Book Review: Windwitch by Susan Dennard

Sometimes our enemies are also our only allies…

After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister’s treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.

When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first?

After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife’s edge—especially when the pirates’ next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.

In my review of Truthwitch, I gave the book some pretty high praise, “Dennard has created something beautiful,” being the top compliment I gave.

I honestly could not have imagined how the sequel, by separating my two favorite characters Safi & Iseult, could possibly live up to the absolute beautiful example of fierce female friendship in Truthwitch.  Well, don’t mind me over here trying to stuff my narrow feet into my ridiculously loud mouth, because Dennard proved me wrong in spades. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted this book to be as good as it turned out to be, I was just scared it wouldn’t be! We all have those fears, right?

Anyway, let me get to the gushing. I 100% support re-reading Truthwitch before you start Windwitch.  Why? Well, for me it had been over a year since I had completed Truthwitch then lent it to someone else, so I didn’t get a chance to renew my knowledge of everything that happened.  I really think it would have saved me the slow start of remembering everything and would have enhanced my experience with Windwitch. So if possible, a re-read is definitely beneficial! *random side note over*

The narrative picks up with Merik, who is serving *fierce* back on the cover, the unlikely survivor of a burning ship and an assassination attempt. He spends the majority of the narrative struggling with his new reality as a “dead man,” (he names himself that, I promise, not a spoiler!) and trying to seek revenge on his would-be murder, while posturing a plan to save his beloved kingdom. He has gone through such a transformation from the first novel through this one, and it’s been such an organic development that I just am so excited to see how he continues to progress. This might be KIND OF spoilery, but if you are hoping for a *certain* reunion, like I was, it doesn’t happen YET. I’m not giving up hope.

While the first novel gave us the beginning of the Merik and Safi ship, this second novel really gave us more insight into the possible connections between Iseult and Aeduan.  While Merik and Safi were a match on the verge of igniting, Iseult and Aeduan are the snow melting slowly on the tip of a mountain top, and it’s just as compelling. Their journey together throughout this book kept me on my toes and wanting more.  I can only assume (and HOPE) that the third installment will continue this, since the title is Bloodwitch!

As strong as Iseult and Safi are together, I will say the one great thing about keeping them apart in this book was giving them both the chance to shine on their own. That being said, it was definitely the place for Safi to come into her own as an individual and powerful Truthwitch.  Dennard did such a great job of keeping up with her fiery personality while allowing her to grow more mature.  I honestly think Safi might be my favorite of the pair, but let’s be honest my favorite will be Safi and Iseult’s friendship.

Dennard continued the upbeat and pressing plot pace from the first novel, and I can only imagine with the introduction of a few new key characters (OWL! *so cute*) that the story will keep on being exciting.

HUGE props to Dennard for Cam and his storyline throughout this book. Seriously, way to give us feels with this secondary character and for including a transgender narrative. It is such a wonderful moment when the character’s preferred pronouns are accepted and used.  In addition, does anyone else hardcore ship Vivia and Stix? I’m predicting some excellent fan fiction to come out of this pairing.  (*hint* Don’t sell Vivia down the river Styx yet*—*cackles*)

This is by far one of the best sequels I’ve read in a long time! Order your copy of Windwitch, now. You won’t regret it!

4.5 Bards




Special thanks to Tor Teen for providing me with a review copy!


Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: September 1, 2015

“You think I’m a monster, but my choices, as ruthless as they seem, are justified.”

Lily is back in her own universe, and she’s ready to start a new life with Rowan by her side. True, she almost died in the Pyre that fueled their escape from New Salem, and must hide her magic for the safety of everyone she cares about, but compared to fighting the Woven, the monstrous creatures inhabiting the alternate Salem, life is looking pretty good.

Unfortunately, Lillian, ruthless ruler of the 13 Cities, is not willing to let Lily go that easily. If she can’t persuade Lily to return to her world, she will force her to come back by doing away with the ones she loves.

Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: October 6, 2015

Violet is on the run. After the Duchess of the Lake catches Violet with Ash, the hired companion at the Palace of the Lake, Violet has no choice but to escape the Jewel or face certain death. So along with Ash and her best friend, Raven, Violet runs away from her unbearable life of servitude.

But no one said leaving the Jewel would be easy. As they make their way through the circles of the Lone City, Regimentals track their every move, and the trio barely manages to make it out unscathed and into the safe haven they were promised—a mysterious house in the Farm.

But there’s a rebellion brewing, and Violet has found herself in the middle of it. Alongside a new ally, Violet discovers her Auguries are much more powerful than she ever imagined. But is she strong enough to rise up against the Jewel and everything she has ever known?

Book Review: Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes has a gift for profiling people. Her talent has landed her a spot in an elite FBI program for teens with innate crime-solving abilities, and into some harrowing situations. After barely escaping a confrontation with an unbalanced killer obsessed with her mother’s murder, Cassie hopes she and the rest of the team can stick to solving cold cases from a distance.

But when victims of a brutal new serial killer start turning up, the Naturals are pulled into an active case that strikes too close to home: the killer is a perfect copycat of Dean’s incarcerated father—a man he’d do anything to forget. Forced deeper into a murderer’s psyche than ever before, will the Naturals be able to outsmart the enigmatic killer’s brutal mind games before this copycat twists them into his web for good?

This book was an unexpected pick up at Book Expo America this year, and I did major fangirl flailing when I got my hands on a copy of it, because The Naturals was one of my favorite reads from early 2014 (click on the title to see my review!).

It was absolutely wonderful to get back into the lives of the kids in the special FBI program, and it was a little bit harrowing as well (I wouldn’t have it any other way).  Cassie is still reeling from the betrayal of their previous FBI handler, when a new character is introduced and is going to be taking over the training and responsibility of these talented teens.  Now, when this happens, it irritated not only the characters, but also me as a reader.  Why? Well, she basically limits any of the cool story aspects for the characters to do in the first few chapters before the narrative really picks up.  While I do appreciate that she is determined that the kids need to finish high school, is there really any way that these characters WOULDN’T immediately get a job at the FBI once they are 18?  I mean they already have clearance, work experience, natural talent…. but anyway.

Once the story really gets going the novel is hard to put down.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it was better than the first installment, but it is definitely close.  There is a large amount of suspense and misdirection that happens when the teens get too caught up in the case, and there is definitely some scary moments where some lives are held in the balance. I can’t imagine how painful this novel would have been had the narrator been Dean instead of Cassie, but again, he isn’t a character who would really provide a lot of clarity in narration, as he tends to be a little hard to crack.

The love triangle, of course, makes an appearance–but I honestly don’t know who I would want Cassie to choose between Dean and Mike.  They both have a lot of flaws and emotional baggage, not to mention Cassie’s own issues with what happened to her in the first novel and how she was raised.  I think this is one of the reasons I love these characters and their story so much, because they are flawed and realistic.  Also: that twist! (I can’t say anymore!)

4 Bards!


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