“His mom, crazed and drugged again is making predictions that can't be true. If they are, everything is about to change. With his father dead how is he supposed to run the farm and keep everyone safe when is mom keeps disappearing, setting up strange signal fires, and taking the poisonous drug...”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It
“really confusing; I didn't finish”see full review » see other reviews »
“Interesting start to what's clearly going to be a series. Definitely a slow-starter -it only got really interesting at the half-way point. 2014 Isinglass nominee.”Kirsten C wrote this review Friday, June 7, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Two adolescents from two very different cultures must depend on each other to survice. Set in another world in the distant past, this fantasy novel keeps building the action to an satisfying end.”CSB Summer Reading wrote this review Thursday, May 23, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“really confusing; I didn't finish”Robyn wrote this review Sunday, April 7, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“His mom, crazed and drugged again is making predictions that can't be true. If they are, everything is about to change. With his father dead how is he supposed to run the farm and keep everyone safe when is mom keeps disappearing, setting up strange signal fires, and taking the poisonous drug that she thinks gives her the ability to see the future. How is he supposed to take care of everyone when the witches show up and take his sisters away. What is he supposed to do when his mom's predictions start coming frighteningly true? When relatives thought dead start showing up, and when someone else's dreams keep invading his? What if things are not what everyone wants to pretend they are? What lengths will they go to keep their secrets hidden and appear in control. How much is he willing to give up? How much is he willing to learn? ”Ms. Root wrote this review Saturday, November 24, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“loved this book!!!! hope there is a sequel”samccarthy wrote this review Saturday, November 3, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“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 coven elders to find out the truth. 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”Owl wrote this review Monday, October 29, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Engaging, but some plot elements were too predictable. I also really felt this book deserves a sequel, Ryder & Falipan's story was so interesting and hopeful that the open-ended resolution left me unsatisfied. Overall, this story is unique in its type of magic and monsters and I really hope to see something more of this fantasy world.”FictionFreek wrote this review Tuesday, October 23, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Predicatable but readable yarn. Not all magic and monstery, but does have some. Mostly about secrets and prejudice.”Ms. Smith-Vaniz wrote this review Monday, September 24, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This was another one of those blind library picks where I knew next to nothing about the book before picking it up, and what a wonderful read it turned out to be.
The world Coakley introduces is full of magic both literally and figuratively. She manages to weave in so much rich lore and detail that you can't help but be able to picture all that's happening. I love the lore behind the Witchlanders and Baen beliefs and I love how it plays such a pivotal role in the events that occur throughout the book. This does start a bit slow though, but the writing is quite wonderful and once it picked up it really hooked me. The mystery of Ryder and Falpain really drew me in and I had to know more, I ended up burning away most of a night reading this. I also thought that the Talat-sa connection was super cool and while I think it would be a bit annoying to have someone else constantly in your head it would also be very cool to have someone that in tune with you.
Ryder is a great main character...oh and did I mention it's a guy? Yep! Another great male main character to add to my growing list. He's rather stubborn but he's also strong and pretty smart in his own way. One thing I like about him is that just because something in his life changes he doesn't immediately change his mind about it, it still takes him time to come to terms with it. Falpain is also a great main character, and yes he's a guy too! He's certainly different from Ryder, he's not all that stubborn and he's rather eager to prove his worth no matter what the mission. He does come into his own as the story progresses and it's wonderful to see his journey to that point. Unlike Ryder he doesn't start out as a strong willed character but he makes it there. I have to say that Mabis, Ryder's mother, is one of my favorite characters in this. I could easily picture her and her flower stained mouth, and even though I didn't really like what she was doing she was certainly a character that stood out.
Oh one more thing, there is no romance!! How cool is that? It's not often you find a YA book without a romance somewhere in the storyline. I'm glad that it doesn't have one to be honest, sometimes it's down right distracting and if it had been added to this it would have taken away from the already rich story.
Overall I thought this was a great read, and I'm really hoping that there will be more to come. I'm super curious as to what will happen with the Baen and Falpain.”
“Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales
Quick & Dirty: A unique fantasy with a fantastic and believable world that revolves around magic, fascinating creatures, and well rounded characters.
Opening Sentence: Ryder woke to the sound of clattering bones.
Witchlanders by Lena Coakley is a world filled with magic and fantasy. Not only does Witchlanders contain witches, but it also contains a very detailed world and a culture full of religious beliefs.
We begin the story with Ryder, the eldest son of a witchlander, who lives on the hills between the coven and the town. Along with his two sisters, they care for their land and also for their mother. One evening, Ryder finds his mother reading the future through bones thrown in a bowl. Regardless of the promise to never throw those bones again, she seeks for signs of danger in their future. In the midst of an ongoing war between the Witchlanders and the Baen people, Ryder is caught between his mother’s beliefs and his own. But who will he believe? What will he do to save his town from danger?
A decision creates a ripple as fast as fire to dry bush, and Ryder must take a journey and own up to his responsibility and his actions alone. There are questions left unanswered, and some answers too surprising even for Ryder. Ryder grows up a lot on this journey, accepting changes physically and spiritually. Never believing in his mother’s beliefs, he finds that he holds magic, and possibly share the same beliefs after all.
Falpian is the Baen, a young boy who has it all. Spoiled by riches and luxury, the one thing that he covets is his father’s approval. Without it, he feels he amounts to nothing. He mourns the death of his brother, and is somewhat exiled at the edge of the Baen border. Living in solitude, Falpian must find who he is and what his purpose in life is. Falpian meets an unexpected stranger and learns truths that shake the very core of his being. Who will he choose to trust and will he survive the journey to the truth?
Coakley surprised me with the world that she created. I must be honest and say that I was expecting a female protagonist. Only because of the cover art, but that is neither here nor there. Coakley’s world is so imaginative and detailed, that it became real. The hills that belong to Ryder, or the landscape that Falpian saw each morning, I was there alongside them, taking it all in.
The alternating point-of-views were a little confusing. I felt that a majority of the story belonged to Ryder, and that Falpian was an afterthought. I would have liked to understand Falpian more, and delve into his past and what past experiences made him who he is today. Both Ryder and Falpian each have their own struggles, and despite my wants and needs for this story, Coakley did a fantastic job writing their differences and conflicts, yet putting them in this linear timeline. They had symbolic parallels, adding to the engaging experience of the world.
Ryder had a moment to stumble out of the water and prepare himself. Then, like a heavy weight pressing down from above, the cold came. Ryder heard a hissing sound, like an intake of breath, as the water on his clothing froze stiff. He gasped, and Dassen let out a bellow of pain. Cold. Frigid cold.
“Hurry up!” said Dassen. “Keep moving.” His words were clouds in the air now, and his beard was white with ice. Above them the clouds, like purple fingers, seemed to reach out to grip the valley. Winter had arrived.
“The river will be frozen by tomorrow,” said Ryder. “What will we do about the creatures then?”
“We’ll fight. And we’ll pray to the Goddess. What else can we do? We don’t even know what these things are or what magic made them.”
What magic. Out of the blue, Ryder remembered the singing he’d heard in his mind, and he remembered the conversation he’d had with his mother that morning. Something even colder than the chilling snaked its way around his heart and tightened its grip.
“Yes we do know, Dassen,” he said. “My mother told me. She said there was a Baen in the mountains. He must have made these things.”
Dassen’s face hardened. Then he looked at Ryder and smiled grimly. “Well, we Witchlanders know how to kill a Baen, don’t we?”
FTC Advisory: Simon & Schuster provided me with a copy of Witchlanders. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.”