Review: Windwitch by Susan Dennard

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Genre: Young-Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 384
Series: The Witchlands #2
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Tor Teen

3 Stars

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Windwitch is the sequel to Truthwitch and it, sadly, suffers from Second Book Syndrome. Where I really enjoyed Truthwitch, Windwitch was a struggle to get through.

The main focus was on Merik, the Windwitch, who barely escapes death after an attack on his ship. Safi also barely escapes (along with Vaness, the empress) after an attack on hers. Merik decides to go home to Nubrevna and convict his sister, who he thinks orchestrated the attack on him, while Safi is simply trying to reach safe land. We also have Aeduan and Iseult, who’ve struck a deal of mutual benefit and are working together for the time.

In book 1, my main complaint was that the writing wasn’t good in the first half. But it improved during the book and I was pleased. Here, it’s improved more, but also gone down in a way. We aren’t getting enough concrete details about the world because the author seems to be putting her focus on making the writing more poetic. And while that’s not a bad thing, there needs to be a better balance between plot details and metaphors.

Take the pirates for example. We’re introduced to two… gangs, you could say, of pirates and told of how dangerous they were. The lands are explains in dramatic language and the pirates are said to be ruthless. But what about their working, their leaders, their political position? Those mundane things didn’t get the attention they deserved.

But that wasn’t a huge problem, believe it or not. The main issue was with the multiple perspectives. I’ve observed, over time, that the only way multiple perspectives work is if they’re connected to the same main storyline. Here the stories were all different. They all had connections to the pirates but the pirates had such little character to them that it didn’t work. They were so vague.

The best plot was Merik’s. He’s not only investigating the attack on his ship, he’s also finding things out about his country that he didn’t know before. And there some kind of shadow man floating around trying to destroy the city. But again, details were vague. We got his and his sister, Vivia’s, perspective and learnt more about both of them.

Vivia was the bad guy in the first book. Everyone hated her. Now we see that Merik and Vivia have misconceptions about each other. Maybe Vivia isn’t so bad.

Iseult and Aeduan’s plotline could have been boring. They’re just travelling the whole time and nothing happens. Except that we get to know our Bloodwitch better and he and Iseult develop an understanding. Their relationship was definitely the saving grave or that portion of the novel. It kept the two of them interesting.

Last, Safi’s was bad. It was boring and very difficult to care about. It did get us close to the pirates but it was still pretty pointless. I can’t help but think that it was only there so that we could keep in touch with Safi, who’s an important characters. Because otherwise, we could’ve done without it. Safi didn’t interest me much and Vaness, who could have been interesting, simply wasn’t. They were travelling, captured-and-travelling, free-and-travelling. The whole thing, if it had to be there, could have been covered in half as many pages.

The book was, overall, pertty uneventful. The last few chapters were good though and I have hope that the next book will be better. For now, I’m just glad this one’s over.

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