Thursday, July 14, 2011

Witchlanders by Lena Coakley

Title: Witchlanders
Author: Lena Coakley
Publisher: Atheneum
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Date Read: July 7 - 8, 2011
Rating: 3/5 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.
I received a copy of Witchlanders from Simon & Schuster Canada as their new YA book reviewer and this is the first book I'm reviewing for them. I'm so excited! I'll be featuring Lena Coakley in late August for an interview so be sure to check back. I absolutely love to support debut authors, especially Canadians. 

Unfortunately I couldn't enjoy Witchlanders as much as I would've liked to because I kept making comparisons to Singer of All Songs. A similar YA fantasy series by Kate Constable where the characters also use singing as their "power", I couldn't help but note one too many similarities between the fantasy worlds. Even though there were several pages in Witchlanders dedicated to describing the music and how it produced, I didn't understand it at all and thought it made a lot more sense in Chanters of Tremaris. 

I appreciated Lena Coakley's attempt to bring back high fantasy to a reading trend dominated by urban fantasy. I found her village setting rather unoriginal as most high fantasy books take place in old-fashioned towns. I can't wait to read a high fantasy set in a technology developed society or perhaps one that mirrors our modern world. I also am not a fan of books about destiny or prophecies (Harry Potter exempted, of course) because I find them rather stereotypical and melodramatic. 

I absolutely loved Falpian's character! What an awesome choice to have two male protagonists and perspectives rather than the usual girl-boy or girl-girl. I can't wait to read more about his family, childhood, singing abilities, and interests in a future sequel. On top of having two male main characters I thought it was awesome that Lena Coakley didn't write a romantic interest for either character. I don't think I've ever read a fantasy book before with absolutely no hints of romance!

Favourite Quote: "An assassin's first murder is himself. He kills the man he was."

Recommended: The Singer of All Songs (Kate Constable), The Golden Compass (Philip Pullman)


  1. Great review, Laura! I've got this book to read as well, and I'm looking forward to starting it. Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. I totally get being frustrated when the premise is so similar to another book! I had the same trouble reviewing Delirium because it reminded me of both Uglies and Matched. And I'm with you on the prophecy/fate thing - the genre is pretty saturated with that.

    But I'm glad to hear the characterization is well done — it's unusual to see two male main characters in a traditional YA fantasy!

  3. I think I'm gonna ignore the first bit and just comment on how much I love that quote you picked, and the fact there's 2 male mcs! You're right, I don't think I've read a book like that before (oh wait, Will grayson Will grayson.. so...) but still, thanks for the review! Looking forward to the interview :)

  4. Oh, I've never heard of SInger of All Songs before. For me, the concept came across as completely original. I also loved that this one had a bromance instead of the usual romance!


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