyed it :) I thought the male POV was wonderful, it's been a while since I read ones that stuck with me like Ryder and Falpian did.
    And I LOVED Bodread, I almost always love the animals, but wasn't Bodread just wonderful?
    I agree: there needs to be a sequel!
    Great review :)

  3. I loved Witchlanders and didn't even mind that there was no romance since the world building and story were awesome.

  4. I have this but haven't had a chance to review yet, great job Liz!

  5. I don't usually read fantasy, but I keep hearing awesome books about this one and it's getting me more and more curious!!

    Lovely review!

  6. I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed this one! I've been really excited for it, and it's up soon on my TBR. I'm actually quite excited to hear there's no romance -- like you, I thought the synopsis hinted at some. Not EVERY story has to have romance, and I'm glad a YA author has finally realized that! Great review!

  7. Love this review Liz, I'm not a pure fantasy lover but this one sound good!

  8. I've heard a lot of different opinions on this one... not sure if I'll end up reading it, but I do love that cover!