Review: Windwitch by Susan Dennard

Windwitch Susan Dennard
Windwitch Susan Dennard cover

Title: Windwitch 
Author: Susan Dennard 
Series: The Witchlands #2 
Genre: Fantasy, YA 
Publication date: January 10, 2017 
Rating: ★★★★½ 

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.


Mhe varujta.
Trust me as if my soul were yours.

I think I can put this pretty straightforward. If you did not like the first book, then you probably won’t like Windwitch either. But if, like me, you loved Truthwitch - then it is very easy to let yourself fall in love all over again. With the characters, the world and the magic alike. I am far from disappointed in this sequel. It was exactly what I needed it to be and I cannot wait to get my hands on Bloodwitch already.

Diving into Windwitch was a lot easier than starting Truthwitch, because the world building feels familiar this time around. Making sense of the complexity was not an easy endeavour then, but now it immediately pulls you in. I should probably mention that I did a reread of the first book, so that might also be the reason I immediately felt at home. Either way, the world remains as intriguing and compelling as I remembered it.

The writing is superb. The pacing is delightfully slow. I did not know just how much I needed this until I picked this series back up. I love young adult and I like fast pacing, but sometimes it’s just so refreshing to let yourself sink into a story that pays so much attention to detail, subtle interactions and slowness. Not every scene had to be ‘big’ in some way. Sometimes it was just characters getting to know each other better in a seemingly unremarkable way. Relationships evolve slowly. I’ve really come to miss this kind of book. I am a huge supporter of her writing.

Everyone lies. It's in the way we banter with our friends. It's in the mundane greetings we give passersby. It's in the most meaningless things we do every single moment of every single day. Hundreds upon thousands of tiny, inconsequential lies.

The story starts almost exactly where the previous book left off. We follow Merik Nihar, Aeduan, Safiya Fon Hasstrel and Iseult Det Midenzi as they go their seperate ways in the same POV’s I’ve grown to admire. We even got an extra pair of eyes to see through. Vivia, Merik’s ‘loving’ sister, gets an additional POV and I did not think I would like her chapters as much as I did. She was interesting if not always likable. I’ve come to really care about all of the characters and with both Safi and Merik assumed dead at the beginning, we were instantaneously in for some pretty intense stuff.

One of the reasons people might still end up disliking this book is that Safi and Merik are separated for the entire duration of the book. So if you were only here for the ship that sailed in Truthwitch, I can understand why you would end up being disappointed. But I wasn’t as involved in the two of them together. I thought they made a cute couple at the time, but that was about as deep as it went for me. So I didn’t care too much that they each went their own way. If anything, it made me like Merik more. His storyline changes the most as he becomes a sort of vigilante in his own homeland. He had to really step up his game and him being an outcast made me relate to him better and made him feel more genuine, if not kinder.

Iseult and Aeduan remain the best part of this series. I’m so in love with both of them. Separately, but even more together. Even in Truthwitch I was a hardcore shipper. I like their characters best. Their thoughtfulness, their struggle to voice feelings, their undying strength.. and of course their affinity to the void. What can I say? A little darkness makes every character more interesting to me. But they are just so good together. You have no idea how happy it made me that their paths finally collided. They’re still not as close as I would like them to be, but this is probably the best part. They get to know each other slowly and that makes everything about their relationship realistic. We should not forget that their is a lot of distrust between them and that they have never exactly been friends. Things like that don’t change overnight (or at least shouldn’t). But they’ve grown fonder of each other than either one would admit and all I could do was watch and swoon and hope… *fingers crossed*
Forever after today, she would flex and furl her fingers, precisely as she did right now. She would roll her wrists and crack her neck. She would stretch her jaw and wonder who might next die at her hands. Who might not get away. And forever after tonight, she would be hungry to outrun the nightmares. She would race and she would fight and she would kill again, just to make sure the ghosts were real. They were.
Safi on the other had the least interesting plotline. I would even go as far as saying that her chapters sometimes dragged. I’ve never liked Safi as much as Iseult, so that could be a major reason. Her impulsiveness and need to always be the center of attention have always made me less fond of her. Not because she wasn’t a good character, but because I dislike people like that in general.

If anything, I wish there was more. Because this is such a slow book and because we get a whole lot of separate storylines, not a lot of time is covered. So while a lot happens, it also wasn’t nearly enough in the bigger scheme of things. I need more, so much more. Patience most of all, it seems. When I read the last page, I wasn’t nearly ready to say goodbye. One more year before the release of Bloodwitch. Sigh. It’s waaaaay too long.



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