Windwitch (The Witchlands Series) by Susan Dennard

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Windwitch (The Witchlands Series) by Susan Dennard

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson
Summary: Book 2 of the subtle, clever and rollicking Witchlands fantasy adventure series takes our heroes a step closer to doom and our fingernails closer to the quicks.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: January 2017
Publisher: Tor
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1447282303

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Merik Nihar, the Windwitch and former fleet admiral, must lay low on account of the fact that everyone believes him dead. He knows the attempted assassination was instigated by his sister, Vivia, but he doesn't yet realise how this attempt will change him and his powers. Safi meanwhile is regretting using her Truthwitch skills to help the Empress Vaness. Apart from anything else, it's deadly dull and has taken her away from Iseult, friend and Threadsister. Eventually though the dull disappears and it's not only Safi who's left with the deadly as allies appear from unexpected places and friendships are doubted while their world teeters.

American fantasy author Susan Dennard once again reveals how cleverly she writes. This series is an incredibly easy read in that we rip along and sink into the story as if it were a second skin. Yet there's huge depth and well-thought-out themes of pride, prejudice, (no - Jane A never wrote like this!) assumption and political manoeuvring intertwine with this apparent simplicity.

People we wouldn't have let over our hearts' thresholds in Book 1 emerge as people to plump for this time out. For instance, not spoiling the surprises, let's talk about Vivia: royalty and sister of our hero Merik. Last time out she was spoilt, immature and just not a nice person to be around. Now gradually this volume we watch her mature and empathise with her as struggles with the perils of ruling and deciding who to trust. Not realising who some people are under the skin doesn't help her much either. Also of course there's the attempted assassination of her brother… Now that's a topic to watch!

Talking of bad stuff, remember Caden, Iseult and Safi's nemesis who kick-started all their problems? We learn a lot more about him in particular and the life of an indentured heavy in general.

Normally Book 2 of a fantasy series is the traditional time to follow split-pathway heroes. Susan definitely uses this split adventure trope effectively. As Safi is dragged further away, Iseult redoubles her efforts to find her. Merik? Well, Merik has vengeance on his mind but is distracted from time to time as bigger evils impede his progress. He has scene stealing competition at hand though. Little Cam, the ship's boy who's really a girl has a past and a huge part to play.

Indeed, not only are we treated to the multiple threads (no pun intended!), each as exciting and dangerous as the next, Susan also has a way with the rhythm of a tale. As the dangers hot up towards and throughout a stupendously crescendo-ing climax, the scenes change faster to coincide once again with our accelerating heartbeats.

I also experienced a first in epic fantasy. At the end of one conversation and an exchange (as in handing over things) I found myself crying unexpectedly and no one had even died! Revealing who and when for this one would reveal too much so just have those tissues ready for when the tenderness ambush happens.

This tale of outer darkness and inner hatred was relevant when it was written but is even more so in the political climate mutating around us. This is a great read and a greater thrill ride yet it's subtly more than that if we just listen closely.

(Huge thanks go to Tor for providing us with a copy for review.)

Further Reading: If you haven't already, please treat yourself to Book 1: Truthwitch. If you're already a fan and fancy something else in the epic fantasy mood, we just as heartily suggest The Hundred-Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy) by N K Jemisin

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Buy Windwitch (The Witchlands Series) by Susan Dennard at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Windwitch (The Witchlands Series) by Susan Dennard at


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