YA Weekend Audio: Windwitch by Susan Dennard

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

windwitchWindwitch by Susan Dennard

Mogsy’s Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Series: Book 2 of The Witchlands

Publisher: Listening Library (January 10, 2017)

Length: 14 hrs and 46 mins

Author Information: Website | Twitter

To be fair, Windwitch wasn’t bad at all, but I was in the minority in that Truthwitch didn’t blow me away and I went into this sequel hoping it would help me decide whether or not to continue the series. There’s a lot of potential here, and wouldn’t it be a shame if I gave up on something great just because I was on the fence about the first book? After all, sometimes a series just needs a little extra time to develop.

I was also left curious about the fates of the characters after the events of the previous novel. “Threadsisters” Safi and Iseult are still separated, each struggling with their own predicament. The windwitch admiral Prince Merik is also dead, or so the world is led to believe after his ship was devoured by a fiery explosion. The truth is much complicated though. Caught between life and death, the prince has returned broken, scarred, and bitter, filled with anger towards his sister whom he believes betrayed him. After making his way to the capital, he begins rallying the tired and starving refugees there under the guise of the Fury, a legendary figure who fights for freedom of the oppressed.

The bloodwitch Aeduan has a greater role now too, realizing the sizeable bounty he would collect if he could find the threadwitch Iseult and bring her to those hunting her. In a twist of fate though, Iseult somehow manages to get Aeduan on her side, convincing him to help her track down her best friend Safi. While the bloodwitch and threadwitch end up forging a precarious alliance, truthwitch Safi finds herself stranded in the pirate-infested wilderness after her shipwreck, with none other than the Empress of Marstok in tow. Alone and with no defenses, if the outlaws or mercenaries don’t get to them first, then the elements will—and that’s only if the two young women don’t succumb to their thirst and hunger.

Like I was saying, I didn’t dislike Windwitch, but it was also far from being the huge improvement over Truthwitch that I’d hoped for. In fact, I might even have liked it a bit less. First off, so much for having a strong female friendship at its core. This aspect, which was supposed to be a major selling point for the first book, ended up being severely lacking. The author continues to tell instead of show Safi and Iseult’s closeness, and maybe it’s time to just accept she’s more interested in developing their respective romances at this point. The title itself is also telling because it points to Merik as the character getting most of the attention, but unfortunately I felt he was one of the blander, more exasperating characters from the first book and this sequel didn’t do much to change that. Iseult remained my favorite, and I wish there had been more focus on her and Aeduan.

In terms of the story though, this book is definitely more complex than its predecessor, and I enjoyed the multiple plot threads. Some might argue that the political, magical, and action elements presented here are just the same tired old narrative tropes, but Dennard deserves credit for knowing what readers want and how to spice things up. My one complaint was how long it took for this book to build. Admittedly the first half was pretty sluggish, though once everything fell into place, things took off from there. There’s a moment where it all comes together and the story kicks into high gear; you can’t miss it.

Still, my future with this series is up in the air right now. Not too long ago, I would have been a lot more open to the idea of continuing with book three, especially since I really liked how this book ended. But given the insane number of series I’m currently following, this year I’m resolving to be pickier when it comes to deciding which ones to keep reading. Windwitch was a decent sequel, but I had pinned my hopes on it being more exceptional. The “click” I’d wished for just didn’t happen, so I’ll probably set The Witchlands aside, at least for now.

Audiobook Comments: I was glad I got to check out Windwitch, if nothing else because I was able to experience the audiobook edition. Cassandra Campbell did an excellent job as narrator, adding her own flair to the characters with interesting accents and inflections. Somehow the world of The Witchlands felt bigger for it. Reading the first book in hardback format, it hadn’t occurred to me what the characters might have sounded like, and pondering their different origins gave context to the vastness and diversity of the setting. Despite my mixed feelings for the story, I have no complaints about Campbell’s wonderful reading.

3stars

Mogsy 2

More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of Truthwitch (Book 1)

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36 Comments on “YA Weekend Audio: Windwitch by Susan Dennard

  1. I’m sorry you didn’t like this one as much as you’d hoped. It’s the thing with the hyped-up books – sometimes the advertising is just too ambitious. I still haven’t picked up the first one, despite the good reviews, and I’m more and more sure I’ll be giving this series a pass. I hope your next read is better!

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    • I actually enjoyed the first one, even if it didn’t sweep me off my feet. Which was why I’d hoped this one will knock it out of the park but unfortunately it didn’t. I wish I could continue, but I’m just following way too many YA series these days 🙂

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  2. I wasn’t a huge fan of Truthwitch either. Really didn’t have a desire to read this one; though audio would be the way to do so. I typically stick with a book I’m iffy on a bit longer in audio form.

