WINDWITCH (The Witchlands #2)
By: Susan Dennard
One Word Review: EPIC!
Synopsis: 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.
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!
I don’t even know where to begin, so I’ll start with what I did like and then move on to what I didn’t like.
WHAT I LIKED
The character arcs in this book just blew my mind! Especially with Vivia! Half way through the book, I wasn’t sure about her character. It seemed for a second that she was completely different from what she was like in Truthwitch. But, the problem with that was that we only saw a glimpse of Vivia in Truthwitch, and what we did see was her trying to be who she thought she should be, instead of just accepting who she was. I loved that moment when she finds the underground city and lets that mask fall off and reveals her true self to Stix! It was just perfect and made my heart clench with happiness!
Aeduan’s character also really surprised me! We get to see a completely different side of him in this book and I’m honestly shipping him and Iseult so hard now!!! AHHHHH!!! The way his and Iseult’s relationship formed in this book was perfect! The way they slowly start trusting one another and helping/saving one another…The way Aeduan helps Little Owl…so good!
Iseult’s character arc was interesting. Seeing her going from the lack of confidence she has because Safi isn’t with her, to be able to fend for herself, make her own decisions, and trust in her judgement was so so good! She became such a confident young woman and I absolutely loved that! And we see the same thing happening with Safi in her POV.
Iseult finally succumbing to Esme was not my favourite part of the book, but I was expecting it to be honest. Deep inside though, I was hoping it wasn’t going to happen. Aeduan does say in the book:
“She was what she was, and fighting one’s nature only brought pain.”
I guess this goes back to Vivia. She accepted both aspects – her Nihar rage and her mother’s love for their people and their country. I honestly really hate Esme. She creeps me out so much! I just hope Iseult doesn’t turn into her by using this new Weaverwitch power.
I’m not really sure about Merik’s character arc. I felt like out of all of the characters, his POV was the most difficult to understand. I definitely got what Merik was going through. He’s angry and confused and he wants revenge for what happened to him and his ship. And like Cam says:
“Stop seeing what you want to see, Merik Nihar, and start seeing what’s really here!”
But I feel like Merik wasn’t completely in the wrong. Yeah, he thought he could get trade for Nubrevna, but I don’t think he was seeing something that wasn’t there. I think he was blind with hope and yeah things didn’t work out, but it wasn’t wrong for him to hope or try. He says he thought the navy needed him as a leader, when they didn’t and again, I don’t think thats true. I feel sorry for Merik cause he doesn’t feel like he as a role to play in Nubrevna at all. And he thought that by being the Fury, he could take revenge and make things right and actually do some good. And yeah, he was wrong about Safi and Iseult and Cam, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad thing – he just judged them before getting to know them and that happens, but he realized where he had gone wrong. As for wanting the throne for himself, I think that was mostly Vivia’s fault for cutting him off and trying to be someone else. Merik started to see Vivia as the enemy and not as someone who also cares about her people and at the same time is struggling to show she cares in the right way.
I don’t know. Merik is complicated. Definitely a difficult character to understand.
I want to talk about the second half of the book cause literally it went from being pretty good to CRAZY in two seconds! So much happened, there were so many plot twists, and it was AMAZING!
For some reason, I don’t know if I’m blind like Filip (lol), but I didn’t guess that Kullen was the Shadow. I thought the entire time that the Shadow was Ragnor or one of his minions or something. And he was going around cleaving people??? I’m still confused about all of this, which I’ll get to later. So when it was revealed that it was Kullen, I was a) confused about what he is and what he’s actually doing, and b) I felt like slapping myself, cause of course it was Kullen! He’s definitely changed a lot from who he was and I honestly don’t understand all of it. I’m assuming what Esme showed Iseult in her dream about keeping that friendship bond b/w the blacksmith guy and his threadbrother is what happened to Kullen and Merik. And that explained a lot! Especially after Merik realizes that he is dead and the only reason he’s alive is because of Kullen?? Lol I am so confused!!! That’s one big thing I didn’t like about this book that I’ll mention again later.
