Book Review: Witchshadow by Susan Dennard

Oh man, you guys do not know how HYPED I was when I received my copy of this in the post. Thanks so much to Jamie-Lee Nardone at Black Crow PR for my copy. I feel so lucky. I’ve been reading the Witchlands books for a few years, and I’d been eagerly awaiting this one. The last book – Bloodwitch – was one I actually managed to get an e-arc of on Netgalley. You can actually find a short review of it here. I read that back at the end of 2018, and after that ending, I’ve been desperately awaiting the next instalment. And it’s coming out this month now?!!! You all cannot wait, trust me.

Witchshadow is the fourth, and I believe penultimate, book in the Witchlands series. This is supposed to be Iseult’s book, and as such, it mostly follows her story. After having been reunited with Safi, they quickly have to part as Iseult tries to find a way to save them and learn about her magic. She plans to return, but the journey is hard, and as figures of legend reawaken across the Witchlands… Safi, Iseult and the world may be in more danger than they realised.

Before I dive properly into this review, I’m just going to warn for spoilers. I’ll try not to give any for this book, but if you haven’t read the previous books in this series, including the novella, this may not be the review for you.

I love books where figures supposedly from legend reawaken and start causing havoc. It’s one of the reasons why I love the Caraval books so much. Unsurprisingly, Susan Dennard handles it really well, and I’m eager to see where this is going. We already know about the Cahr Awen. Safi and Iseult are supposed to be these two powerful figures. They’ve already proven they can heal wells, but it wasn’t clear before how far back this went. You got hints in Sightwitch, the novella that’s honestly still my favourite in the series. But, now things are coming to light, entwining more and more with the main story. And I’m so excited. This is going to be a dark and deadly war. There’s going to be a lot of mind games and violence. I’m so here for it!

As usual, this book contained multiple narrators. This time we have Iseult, Adeuan, Vivia, Safi and Stix. So that’s a lot of different characters, and I feel like different people will enjoy different parts best. I liked Vivia’s the most, and this book has confirmed that she’s definitely my favourite character in the series. She’s grown through the books, and she’s a lot of fun. I also really enjoyed getting Stix’s perspective and delving into what she and Ryber were doing. There were links to the legendary stuff there, and I liked that. Safi’s perspective I find it hard to say. There were parts I didn’t like much, but there’s a character who is really going to make the next book interesting. The way he’s been twisting things already, and they don’t know… Ooooh boy. I sadly cared about Iseult and Adeuan’s parts the least. It’s not that they weren’t interesting. There was so much going on. But in places, it felt like too much was going down. And it did slow down my reading a little bit.

If you’re looking for romance in this book, then you won’t get much. The majority of this book is focused on character growth and the upcoming war. There are bits and pieces here and there, and I definitely chose a favourite ship out of the two I was debating in Bloodwitch… But yeah, not as much romance as I was kind of expecting to see. That’s not a bad thing though. This book was so very plot-driven, so the romance would have likely been unnecessary. I just want more Vivia/Vaness moments though…

The writing was good, the worldbuilding was good, and I really did enjoy it. As I said earlier though. I did struggle a little with reading it. This is a thick book, and it took me a little longer than I’d have liked. I think in part though, it’s probably because it’s been a while since I’ve read any of these books. I probably should have done a series re-read beforehand, so that’s on me. But it did take away from my enjoyment a little.

I’m incredibly excited for the next book. There was a single chapter in another character’s perspective, two of those for different characters actually, that has really opened up where the next book could be going. I think the legend stuff is really going to make things so fascinating. I kind of feel like I want to take notes and jot down my theories on what is going to happen next… Should I? Probably not. But that’s how excited and curious I am.

Anyway, this was another excellent book in an excellent series.

4/5 Stars


Title: Witchshadow

Author: Susan Dennard

Genre: Fantasy

Age Range: YA/Adult

Publisher: Tor

Release Date: 24/06/21


Amazon UK | Waterstones | Bookshop Org

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