My rating: 5 of 5 stars
WOW! I loved this entire book from start to finish. What a fabulous story! The cover blurb isn’t that amazing: Ryder doesn’t believe that the prophecies the coven of witches in the Witchlands are true… until he discovers they’re actually about him. Sounds pretty generic, no? But in fact, this book is really unique!
To start, there’s no awkward romance thrown into the story to appease readers. Seriously – not all YA books need a love triangle, and thankfully Lena Coakley realized that. Then, there’s actually two main characters: Ryder, a Witchlander who’s dealing with an addict mother and prophecies about an assassin that he doesn’t want to believe, living in a world where everyone fears the witches in the coven- so much so that they tithe their hard-won crops to them. And Falpian, a Baen: someone who lives across the border in the Bitterlands, banished there generations ago during the war with the Witchlanders. The Baen have magic too: singing. Their singing spells can stop objects in flight… or stop a beating heart.
The way the story unfolds, from each boy’s perspective, is exciting and mysterious. We keep getting hints that these two characters are connected in a stronger way than they at first realize. And when we find out just how strong their bond is, it makes things even more interesting.
The history of the Witchlanders and Baen, and the different types of magic they use, was really neat to read about. Witches read prophecies by casting bones, and Baen have the singing magic. Ryder may have one (or both) talent, and Falpian thinks he is completely without magic, but soon discovers he’s wrong.
I found the greatest strength of the book to be the lovely writing. Everything was described so well that it was easy to become completely immersed in its world. I’m not one for overly detailed descriptions, and this book got it just right for my taste.
The end of the book was great, but I’m left wanting more. Will there be a sequel? Will we find out what happens across the border? I hope so!!