Review: Witchlanders by Lena Coakley
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 rating: 4 of 5 stars
I picked this up off of S&S’s Galley Grab because I thought it looked interesting…and it was. “Witchlanders” is an incredibly intriguing story, one that will be hard to put down. I wasn’t sure what to expect going on. I was surprised, although incredibly pleased, to find out the story is told through two different male point-of-views. Lena Coakley managed to create two incredibly believable male characters: Ryder and Falpian.
In the beginning, I found myself disliking Ryder, a witchlander. He’s grown up not believing in witches and magic. He’s believed that his mother found magic to be foolish, until he finds her throwing the bones. She sees danger coming and Ryder thinks she’s acting foolish, insisting that there is no danger headed their way. When the coven comes to decide if the village is in danger, as Ryder’s mother suggested, they tell her that she was wrong. And she willingly accepts their decision, for you do not question the witches. As they make their way back, the coven leaves with Ryder’s two sisters, leaving him alone with his mother. After speaking with his mother, Ryder sets off to the river in search of a fish for her, the only food she’s willing to eat. What he doesn’t realize is that she’s trying to keep him safe. For her bones were right, there is danger headed their way, a danger built from the earth itself – a danger that can’t harm them in the river.
It isn’t until the attack that Ryder begins to realize his mother was right. He sets off to the coven, only to be told that his mother was responsible for the attack, something he swears isn’t possible. It’s hard not to sympathize with him at this point. He’s not sure what’s happened to his mother, his sisters are now living with the coven, and his father passed leaving him the man of the house. He could stay behind with his sisters, stay with the coven his mother hates, or he can fix things. There’s a baen in his head, he hears them in his dreams, and he’s going to find them and kill them.
Trying not to spoil the rest of the story, I’ll go on to say this: “Witchlanders” is an engrossing fantasy novel. This is a book worth checking out.