Sunday, August 28, 2011
Witchlanders by Lena Coakley
Based on the cover, Witchlanders doesn't look much different than most books in the Young Adult section these days. I expected some girl main character, a half-baked Twilight thing. I admit, I almost passed up on reading it until I read the actual description. Fake witches, mysterious prophecies, and a male protagonist all sounded awesome. Truth be told, Witchlanders ended up being a great book.
Ryder doesn't believe in the power of the witches or their prophecies. His mother always told him that it was all made up, every time she threw the bones for her customers. Lately, though, she has been acting crazy. Mabis has been taking maiden's woe, a flower that is highly addictive and poisonous, but helps with prophecy. Ryder is concerned with harvesting enough food for the chilling and taking care of his sisters. Then his mother's prophecies get more vivid, and they are definitely about him. The witches dismiss her concerns, but then what she sees comes to pass.
Our other protagonist is Falpian. He was sent away from home to mourn his twin brother, and to perform a secret mission for his father. Falpian is a Baen, the enemies of the Witchlanders. Long ago, there was a war and the Witchlanders drove the Baen out to the Bitterlands. Falpian knows that his father wants to stage an attack and reclaim the land for the Baen.
The interesting part is when Ryder and Falpian meet. They had actually been inside each other's heads, sharing their dreams. Falpian thought he was a disappointment to his father because he couldn't perform magic, he couldn't sing with his brother. He finds that he shares his magical abilities with Ryder, his true "twin." They forge a bond that surpasses Witchlander and Baen, and they find out new information about both of their respective people.
In the end, the description that made me want to read the book wasn't actually true. Ryder and Falpian share protagonist duties. There's no big Ryder-witch romance. Fortunately, the book we do get is great on its own. There was a lot that made me cry (Especially Falpian's father issues), and plenty to make me laugh (Bo the dreadhound). Bonus points go to the more than respectable amounts of action, suspense, and killing. I definitely hope there's a sequel so I can know what happens to Ryder and Falpian in the future.
I got a copy of Witchlanders from the Simon & Schuster Galley Grab. It will be published August 30th.