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    • Our feelings about Truthwitch were pretty similar, iirc. I wanted to give Windwitch a chance before I decided to continue or ditch. And audio was my plan all along too, since YA usually works better for me in that format and I wanted to give the book every advantage.

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  3. I feel the exact same way about Truthwitch and feeling the need to give the series more time. I was hoping the strong female friendship would be even better in this one. I expected more out of Truthwitch than I got so I’m bummed to hear that friendship was lacking.

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  4. I was destined to never read Truthwitch after I got in line too late at the Truthwitch signing at Comic Con two years ago and didn’t get a copy. So I’m letting it go, especially since you didn’t love either book, and our tastes often line up pretty well.

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  5. I’ve got mixed feelings about starting this series. At first I was like yeah gotta have but then I saw mixed reviews for the first one,and I’m seeing mixed reviews for this one so far… I don’t know. Maybe if I can get em at the library at some point… I’m sure it’s a fine read but I suspect I would feel much the same way. Thanks for sharing your thoguhts!

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    • It might also be good idea to wait until the series is finished to try – I think if I’m going to continue, that’s the route I will take. I’m not going to close any doors, but I will want to wait and see 🙂

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  6. Sad! I was curious about this series, but after reading your reviews for both books, I think I’ll pass. Thanks for the helpful reviews! 🙂

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  7. I’ve seen mixed reviews of the first book, so to learn that the second isn’t quite amazing either will probably keep me away from this series.

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  8. I was one of those who really enjoyed the first book, but I’ll be interested to see how the second one measures up. Sorry it didn’t work for you! It’s always frustrating to put in effort only to be dissatisfied. Agree with your point on Merik – he is definitely the blandest of the lot. And it is a pity that she does more telling than showing re: their friendship, when it’s been a selling point of the series.

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    • I’d be curious for your take on this one! Like I said, I think I’m in the minority in not loving the first one, so that may have affected my experience with the sequel. I’d love to hear the thoughts of someone who really enjoyed the first book.

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  9. Ha yeah I also don’t like how it’s mostly sold on account of the friendship (I love this aspect) but the girls don’t actually spent that much time together and everything was mostly focusing on the romance. I’m talking about book1, haven’t read book2 and don’t think I will 😦 I got an extract on netgalley and was kinda angry/bored that it started by being on the POV of Merik!

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    • Yeah, when I read book one, I was like, what gives? I thought this was supposed to be about female friendship? It was all the hype could talk about. The reality was pretty underwhelming. And yeah Merik was not my favorite from Truthwitch, and this book was mostly about him so that was another minus 🙂

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      • Exactly! And the worst is that at first I was happy with a story revolving around two girl friends so I rated quite good. I should go lower this rating on GR..
        Haha that’s one less book to read for me at least x’)

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  10. From what I’ve seen around, most people were disappointed with Windwitch, even those who absolutely loved Truthwitch. I read Truthwitch last year and thought it was alright, but I didn’t care for Safi OR Merik. I wanted more Iseult, and Aeduan too…so I’ll probably skip this one. Thanks for the heads up on Cassandra Campbell though!

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    • Glad I’m not alone then, I did thing Windwitch was weaker than Truthwitch both in story and structure. Merik was not a very popular character from the first book either, so to have the sequel focus so strongly on him probably didn’t help.

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  11. This is one of those series that I just decided to pass on simply because I had too many review books and was feeling overwhelmed. It’s a shame it didn’t work out for you though – it could have been one of those books that you raved about and then I get to add it at the end of the series – with no wait between books. Alas, twas not to be so.
    Lynn 😀

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  12. I was one of the odd ones that didn’t fall for Truthwitch nearly as much as everyone else seemed to. I had issues with the world-building/history and the magical abilities not being explained or given enough background for my liking. Since we seem to have shared some similar issues, I’m going to call it: I won’t be reading Windwitch. From what you described here, the main selling feature for me is lacking: the female friendship. And I much prefered Iseult and Aeduan too so with their presence lacking in favor of Merik? Well: meh. I very nearly disliked the first book and this just doesn’t seem like a series worth continuing to me. Thanks for the thoughtful review though^^ ♥

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  13. Pingback: Mogsy’s Bookshelf Roundup: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads | The BiblioSanctum

  14. Pingback: YA Weekend Audio: Sightwitch by Susan Dennard | The BiblioSanctum

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