Onto Safi…I was hoping for a Safi and Iseult reunion, and that kind of happened in the end which I liked, but it was interesting seeing Safi on her own. And like I mentioned above, she really does change a lot. She starts trusting herself and her decisions. AND she starts thinking before acting rashly, which was a fine thing indeed! I didn’t like her rashness in Truthwitch and seeing her acting more calm and watching her surroundings and thinking was a nice change. I definitely wasn’t expecting to see Caden aka Chiseled Cheater again! I really hated him in the beginning, but once more is explained about who the Hell-Bards are (though not enough is explained), I started to really like him and the other Hell-Bards! And Vaness has also become a new favourite. She’s so badass and powerful, yet she cares about her people! I really can’t wait to see more of Marstok in Bloodwitch!
Another thing I want to bring up, is the diversity!!! I loved everything about this book because of how diverse the cast is! It’s so refreshing to see that in fantasy!
THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE
Iseult sums this up so well, I’m just going to quote her:
“More than anything, Iseult wished for answers.”
I feel like Iseult is saying what’s on everyone’s minds: WE NEED MORE ANSWERS. I will admit, the reason I didn’t give this book 5 stars is because I still feel confused. I don’t fully understand what is going on with Merik, Kullen, and the “dead-but-not-so-dead” men, and also the Hell-Bards. Not to mention what Ragnor is planning and what that has to do with Little Owl and HOW DOES ALL THIS MAGIC WORK??! I feel like there are even more unanswered questions now than there were before. I’m still confused about Leopold (and I’m sad he wasn’t even here), the mysterious blood-scent Aeduan keeps smelling…it’s a little frustrating I’ll admit and I hope Bloodwitch actually answers some of these questions because it’s getting confusing staying on top of everything.
One other thing I didn’t like was the multiple POVs. I don’t mind multiple POVs – I actually enjoy them. But in this case it felt kind of all over the place. I wish Susan Dennard had dedicated one chapter to each character, instead of switching (multiple times) within one chapter. A lot of the times, we would get a glimpse of Vivia’s POV for a couple pages and then it would switch to Merik or Safi or Iseult or Aeduan. And it got a bit too jumpy. Considering this book is supposed to be focused on Merik, it didn’t feel like that entirely.
Another thing I didn’t like was Aeduan and Iseult’s last few scenes. The whole fighting against the Red Sails and the Baedyeds was confusing and I really wish we had a map of the Contested Lands. I was so confused about who was going where and where this Amonra River was. That scene where Iseult appears out of nowhere to kill the Firewitch and save Aeduan made no sense. Like if he’s travelling north and he’s using his magic to run really fast and Iseult is heading south towards the river, how does she end up where Aeduan is? And how does this river run exactly? Like does it loop down towards the southern point of the Contested Lands???!!! I don’t know? I’m confused again. And maybe I’m the only one, but I like to be situated where I am in a story. If I don’t know what my surroundings look like, it gets confusing. Same thing goes with Safi and Vaness and the Hell-Bards. The Contested Lands aren’t even labeled on the map. I’m going to stop here, cause I was probably the only one who had this issue.
***These are kind of random guesses and probably all wrong lol, but just what I’m thinking might happen***
– Something romantic is going to happen between Safi and Caden (I can feel it in my bones)
– Merik and Kullen are both going to die (like actually die), or some kind of magic thing will happen and one will sacrifice himself for the other
– Serrit isn’t dead
– Iseult is not going to stay at the Carawen Monastery and instead is going to join Aeduan
– Leopold is going to come back
– AEDUAN AND ISEULT (YES YES YES)
– Merik, Cam, and Ryber are going to bump into Iseult and Aeduan in the Sirmayan Mountains
– Vivia and Stix (hehe)
– Corlant is going to die and Iseult is going to kill him
Okay, so that’s it. I literally can’t wait to get my hands on Bloodwitch! Also, for those of you who’ve read Windwitch, I’ve heard there are things that happen in Truthwitch that make more sense after reading Windwitch. Did you notice anything? Please tell me if you did! I think the only think I noticed was the Hell-Bard necklace thing.