Witchshadow – Susan Dennard

I’ve been a Susan Dennard fan ever since her debut, Something Strange and Deadly was published many many years ago – I’m very proud to say I’ve read everything she’s published! I also blame her for my Twitter addiction, her The Luminaries choose-your-own-adventure megathread back in 2019 got me hooked and now I can’t wait for the book version to come out at some point. Sooz also has a website and a newsletter full of amazing writing resources, so if you’re a budding writer yourself, check that out!

Massive thanks to Black Crow PR and UK Tor for sending me a review copy of Witchshadow. All opinions are my own.

RELEASE DATE: 24/06/2021

STAR RATING: 4.5/5 ✶

SUMMARY: Iseult has found her heartsister Safi at last, but their reunion is brief. For Iseult to stay alive, she must flee Cartorra while Safi remains. And though Iseult has plans to save her friend, they will require her to summon magic more dangerous than anything she has ever faced before.

Meanwhile, the Bloodwitch Aeduan is beset by forces he cannot understand. And Vivia – rightful queen of Nubrevna – finds herself without a crown or home.

As villains from legend reawaken across the Witchlands, only the mythical Cahr Awen can stop the gathering war. Iseult could embrace this power and heal the land, but first she must choose on which side of the shadows her destiny will lie. (from UK Tor)

OPINIONS: So this is book four in a series. Which is probably information that you need to know beforehand. It might even be considered book five, though that’s debateable as the UK missed out on the novella in between books two and three. And the Witchlands series is one of my favourite series out there. It is complex and nuanced and full of amazing characters and a detailed magic system. Safi and Iseult are the two heroines of the series, though by now there are many more characters that have become central to the story (#baeduan! Vivia! Owl! and so many more). Safi is a Truthwitch and Iseult is a Threadwitch. Each book centres on one of the characters, and Witchshadow is Iseult’s book.

Which is a good thing. Because Iseult is my fave. She and Owl, the feisty little girl that accompanies here are the best. And I love that Sooz found a way to keep her and Aeduan apart after bringing them together at the end of the last book, Bloodwitch, rather than reducing tensions and having them be all happy together. Mistress of character tension, Sooz is. But this book being focussed on Iseult and her history, family and developing her magic doesn’t mean that the others don’t get their time in the spotlight.

Safi deals with marriage, rebellion and the like. Ryber and Vivia explore the past and secrets. The worldbuilding in this series is just top notch, and I once again fell so hard for it. I couldn’t stop myself from reading and getting immersed in the world and I already want more. There was quite a bit of a wait between Bloodwitch and Witchshadow, but damn, this was so worth it. Please please go and give this series a shot.

If you think you might love the Witchlands as much as I do, you can add Witchshadow to your Goodreads here, and order a copy from Bookshop here (affiliate link).

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